Montgomery hosts largest Viking Opener Invitational in history

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PC: Michael Lucid Photography

What a week for the Vikings! Thank you to all our hardworking athletes, parents and volunteers who made our largest Viking Opener Invitational in history possible. A total of 37 high schools (up from 27 last year) from all over Northern California and 900+ (up from 700+ last year) athletes descended on Spring Lake September 15 for the 35th annual running of the blossoming prestigious meet. Next year might mean a capacity lottery cap on the meet, only adding to the allure of the event.

Viking athletes did not disappoint on Viking weekend, not only managing their assigned duties as course monitors, but also delivering some strong performances and PRs.

Junior newcomer Daniel Ledesma led the men’s performances of the day with his strong 10:58 (5:29) cross-country debut earning him a top-10 medal and a coveted spot on the junior all-time list tying for #15. Senior Leah Haley and junior Mariah Briceno led the women’s performances of the day, both managing to earn spots not only on their class all-time lists, but also on the Montgomery all-time top 25 lists.

Haley logged a thumping 1:44 minute PR due to having miss racing last year’s Viking during her transfer sit-out period, launching to #6 on the Montgomery top 25 list and #4 on the all-time senior girls list with her blazing 12:04 (6:02). Briceno followed close behind, with a 15-second PR and landing as #13 on the top 25 list and #10 on the all-time junior girls list with her 12:39 (6:19).

Sophomore Hayden Dalsing led the Viking PR parade this meet with a 60-second PR, knocking his time down to an 11:53 (5:56). Senior Gage Hallin followed up with a similar feat, knocking his time down by 47 seconds to a 13:21 (6:40). Sophomore Tan Luong had a 14-second PR with his 13:52 (6:56). Freshmen Jaymon George – 12:18 (6:09) and Lucas Morthole – 13:10 (6:35) – also both saw over 90-second (!) improvements on their Viking Opener times from their 8th grade XC days as Slater Spartans. George also landed on the Viking all-time freshman boys list taking over the #20 spot.

Senior Justin Parks earned himself a top 20 ribbon in #17 with his 12:47 (6:23) in the open boys race. Senior Brandon Alvarado also earned himself a top 20 ribbon with his #19 finish and 15-second PR in an 11:05 (5:32). While the Vikings did not see any team ribbons this year, the team ran well as a whole.

The Press Democrat even had the presence of mind to publish a short blurb on the meet in the following Sunday’s paper (see photo). Might be the first time they’ve covered the meet, as cross-country sadly fails to generate the kind of headlines enjoyed by other sports played and not run.

The Vikings next contest at the 2nd annual Eye Opener Invitational at Shollenberger Park in Petaluma with host former rival Casa Grande.

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