Carson High School's Shanna Sparks will be out to defend her title in the girls 3,200 meters tonight when the NIAA/U.S. Bank State Track and Field Championships get under way at Reed High School.
The meet being held at the Dave Nolte Northern Nevada Regional Track Facility will showcase athletes in each of the 1A, 2A, 3A and 4A classifications through Saturday. Tonight's schedule consists of 4A prelims and finals in the boys 3,200 final at 6:40 p.m. and the girls 3,200 at 9:10.
Cassia Roth and Sparks will represent Carson in the girls race after their second- and third-place finishes respectively at the Northern 4A Regionals last Saturday at Reed. Douglas High's Taryn Joyce-Mendive also placed fourth in the regional race to earn a ticket to the state meet. Reno sophomore Collier Lawrence won the regional 3,200 title.
Even though Sparks only finished third last week, she did so after winning the 1,600 and placing third in the 800 earlier in the day. She won the state 3,200 last year in Las Vegas with a time of 11:19.1 and has a state-best 10:50 so far this season, run last month at the high-powered Arcadia Invitational in Southern California.
Carson has one other finalist tonight, Josh Corder in the boys 3,200. The junior qualified when he ran to fifth at last week's regional, but was a third-place medalist in the 4A state cross country race back in November.
Other Carson athletes who will be looking to qualify today include Javier Vega (100, 200), Katie Kotter (100) and George Pincock (200, 400).