Hoping to gain an edge against West Wendover, the Lincoln County cross country team headed to Elko last Thursday.

West Wendover’s boys cross country team has been the reigning southern region champions since Lacey Pearson started coaching Lincoln in 2012. West Wendover will be attending this year’s southern regional meet once again to defend their title.

“Since they are a northern team, the Elko meet was the only chance we had to compete against them before regionals,” Pearson said. “And in that race, our students proved that West Wendover can be beat.”

This meet gave her runners a confidence boost, but Pearson said they still have their work cut out for them at regionals, which will be on October 30. Only two teams qualify for state and The Meadows as well as Adelson are also in the hunt. Three other individuals who are not on those two qualifying teams can also qualify. “Last year, we missed qualifying by two points, which has made our boys hungry this year,” Pearson said. “We were ready last year, we just had some recurring stomach issues with two of our runners. And those issues surfaced during the qualifying race.”

They are more ready this year as those problems seem to be more under control.

In the Elko meet, four runners improved their times in the 5K distance. Carlin Christensen bettered his time by 4 seconds with a 20:36. Cody Dirks by 23 seconds with a 19:33. Jesse Mathews by 27 seconds with his time of 18:07. And Tyler Frehner earned “The Red Jersey”- a reward for the most time improved, whoever earns it keeps it for a week – with a 45-second PR time of 20:11. Jesse Mathews’ official time of 18:07.0 exactly ties with Tyler Frehner’s older brother Cameron’s time, and Cameron was fast enough to be a two-peat regional champion. Mathews is a senior this year and has done extremely well for his first year running cross country, according to Pearson. “I am proud of his accomplishments, and very happy he decided to come run with us,” she added.

Other members of the team ran impressive times as well. Ben Culverwell ran a 19:41. Michael Winters ran a time of 20:36. Lincoln Frehner ran a time of 21:42. Wesley LeBaron’s time was 23:57.

On the girls side, Shayla Mathews ran a 25:17. Mayah Hafen ran a 31:00 and Ally Wadsworth ran a 31:18. The team doesn’t have a race this weekend, because there wasn’t one available. “That’s okay,” Pearson said. “It gives us a two-week time period in which to become stronger going into our target meet.”

The coach feels the team as done the work required to do well at regionals. “I am confident they have what it takes to qualify for state. They will have to leave everything on the course though.” Pearson added, “And as the saying goes, they have to run with their hearts when there is nothing left in their legs. But our team has a lot of heart, and as much as I want it for them, they want it more. And that’s what counts.”