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Cross-country running strong against bigger opponents

It came down to the last few seconds of the Labor Day Classic cross-country meet with Pahrump Valley senior runner Bryce Odegard and Milton Amezcua of Green Valley leading the 148 runners down the stretch. Amezcua pushed forward in the last seconds to beat Odegard for the win (16 minutes, 40 seconds).

Odegard was disappointed with his performance. He finished second (16:56) in the 5,000-meter race for 11th-12th grade boys.

“I shouldn’t have lost the race,” Odegard said. “I did a poor job preparing for it and he shouldn’t have been able to cruise to the finish like he did. But we went out a little too hard, and he knew it too. When we hit the mile mark, coach Erik Odegard told us 4:55 and Amezcua turned to me and asked if that was the mile and I said yes and he said, ‘Oh shoot.’ So we went out too hard and I was not prepared well enough. We should not expect many more races like this one.”

Odegard is the best

Regardless of Odegard’s performance at the Labor Day Classic, the runner is finally being noticed by Las Vegas schools as a runner to be respected. A Thursday Review-Journal story called him one of the best runners in the region, saying, “Southern Nevada’s best runner might not be where you expect.” This recognition comes after Odegard beat some of the best cross-country schools in the region in the first big invitational of the year, the Red Rock Invitational on Aug. 26 and then again at the Labor Day Classic.

Trojans cross-country coach Matt Kolodzieczyk couldn’t be more pleased with his runner.

“I am still pleased with the performance overall of all the boys,” the coach said. “I am happy with their performance, but we just have to improve our finishes and not let guys pass us at the finish. Also I would like to close that gap between Bryce Odegard and our next best runners, the Sonerholm brothers. The gap is too big.”

During this particular race the gap he referred to was a minute and 41 seconds before the next Pahrump runner, senior Layron Sonerholm (18:37), crossed the finish line. Sonerholm was 34th.

Junior Jacob Cipollini was 41st (18:52) and senior Cole Goodman was 54th (19:31).

For the boys racing in the 5,000 meters, 9th-10th grade boys, sophomore Michael Sonerholm finished 17th (18:50) out of 155 runners, sophomore Grant Odegard finished 23rd (19:00) and sophomore Brandon Ruud finished 50th (20:38).

Palo Verde took the team competition with 93 points, Green Valley was second with 104 points, and Desert Oasis was third (138).

Pahrump finished ninth (208) among the mainly Class 4A schools participating and was first of all the 3A schools.

The girls cross-country team at the Labor Day Classic

The girls did well and had three runners running the 5,000-meter course from 9th-10th grade girls. Sophomore Terrena Martin took 32nd (25:06) out of 105 runners, sophomore Nsringa Breathwaite took 61st (27:18) and freshman Shailynn Winter took 79th (29:10).

Senior Grace Plumb was the first to cross for Pahrump Valley in the 11th-12th grade girls, finishing 30th out of 108 runners (24:08) and senior Cynthia Martin finished 46th (24:47).

“The girls are doing well,” Kolodzieczyk said. “I like how they are all running. Katherine Goodman has made some great improvements and we have Diamond Sonerholm, who will join us when she has 10 practices in.”

Trojans at Desert Oasis

The cross-country boys team defeated three other teams, all Class 4A. Senior Bryce Odegard helped his team to the win by finishing first on the 2.5-mile course out of 73 runners (13 minutes, 19 seconds).

The Trojans were the only 3A team in the mix.

Pahrump Valley had 30 points, Clark finished second (39), Spring Valley third (62) and Desert Oasis fourth (120).

Jacob Cipollini finished fifth for the Trojans (14:07), sophomore Grant Odegard was seventh (14:16), senior Cole Goodman eighth (14:23), Layron Sonerholm was ninth place (14:28), sophomore Michael Sonerholm finished in 12th place (14:57), senior Craig Moore finished in 21st place (16:57).

The girls finished third with 53 points

Clark was first (27), Spring Valley second (49) and Desert Oasis fourth (110).

Senior Grace Plumb finished in third place out of 47 runners (18:05) for the 2.5-mile course. Senior Cynthia Martin was fourth (18:15), sophomore Terrena Martin 12th place (19:49), Breathwaite 15th (20:57), Winter 22nd (23:40), Mindy Broderick 43rd (32:20) and Carmen Changano 44th (34:21).

The Trojans next meet will be at the Larry Burgess Las Vegas Invitational on Sept. 9 at 8 a.m.

Contact sports editor Vern Hee at vhee@pvtimes.com

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