Sydney Badger, Colin Smith, Andrea Gonzalez Newest Legends
I am please to announce that the three individuals named above comprise the Southern Nevada Legends of Cross Country, Class of 2011. None of the other candidates—Nick Priego (Del Sol), Christian Fortner (Green Valley), Alyssa Rapovy (Green Valley), Savanah Anas (Centennial), or Danica Puente (Spring Valley)—received enough votes to be elected or stay on the ballot for 2012.
Sydney Badger, currently a sophomore at Centennial H.S., earned her place as a Legend by her performance at the 2011 Footlocker West Regional. Sydney made the All-West team, placing 24th in the seeded race. Sydney had a terrific 2011 cross country season, except for one “bump in the road”—the state meet, where she placed “only” 11th overall, after leading for much of the race. Sydney—who went into the race as a co-favorite with the northern Nevada champion (Lindsey Adams of Douglas, the eventual winner) after winning the Sunset Regional—made no excuses after race. Sydney just seemed to run out of gas (oxygen) at the end of the race and was caught by the pack. Running at altitude—the meet was in Reno—has always been challenging for southern Nevada runners, and the Centennial sophomore suffered the fate of many Southern Region Champions before her.
But Sydney put that defeat—her first of the season—behind her and recovered with aplomb. At the Nike Southwest Regional she finished 19th overall—first Nevada finisher— and used that has her steppingstone to Footlocker, where she again was the first Nevada finisher, beating Lindsey Adams among others.
Sydney is a worthy Legend, one of four—including Andrea Gonzalez—who are still undergraduates. The other two are Katie Gorczyca, the 2010 state 4A champion, and her fellow Centennial runner Nick Hartle, who won state in both 2010 and 2011.
The other two inductees were voted in by the 2011 Legends Selection Committee, receiving at least 75% of the votes of the Committee (78% in each case).
Colin Smith, a 2010 graduate of Del Sol H.S. and currently a freshman at Occidental College (where he recently placed 132nd—98th for scoring, and third on his team—at the NCAA Division III Championships), just missed being voted in last year (65%), but because he received over 50% of the votes, he stayed on the ballot for 2011. He made it on his second try. Here is a brief summary of Colin’s high school cross country running career as presented to the Selection Committee.
“Colin Smith was poised for a strong senior year after finishing 22nd at state as a junior and coming off a terrific track season. But after a great early-season race at Stanford, injuries killed his chances of being up there with Hartle and Brian Jordan (Galana) at state. Colin finished 2nd at the Sunrise Regional and 10th at state.”
Expanding on that, it should be noted that Colin’s brother Galen ran for Chaparral H.S. and preceded Colin at Occidental, where Galen ran cross country and track. Colin ran four years of cross country at Del Sol. His freshman year he was runner-up at the Frosh-Soph Championships and 13th at the Sunrise Regional, where he just missed qualifying for state. As a sophomore he finished 12th at the regional, this time making it to state and placing 46th. As a junior Colin was 3rd at the Sunrise Regional and made his second trip to state, as cited above. It should also be noted that Colin placed 4th overall—first high school finisher—at the 2010 Legends Run.
The third incoming Legend is Arbor View senior Andrea Gonzalez, who like Colin Smith, was voted in by this year’s committee of coaches and Legends. Here is what the Committee saw in a summary of Andrea’s accomplishments.
“Arbor View’s Andrea Gonzalez had a solid four-year career. At Frosh-Soph Andrea was 5th as a 9th grader and runner-up as a 10th grader. Her best Regional finish was runner-up her junior year. She was a four-time state team qualifier and twice All State (top 15). She was on the Arbor View team that was runner-up at State in 2009.”
Adding to that, Andrea’s leadership as team captain her senior year, as well as her individual success in placing 3rd at the Sunset Regional in 2011 and 9th at state—second southern Nevada finisher (behind sophomore Melissa Suan of Palo Verde)—no doubt influenced the Committee. Andrea will be officially inducted into the Legends Hall of Fame—along with Sydney and Colin—at the Las Vegas Track Club’s Annual Banquet in June.
With that, I wish continue success for all three of these outstanding athletes. Sydney and Andrea will continue their running this spring with the upcoming track high school season, while Colin will likely be running for Occidental College this winter during the indoor track season. Hopefully, we will see all three of them in August at the 16th Annual Legends Run.
Happy New Year, everyone!