When the postseason awards were announced, the performances by those girls at the regional event led to a sweep of the highest awards.
Freshman Gabby Williams was named the Northern 4A girls Athlete of the Year. Sophomore Adriana Newell earned Runner of the Year, and junior Nyasha LeSure was the Field Athlete of the Year.
Williams turned a lot of heads in her first season on varsity, showing she can get it done on the track and the field. Williams earned first team all-region recognition by winning three events at the region championships: the 100-meter hurdles, the 300-meter hurdles and the high jump. She also was on the 4x400m relay team that made the first team list as well.
“If she would have jumped and run the 100 hurdles last year, she would have qualified for state as an eighth grader,” Reed track coach Dale Moss said. “That just goes to show you how athletically talented she is. Put Adriana next to Gabby, and you’re talking about potentially winning a state championship with just those two kids. Gabby is just a blessing. She’s one of those girls who is friendly just like Adriana. Gabby and Adriana are friends and get along great. When you have that chemistry and you’re liked by people, it makes things so much easier. You hope when you have people like that on the team that they draw more kids to the more program. Those kind of people are instant recruiters for us.”
Newell had surgery on both of her knees in December, so her availability heading into the spring season was in question. She answered those questions on the track.
Newell is the Raiders’ resident speedster, taking the regional crown in the 100 meters and crossing the finish line as the runner-up in the 200m and 400m, earning first team all-region in all three events as well as the 4x400m relay.
“Adriana wasn’t able to go to regionals as an individual last year because she was sick. So this was a great new experience for her as far as her maturing as a track athlete, having to run three individual events and only one relay,” Moss said. “You can’t ask more out of her…Not knowing if we would even have her this year and to see where she progressed to, it was a blessing for us. She broke school records.”
The season started off a little challenging for LeSure, who had won the past two regional championships in the high jump. However, with the addition of Williams, LeSure had to take a backseat in the high jump. When she was resigned to the fact that Williams was going to win the high jump this season, LeSure began focusing on the other two jumping events and it paid off.
LeSure took second in the region in the high jump and triple jump for first team honors, and received second team in the long jump.
“We as a coaching staff, we talked to her and made her realize that with her and Gabby alone, scoring first and second at state, 18 points is one-third of the points you need to win a state championship,” Moss said. “We just had to explain to her it was for the betterment of the team. You never want to get beat, and I think that was one of the things Nyasha had trouble with in the beginning. Then she began to encourage and cheer on Gabby in the high jump. It also led her into concentrating more on her long jump and triple jump. We felt even last year she could qualify into region and state finals without any problem if she put her mind to it. Because she was able to get us those points in the field events, we were able to get fourth place in the region.”
Junior Sierra Hooft was a second teamer in the 300m hurdles and the 4x400m relay. Reed’s second team 4x100m relay rounded out the Blue and Gold’s postseason honors.
Spanish Springs had several athletes recognized from its girls squad as well.
Distance runner Anna Preciado was on the first team for the 3200m and second team for the 1600m. Sophomore Katie Peters also was second team for the 1600m.
Also on the first team for the Cougars was senior sprinter Laura Voss in the 100 meters.
Spanish Springs’ 4x200m and 4x800m relays made the second team. Sophomore Lyndsey Anderson was the last individual to earn postseason recognition for the Purple and Silver. She was second team in the high jump.
While Rail City athletes didn’t sweep the top accolades in the postseason awards on the boys side like they did for the girls, one track star from a Sparks school stood out to the other 4A Northern Region coaches.
Spanish Springs sophomore Vance Lively was named the Field Athlete of the Year after having a good showing in the three jumping events thanks to the work he put in with his jump coach Greta Gardner.
Lively won the Northern 4A long jump with a distance of 20-08.50, and took third in both the triple and high jumps with marks of 41-10.75 and 6-00.00 respectively. He qualified for state in all three events, placing fourth, ninth and seventh.
And he’s just another one of those athletes Spanish Springs develops into stars.
“He surprised a lot of people except for us here because we knew last year he had some good jumping ability. He really started coming on strong halfway through the season and did well. Unfortunately he got hurt at state, but he always had some talent,” SSHS track coach Pat McGuire said. “He even helped the relay teams, so the kid can run as well … Vance is just one of the many in that process who will continue to do well to jump and run, and develop to the point where they will compete at the state meets.”
Plenty of other local athletes received all-region honors from their performances at the regional meet.
Reed junior Josh Gingras made first team in both the 100-meter dash and the 200 meters. Gingras was also part of the 4x100m and 4x200m relays that garnered first team all-region recognition.
Raiders teammate Chris Imus was second team all-region in three different events. Imus was second team in the 110m and 300m hurdles and was on the 4x400m relay squad that was also second team.
Spanish Springs had one runner who earned first team all-region in two events. Senior Josh Briggs was first team in the 800m and a member of the 4x800m relay. Fellow senior Reagan Chipman was also a part of that relay and a second team selection in the 800m.
Rounding out the all-region athletes for the Cougars was first-teamer senior Austin Rauh in the 400m dash.