Nevada Union Invitational: 50 years and running  |

Nevada Union Invitational: 50 years and running 

Photo for The Union by Jeff Miller

Three meets into her high-school career, Nora Pizzella has established herself as a force in the Sac-Joaquin Section.

Pizzella, a freshman at Nevada Union, finished second in the large-school varsity girls race Saturday at the Nevada Union Invitational. The finish was the best of her young career.

“I’m excited,” Pizzella said after the race. “It took lots of training.”

In addition to regular practices at the high school, Pizzella and the rest of the Miners cross country team took to the hills at Mammoth Mountain in early August for high-elevation training.

“It helped a ton,” Pizzella said of the offseason workouts at Mammoth, where she ran at elevations as high as 11,500 feet.

Pizzella finished the 3.1-mile course in 20 minutes, eight seconds — four seconds behind Carson’s Alex Drozdoff. The course began on the softball field, then weaved through the woods between Sierra College Drive, Sierra College and the Nevada Union campus and ended on the track.

Chloe Reindl was the second-best runner for the Lady Miners, finishing third out of nine teams. Madero High won the large-school varsity race.

Other NU runners were Joy Castro-Wehr (13th place, 21:59), Holly Harrison (16th, 22:17) and Hannah Blair (43rd, 24:30).

Garrett Migliozzi was NU’s best runner in the boys race, finishing seventh (16:53), as the Miners took sixth place out of 11 schools. Roseville won.

Nevada Union’s David French placed 10th (17:12), followed by Kael Newton (31st, 18:20), Robert Sekerek (55th, 19:19) and Nathan Aragon (74th, 21:19).

In the eight-team varsity girls small-school race, Bear River finished seventh, led by Mary Natrass (14th, 21:38). Sierra Mitchell took 29th (24:16), followed by Jayne Livingston (44th, 25:16), Rachel Olsen (45th, 25:24) and Lauren Beavers (53rd, 28:04). Del Oro won the race.

Forest Lake Christian’s Hannah Allington took 57th (32:48), and teammate Sara Andrews was 59th (38:52).

Jamie Parrott was Forest Lake Christian’s best runner in the varsity boys small-school race, finishing 41st in 20:22. Fellow Falcon Travis Clough took 61st (24:22), followed by Luke Reed (65th, 25:28).

The awards ceremony was highlighted by the presence of Tim Kays, who gave out the first Kays Spirit Award to Foothill High School for displaying the most team spirit throughout the day.

Kays was a physical education teacher at Nevada Union from 1957 until 1995, and he coordinated the first NU Invitational at the Nevada County Fairgrounds 50 years ago. He said the course has changed about five times since the event’s inception. On Saturday, he wore a gray long-sleeved shirt from one of the first meets.

Kays spent the day hanging around the finish line, grinning and chatting with family and old friends.

To contact The Union Sports department, email or call (530) 477-4232

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