The Vikings returned to Spring Lake on Sept. 16 to host their annual legendary Viking Opener Invitational. Montgomery hosted 40 junior high and high school teams from around the Bay Area for the 33rd edition of the 2-mile race.
Kicking things off for the Vikings was flying freshman Sebastian Herbst coming in 17th overall and zooming his way into tying for 16th on the top 25 Viking freshman all-time list in a time of 11:53 (5:57). Hayden Dalsing, Jaden Fernandez, Ben Howe and Tan Luong completed the fast freshman five.
The sophomore boys race included PRs from Kibby Tesfamichael and Andrew Hagemann, and the Viking Opener debuts of Ryan Ward and Julian Hines.
The frosh/soph girls race delivered some of the top Viking performances of the day, as the Viking frosh/soph girls edged out archrival Santa Rosa by one point to steal second place behind Division V powerhouse and first time Viking Opener competitors Lick Wilmerding. Mariah Briceno led the team, finishing second overall in the race and jumping to 10th all-time Viking sophomore girl on the class record list. Freshman Isabel Holmes sped into 7th and Abbey Colvin into 18th on the top 25 freshman girls list. Freshmen Fiona Sweet and Cristina Palacios completed the fastest Viking frosh/soph girls team in years.
The Alumni race saw Viking participants from around the nation and world come to participate, generating perhaps one of the largest showings in recent years.
The junior boys race had long been the previewed race of the day as the class had previous success at the 2016 Viking Opener taking second in the sophomore boys race. The junior boys, primed and determined for success, won their division handily in a team average of 11:07 and 13 points ahead of second place team Vintage. Brent Oru-Craig and Kyle Theurkauf (who were so dramatically close in track season they ran the exact same 1600m times down to the hundreth of a second in completely different heats at the Dublin Distance Fiesta) led the Viking juniors in class record making times of 11:02 for Oru-Craig (tied for #20) and 11:06 for Theurkauf (#23). Justin Richter rounded out the top three, repeating his 11th place finish from 2016, but with a XX-PR in 11:XX. Brandon Alvarado and Garrett Hurd also had PRs to round out the top five. The boys were rewarded for their efforts by receiving their top 20 medals and ribbons in the chute from Viking alum and Olympian Kim Conley herself, whom they had informed their coach would be attending through some social media sleuthing before Conley even had.
The junior/senior girls were led by the top women’s performance of the day in senior Jasmine Becker’s launch onto the top 25 Viking all-time list with her 12:58 () mark in a tie for 19th and a tie for 10th on the senior class record list. Becker was followed by Grace Mackey, Savannah Goshgarian, Maia Fingerlos and Jessica Celli. Goshgarian and Celli had the primary PRs of the day with x and x respectively.
While the Open Girls race was nearly overrun with the yellow uniforms of Lick Wilmerding, New Zealander Ashley Keyte led the rest of the Viking women across the line in her first Viking Opener experience. Jessica Dueck and Lulu Devoulin completed their own Viking Opener debuts to round out the rest of the girls team.
Ramon Cruz and Charles Fisher were the lone Viking representatives in the senior boys race as Jacob Williams was sidelined with what would eventually be determined as walking pneumonia. Fisher generated a xx-PR with his time of xx.
In the Open Boys, Gage Hallin had perhaps the largest PR of the day, knocking xx seconds off in his time of xx to lead the rest of the Viking boys’ team across the line. Jake Howe had his own PR with xx, and Grant Hurd made his Viking debut chasing after his brother’s freshman year time. Jordan Haley, Jimmy Mackey and Luke Triola completed the open boys performances.
Viking alum and Olympian Kim Conley was on hand to present the team awards of the day, closing a beautiful day of racing for all Viking runners.
Wednesday sees the Vikings attending one of the annual NBL/SCL Interlocks on Sept. 20.