During the week of July 24th to July 30th, twenty-one athletes from the Lake Tahoe Track Club traveled to historic Hayward Field in Eugene, OR to compete in the 2023 USATF National Junior Olympics. Qualification for this prestigious competition is not an easy feat – athletes must compete at association and regional qualifiers throughout the summer in CA and NV.

The Lake Tahoe Track Club (LTTC), based out of Incline Village, is composed of 45 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 High, Doral Academy, Carson Valley, and more come together to form this club that is focused on promoting the love of running and track & field while also competing at state and national level meets.

Hosting National JO’s at the famed Hayward Field brought out the very best youth athletes from all over the country, but this did not deter the LTTC athletes. Two athletes in particular shined and claimed All-American honors: Shelby Erikson, 8th grader at Lake Tahoe School, finished 7th in the nation in the 800m, 13-14 girls division, with a personal best time of 2:20.93. Additionally, Shelby qualified for the semi-final in the 400m with a time of 59.99. Shelby also ran anchor for the 4x800m team that finished 17th with teammates Lily Cooper, Saige Nolan, and Alex Oliva. North Tahoe HS junior, Alexis Hallenberg, finished 5th in the nation in the 15-16 girls 2000m steeplechase. Her time was a personal best of 7:44.49. Alexis also finished 21st in the 800m.

Coach Kris Nugent remarked, “Lexie had never run a 2000m steeplechase until this summer. She then goes out on the opening day of the National meet and finishes as an All-American. Just incredible. Her work ethic and toughness is unmatched. Shelby then followed that up a few days later with an epic 800m run to qualify for finals and be the 7th fastest girl in the nation. She has one of the best middle school seasons I’ve ever seen – Tah-Neva champion and record holder to All-American. Wow!”

Ty Hammond, freshman at Truckee High, had a fantastic meet setting personal best marks in each of his individual events in the 13-14 division. Ty finished 11th in the 200m hurdles and narrowly missed being an All-American and making finals. He then followed this with by making semi-finals of the 100m hurdles with a personal best time of 15.29. Ty was also the lead runner for the 4x800m relay team with Oliver Pietzke, Logan Rive, and Lachlan McConnon. This team finished 21st with a time of 9:40.31.

Other great results at Nationals were:

Kiefer Willcox, Truckee High Sophomore, finished 18th in the 3000m (9:11.45) and 28th in the 1500m (4:21.07).

Addison Confer, 8th grader at Doral Academy, finished 28th in the 800m (2:34.99) and 31st in the 3000m (11:56.74).

James Pietzke, 5th grader at Lake Tahoe School, finished 25th in the 800m (2:41.33) and 35th in mini-javelin with a throw of 72-05.

Oliver Pietzke, 8th grader at Lake Tahoe School, finished 33rd in the 800m (2:10.97)

Lily Cooper, freshman at North Tahoe HS, finished 28th in the 13-14 girls pentathlon with 1911 points.

Brooks Erikson, 6th grader at Lake Tahoe School, finished 27th in the 800m (2:26.93) and 29th in the 1500m (4:59.64).

Dane Gitchell, freshman at Incline HS, finished 32nd in shot put with a throw of 35-03.25 and 37th in discus with a throw of 105-03

Arya Saini, sophomore at South Tahoe HS, finished 24th in the long jump (16-05.75).

Brody Defranco, sophomore at South Tahoe HS, 36th in the 400m hurdles (1:02.36) and 38th in the 110m hurdles (16.47).

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 Jon Cooper, Coach Dave Snearly, and Coach Kris Nugent worked tirelessly this summer to help our local athletes achieve their very best. Coach Kris shared, “as coaches, we are so proud of every athlete that trained and competed this summer. It’s a privilege to be a part of such an amazing club with amazing local kids and supportive families. Our club has grown to be a national contender and we are beyond proud to represent the Tahoe region and see our athletes perform so well. It was truly a career highlight to be at Hayward Field and for these kids to experience that meet in that stadium.”