Students frustrated at the cancellation of sports waved signs and delivered speeches at a Truckee High School protest in an attempt to return to the field this year.
As February approaches, time is running out and seasons are slipping away in what would have been a year marked with championship aspirations for several of the area’s teams and individuals.
“All of the sports this year were supposed to be very strong this year at Truckee High School,” said Truckee senior Lauren Tanner. “We’re going to do everything we can to try and make sure we can play.”
Students from Truckee said they heard about California’s “Let them Play” protest through social media, and then quickly spread the info among themselves. As momentum grew, parents jumped in to help organize the protest last Friday at Truckee High School. Several dozen students and parents gathered at the high school to give speeches and display signs as community members driving along Donner Pass Road honked their horns in support.
“A lot of us got to talking about how important these seasons are for us,” added Tanner on helping to organize the event. “I’m a senior, and so this is my last year to play at Truckee High School. I was hoping to win three state championships this year.”
Tanner played on last year’s state champion girls’ soccer team, a program that has won four straight state titles. She was part of last year’s girls’ basketball team, winning the program’s first state championship. Tanner is also on the track and field team, which had its season cut short in 2020 due to the outbreak of COVID-19.
“Not having sports leaves me a little bit empty,” she concluded. “I find myself not knowing what to do, and I’m just not as happy as I am when I’m not in that competitive environment.”
Others at Truckee touched on the importance of athletics as a way to connect with other students. Senior Taya Matt said her freshman year on the soccer team was of particular importance as it introduced her to upperclassmen as she entered high school.
“Sports play such a big role in high school and community — especially in Truckee,” said Matt. “Also, it really helps people socially because you can connect with people you wouldn’t usually hang out with … It’s such a big part of my experience and that’s what I loved about high school.”
Senior Ethan Flynn said the desire to return to competition is strong among student-athletes at the school.
“I just want to get back to it, and as a captain of multiple teams, I know a lot of my teammates do as well. If I can lead by example and help that, then I’ll do everything I can,” said Flynn.
“It’s been tough not having something to look forward to, but hopefully we can change that by getting to a lot of people and make a difference. Maybe just one person or a hundred, anything helps. I’m glad all these people showed up and hopefully something good comes out of it.”
Currently, students within the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District are allowed to participate in conditioning drills. The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association revised its 2020-21 schedule in July with plans of beginning winter sports on Jan. 15. Due to restrictions in Nevada, basketball and wrestling are prohibited at this time, according to the reopening guidance issued by Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak, who, on Jan. 11, extended that state’s pause for an additional 30 days.
While basketball and wrestling seasons are in danger, one of the area’s top winter sports is set to begin next week. The California-Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation is scheduled to hold the season’s first snowboard race on Monday at Alpine Meadows. The alpine ski season, which is regulated by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, is also set to get underway with giant slalom Wednesday at Alpine Meadows. The event will mark the association’s first competition for the area’s high school athletes in roughly 10 months.
Tahoe Truckee Unified School District follows regulations from the California Department of Public Health Youth Sports Guidelines, regardless of decisions made by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, which governs alpine skiing, wrestling, and basketball for the area’s schools.
Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at email@example.com or 530-550-2643.