LAUGHLIN — The Cougars cross country team will continue their season with a trip to the state tournament Saturday, Nov. 3, but the win is bittersweet.
All but one runner on the team will be headed to the end of season race.
Stephanie Zamora was well ahead of everyone when the unthinkable happened.
“She jogged down the hill, turned pale white and collapsed,” said coach Mitch Mulcahy. “Once a coach aids a runner they have to pull out of the race. Unfortunately this is what she had to do.”
The worst part was knowing she was in the lead, he said.
“Heartbreaking race for Stephanie,” said Mulcahy. “At the Mohave meet she ripped the toe nail off of her foot so she stayed off it last week and rode the bike.”
A week of being cooped up had her raring to go again and she looked like she got shot out of a cannon at the start of the race, he said.
“A mile in and she was running a record time and still looked strong,” said Mulcahy. “At two and one-quarter mile in she was in the lead by 30 second. At about two and a half miles in her body started to shut down.”
Zamora knew going in that she could outdistance the competition.
“She had beaten every girl that was in the race and wanted to do it again in demanding form,” said Mulcahy. “As a coach it was the worst thing to watch. Anybody on our team would say she has worked the hardest all year. To see this be her last race and not get a medal is sad.”
On the flip side of things, other runners saw vast improvements in their times. Jason Zenefski finished fifth with a time of 19:27.2. David Smith finished with a time of 28:47.4
Julia Thomas also showed a lot of improvement, Mulcahy said, finishing with a time of 25:53.0.
Gonzalo Sanchez finished in second with a time of 18:05.6.
For the girls, Maritza Cruz finished second with a time of 24:13.4. Nancy Franco finished 13th with a time of 27:55.6.
Regarding the state competition, Mulcahy isn’t sweating it. It can be a tougher course with some hills and varied terrain, he said.
“After running the course two times this year and a few last year the runners should be familiar with it,” he said.
The team will travel to Boulder City to compete at Veteran’s Memorial. The girls portion of the competition begins at 10 a.m. and the boys at 12:15 p.m.