NU runners to face the best in state
The Nevada Union boys cross country team will compete against the best high school runners in California at the CIF State Meet at Hayward Park in Fresno at 9 a.m. Saturday.
The Sac-Joaquin Section runner-up Miners have been preparing for the race all season.
“Me and the boys sat down at the beginning of the year and talked about the races we thought were most important and we came up with the Stanford and Clovis invitationals, the league and section championships and of course, this one,” NU head coach Dan King said.
“We have an advantage in that our section finals were two weeks before the state meet whereas a lot of the other section finals were last weekend. So we’ve been able to get a lot of race-type simulations in,” he added.”We knew we were not gong to be able to get these kids any more fit, so we’ve concentrated on sharpening their running skills, leg turnover and allowed them to rest.”
NU junior Matt Freitas, who took 10th at the section final with a time of 16 minutes, 46 seconds, likes his team’s chances to break the top 10.
“I think we’re looking pretty strong. We’ve been doing the work all season and we’re functioning very well as a team right now,” he said.
Along with Freitas, King looks to Luke Ridens, who finished 11th in the section meet, as well as Trevor Robertson (13th), Mike McClure (17th), Brian Dell (23rd), Troy Putman (24th) and Patrick Lane (25th) to run the race of their careers.
“Matt has been very consistent for us all year. He’s finished first for us all season and he’s the league champion,” King said.
“Luke finished right behind him and I expect both of them to run 16:30s. But if we’re going to have any hope of breaking into the top 10, we’re going to have to have a great race from all seven guys.”
Freitas said while the 3.1 mile course isn’t the toughest around, it will be a challenge.
“It’s a really, really fast course. It starts of with some grass and some sand ups and downs. I tripped on it the last time I ran it, I ate it really bad, but it’s so fast that if your fall, you still have time to make it up,” he said.
This race will mean more for the Miners – who took third in the state meet in both 1995 and 1996, then second in 1997 – than a shot at a state title.
“Our goal is not only to (do well) in the state meet this year, but to make a statement. With all of the guys returning next year, we want people to know we’re not only going to be one of the top teams in the section, but in the state next year,” King said.
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With a balanced offensive attack and a strong defensive effort, the Nevada Union football team went on the road Friday night and knocked off Napa, 33-14.