Nick Hartle Joins the Elites
When Nick Hartle crossed the finish line first last Saturday at San Rafael Park in Reno, he joined a small company of boys who have twice won the Nevada state cross country championships running for a top-class school—designated 3A until 1996 and 4A thereafter.
Nick becomes the sixth runner from southern Nevada to have accomplished the feat and the eighth overall. Here is the list:
Terry Ybarra (Valley) 1972 & 1973
James Eubanks (Clark) 1975 & 1976
Andre Woods (Eldorado) 1979 & 1981
Pat Hubbard (Basic) 1987 & 1988
Cory Jeffers (Bonanza) 1998 & 1999
Joe Parker (Reno) 2004 & 2005
Brian Tibaduiza (Galena) 2007 & 2008
Nick Hartle (Centennial) 2010 & 2011
An interesting tidbit about the runners on the list above is that only one of them, Andre Woods, did it in non-consecutive years. Andre won his two state titles on odd years, both times when the race was held in Reno, which is ironic since runners from southern Nevada usually do better when the race is held in the South rather than the rarified air of northern Nevada. It also means Andre was the only one of the eight to win state as a sophomore.
Other boys running in small-school races (2A/3A) have been equally successful, winning state twice, most recently, Josh Thompson from Moapa Valley. Josh won the 3A race in 2009 and 2010. Three boys running for 2A/3A schools won more than twice:
Brad Meyer (Bishop Manogue) 3A 1988-1990 (3 Time Champion)
Andy Bradley (Incline) 2A 1992-1995 (4 Time Champion)
Caleb Johnson (Wells) 2A 1996-1998 (3 Time Champion)
As for girls, the list of runners who have won state more than once is much longer, even though the girls have been competing at state only since 1978. No less than 20 girls have won state at least twice, most recently Becky Grabow of Sierra Lutheran who won the 2A Championship this year and in 2010.
Here is an eye opener. Of the 20 girls who are multiple winners at state, only four are from the South—Abby Miller (Green Valley), Nikki Peterson (Faith Lutheran), Wendy Harris (Lund), and McKenzie Dean (Pahrump Valley). And it’s really only three. Lund may is considered South for NIAA purposes, but its location—near Ely—negates is as a southern Nevada school. And taking this line of thinking a step further, of these four girls only Abby Miller ran for a 4A school.
Now you can see why Abby Miller is singled out as a very special athlete when discussing high school cross country in southern Nevada. She was also the national winner of the Wendy’s High School Heisman in 1999.
Here is the list of girls who have won state more than twice:
Inga Thompson (Reno) 1987-1981 (3 Time Champion)
Abby Miller (Green Valley) 1996-1999 (4 Time Champion)
Kelsey Engstrom (Lowry) 3A 2000-2001 & 2003 (3 Time Champion)
Addie Devine (Incline) 2A 2002-2004 (3 Time Champion)
Mel Lawrence (Reno) 2004-2006 (3 Time Champion)
Kelsey Smith (South Tahoe) 2007-2009 (3 Time Champion)
Now, to note an even more elite distinction, here are the Nevada athletes who qualified as Footlocker finalists—it was called Kinney until 1993— and how they did. This is the one race each year that is the true, albeit unofficial, national championship (5K) for high school cross country runners.
Bryan Carrol (Douglas) 1981 6th (15:04)
Inga Thompson (Reno) 1981 9th (17:24)
Pat Hubbard (Basic) 1988 21st (15:39)
Abby Miller (Green Valley 1996 3rd (17:39)
1998 10th (18:23)
1999 14th (17:43)
Collier Lawrence (Reno) 2003 19th (18:18)
Mel Lawrence (Reno 2003 2nd (17:25)
2004 2nd (17:39)
2005 2nd (17:19)
2006 5th (18:02)
Wade Meddles 2009 3rd (15:24)
Comments about the lists:
First, how good was Andre Woods? He won state XC twice but never ran at Kinney/Footlocker. He beat Bryan Carrol at state in 1981 before Carrol went on to finish 6th in the Kinney finals. Andre still holds the state record for the 3200 in track and held the record for the 1600 for over 20 years, until Nick Hartle broke it this year.
Second, pity the poor 4A girls competing during the Miller-Lawrence-Smith years. It was an era dominated by Abby Miller, the Lawrence sisters, and Kelsey Smith. Those four won 12 of 14 state meets from 1996 to 2009 (Collier won state in 2002). Kudos to Shanna Sparks, who won in 2000, and Crista Avena, the 2001 winner.
Three, and to end where I started, note that Nick Hartle has a chance to add his name to that last list if he runs at the Footlocker West Regional on December 3, 2011, at Mt SAC.