During the week of July 24 to August 1st, the Lake Tahoe Track Club, based out of Incline Village, had fifteen athletes travel to Jacksonville, FL to compete at the 2021 USATF Jr. National Olympics. Athletes qualify for the USATF Jr. National Olympics by competing at association and regional qualifiers throughout the summer in CA and NV.
The Lake Tahoe Track Club is comprised of approx. 40 athletes from all over the Tahoe Basin and further. Athletes from Incline High and Incline middle school, Lake Tahoe School, Truckee High, North Tahoe High, South Tahoe, Yerginton, and more come together to form this club that is focused on promoting the love of running and track & field.
There were numerous highlights for the club at nationals, but the standout moment was the 17-18 boys 4x800m team of Kutoven Stevens, Etienne Bordes, Orion Barger, and Niklas Pietzke winning a national championship with a time of 7:56. Their time is the fastest USATF 4×800 time in the country this year. With a special mention to Dylan Cleary, as he raced in qualifiers but sat out at nationals. Coach Kris Nugent shared, “these boys ran an exceptional relay. They took on teams from all over the country and ran an incredible time to be crowned national champions. They took control of the race early and never let another team get close. We are so proud of these fine young men”.
Niklas Pietzke, Incline HS senior, had a phenomenal meet. Niklas followed up his success in the 4x800m to also finish 4th in the 1500m final with a time of 4:00.30, he qualified third fastest in the 800m semi-finals with a time of 1:56 (Niklas would finish 8th in the final), and finish 2nd in the 3000m with a time of 9:02. Being honored as an All-American for all four events. Kutoven Stevens, from Yerington High, also enjoyed a great meet winning the national championship in the 3000m with a time of 8:44.96, while also finishing 6th in the 1500m and 16th in the 800m. The 17-18 boys 4x400m team finished 3rd in the country with a time of 3:21. This team was comprised of Dylan clear, Etienne Bordes, Brayden Snearly, and Orion Barger. Harrison Fung and Brayden Snearly also represented the club in the 400m hurdles and Harrison in the 110m hurdles. With both boys running great times and performing well.
Orion Barger went to JO’s for the 17-18 boys individual 400m and 800m. Orion ran against some very tough competition and set personal best times for the summer in both events. Orion qualified for the 400m final and narrowly missed the 800m final. His fellow club members Dylan cleary and Etienne Bordes also narrowly missed the finals after running great times.
Our 15-16 boys won the 4x800m national championship in 2019 and our current 15-16 boys relay team kept that fine tradition going with a bronze medal in Florida. The team of Brendan Pietzke, Luke Davis, Luc Casini, and Aiden Vieara-McCarthy ran a season best to chase down the field to finish 3rd with a time of 8:51.43.
The Lake Tahoe Track Club also had two younger athletes competing at National JO’s. Jackson O’Donnell and Micah Bergstrom had a tremendous season competing in the 11-12 boys pentathlon at nationals. Both boys competed hard against tough competition and finished 16th and 20th respectively. Micah also had a standout performance in the individual 80m hurdles on the opening day. Micah ran a PB 15.36 to qualify 14th for the semi-finals.
The Lake Tahoe Track Club also had a number of female athletes perform exceptionally well at nationals. Madeleine Patrick was competing at her third national championships in the 400m, 800m, and 1500m. Madeleine ran well and had season best times. The club also had two new athletes qualify for nationals with Avery O’Donnell (800m & 1500m) and Alyssa Hill (400m & 800m) making it to Florida. Both girls enjoyed the experience of running against the best kids in the nation and set personal best times for the year.
The Lake Tahoe Track Club enjoyed a fantastic summer season, as the results indicate, in large part due to the phenomenal coaching staff. Coach Brad Bergstrom, Coach Aaron Moore, Coach Dave Snearly, and Coach Kris Nugent worked tirelessly this summer to help our local athletes achieve their very best. Coach Kris remarked, “as coaches, we are so proud of every athlete that trained and competed this summer. We work hard but also have a lot fun. It’s a privilege to be a part of such an amazing club. I’m already looking forward to the upcoming XC season this fall and winter. More great things are to come”.