| SierraSun.com

Past gridiron greats on the collegiate level

With most collegiate fall sports around the nation moving to spring dates due to the outbreak of COVID-19, a number of alumni from Truckee and North Tahoe may have a chance to return to the gridiron before the year is out.

Wulfe Retzlaff

One of the best to ever wear a Truckee uniform, Wulfe Retzlaff and the Missouri University of Science and Technology football team held their first practice in pads on Sept. 31

Retzlaff, a senior who graduated Truckee in 2017, was named All-Great Lakes Valley Conference second team last season, finishing with 63 tackles, two sacks, and a fumble recovery.

While the team is able to hold practices, the Division II Great Lakes Valley Conference won’t have games until spring.

Thomas Mercogliano

North Tahoe standout quarterback left his name etched all over the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s record books, and is now in his second year at Occidental College.

As a freshman, Mercogliano appeared in four contests and completed seven of 18 passes for 66 yards, a touchdown, and an interception for the Division III Tigers.

On Tuesday, Occidental College President Harry J. Elam Jr. announced that Occidental will discontinue its football program. The announcement ends three years of deliberations about the future of the program, which was ultimately brought to an end by the financial impacts surrounding the outbreak of COVID-19.

Taylor Ludwig

After playing for Santa Barbara City College, a former Truckee standout, Taylor Ludwig transferred to the University of Arkansas at Monticello last year where as a junior, the 6-foot-3-inch, 255-pound offensive lineman made six appearances for the Boll Weevils.

The Great American Conference suspended all sports competitions through the end of 2020.

Marcus Martello-Trotter

Former Truckee defensive standout is also at Occidental College, and had moved from defensive end to linebacker before the college announced it was terminating its football program.

As a freshman last season, Martello-Trotter appeared in seven games and piled up 28 tackles, 0.5 sacks, and a forced fumble.

Jackson Skaff

Another local athlete at Occidental College, Jackson Skaff joined the team last season as a freshman linebacker after playing a key role for Truckee’s defense during the Wolverines’ 2018 season.

George Skaff

Younger brother of Jackson Skaff, George Skaff joined the Claremont Mudd Scripps program this season, which plays in the same conference as his brother.

Cole Harrity

Truckee legend Cole Harrity was named offensive player of the year at Saddleback College, along with being named first-team All-Orange Empire Conference for his play at receiver.

Harrity, who graduated Truckee in 2017, is now a member of New Mexico State University’s football program, which is one of just three Division I schools to forgo the 2020-21 football season.

Tyler Davis

Tyler Davis graduated Truckee in 2017, and was among the team’s leaders in the secondary.

Davis is now a senior at Missouri Valley College where he serves as one of the team’s defensive backs. Playing in the NAIA, Missouri Valley has opened the year with a 1-1 record. During those two games, Davis has totaled 11 tackles, which is tied for third on the team. Missouri Valley will next take on Central Methodist University on Saturday at home.

Carson McCarron

Another Truckee graduate from 2017, Carson McCarron is a first-year player at Santa Barbara City College.

McCarron played running back and defensive end at Truckee.

The California Community College Athletic Association has suspended all sports until the start of 2021.

Drew Wingard

Another product of Truckee Head Coach Josh Ivens, Drew Wingard appeared in two games last season as a freshman at Endicott College as a safety, but didn’t record any tackles.

The Division III Gulls have been practicing, but won’t play in 2020, according to the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

Marcus Bellon

Marcus Bellon led Truckee as a quarterback, but at Southern Utah University, he’s transitioned to receiver for the Division I Thunderbirds.

The Big Sky Conference announced earlier in the year that football will be contested in the spring.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.

NIAA ratifies changes for 2020-21 sports calendar

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association voted unanimously Wednesday to ratify changes to the 2020-21 high school sports seasons.

Each season will last six competitive weeks, and will begin in early January as follows:

Winter Season Sports

(6 competitive weeks)

Practice begins Saturday, Jan. 2, 2021

First contest may be held Friday, Jan. 14, 2021

Last contest Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021

Fall Season Sports (6 competitive weeks)

Practice begins Saturday, Feb. 13, 2021 (Football)

Practice begins Saturday, Feb. 20, 2021 (all sports except Football)

First contest may be held Friday, March 4, 2021

Last contest Saturday, April 10, 2021

Spring Season Sports (6 competitive weeks)

Practice begins Saturday, April 3, 2021

First contest may be held Friday, April 15, 2021

Last contest Saturday, May 22, 2021

Leading up to the first organized practice dates, out of season regulations will be in place through Jan. 1.

Executive Director Bart Thompson spoke of the possibility of holding fall sports in the coming weeks, but indicated that due to the National Federation of State High School Associations Sports Medicine Advisory Committee’s transmission risk assessment, higher risk sports like football and soccer would ultimately lose their season.

When high school sports resume, there are plans for potentially requiring face coverings in baseball, softball, and volleyball. Track and field, and cross-country will utilize staggered starts when possible.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.

Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association approves girls’ state wrestling tourney

Though much uncertainty remains regarding the upcoming school year and sports seasons, the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association announced a change in its state wrestling format, introducing a girls’ tournament to close out the winter season.

At its meeting in mid-June the association’s board of control approved of the tournament, which will run in conjunction with the regularly scheduled state wrestling meet.

“Providing the opportunity for girls to compete against their own gender as they do in other sports will encourage participation in a sport already being conducted at our member schools,” said Executive Director Bart Thompson. “Participation is the key, those who participate in sports do better in school, that’s why we have high school sports.”

Once the winter sports season begins, Nevada will join 27 other states in offering a girls’ state wrestling tournament.

“That, along with NCAA recently announcing that women’s wrestling has been granted emerging sport status at the Division 1-3 level, is a tremendous step forward for the sport,” said Aaron Svitana, head coach for Truckee’s youth program. “Clearly, this further validates the exponential growth that women’s wrestling has seen across the country in the last decade and the opportunities it affords from a general participation perspective, up to and including, increased scholarship availability at the college level. I think it’s really opening the door for more participants – female or male – to reap the athletic and life-skill benefits wrestling provides.”

Svitana added that he’s seen increased participation in girls-only divisions at youth tournaments within the Sierra Wrestling Association, in which the Truckee Wrestling Club competes.

“In the five years since the Truckee Wrestling Club has been re-established, we’ve traditionally had a small handful of girls competing on the team,” said Svitana. “This past season we saw Viviana Zavala really grow in athletic ability and confidence which culminated in her capturing a (Sierra Wrestling Association) league championship in her girls’ division the week before our season was canceled due to the pandemic … We’re also excited to have added Tarin O’Donnell to our all-volunteer coaching staff this past season. Tarin is a veteran of wrestling from Washington state which was an early adopter of women’s wrestling and her technical skills and positive attitude working with boys and girls is a great asset to our club.”

Truckee High School wrestling head coach Jim Bennett said in past years he’s seen apprehension among prospective girl wrestlers due to having to compete against boys, and while that will continue during regular season tournaments, the chance to grapple for state titles against other girls may provide incentive for more to join a program that has been striving to grow its roster the past few seasons.

“I believe that girls wrestling in Nevada deserve their own state championships,” said Bennett.

“At the high school, we have had a very open-door policy in order to build the program. And with that, we have had several girls in our program and I think (it) will be a great opportunity to expand on.”

Details for the tournament will be finalized at a future board meeting, but it is anticipated that this year’s tournament will be individual only, meaning girls wouldn’t tally points for an overall team score.

“We look forward to the opportunity to expand and grow the wrestling culture here in our community,” added Bennett.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.

Season lost: Truckee athletes, coaches share favorite memories

Graduating seniors will not forget spring 2020. Especially those seniors on the spring Truckee High School sports rosters.

These athletes did not get a chance to compete at home or away at games, meets, or invites; no bottom of the ninth dramatics, no bases loaded, forceouts, or strikeouts; no streamline or flipturns; no starting blocks, staggered starts or changeovers — but they still have a finish line to cross as the graduating senior class of 2020.

Some student-athletes earned scholarships in academics as well as in athletics, proving both excellence in the classroom and on the field.

Giving seniors a deserved bell lap, coaches and athletes shared memories near and dear as the 2020-21 school years nears its conclusion.

Track and field

“It was devastating to lose the track and field season for these seniors, as a few of our seniors will have opportunities to continue track and field into their college future,” said Truckee track and field coach Rob McClendon. “I wish the class of 2020 congratulations during these challenging times and hope they will never forget their track and field experience at Truckee High School.”

Senior Montana Montgomery, the fastest distance runner in Truckee history, was awarded both academic and athletic scholarships to attend and compete at Division II Western Colorado University where he will compete in both cross-country and track.

“I was indeed bummed, then I laced up my shoes and went for a run,” said Montgomery.

Senior Isabella Terrazas will attend Stanford University in the fall. Terrazas said her best track and field memory was from her junior year at state, where the girls’ team set the school and state meet Class 3A record for the 4×800 meter relay.

“What disappoints me most about not completing my senior track and field season is the fact that I’ll never run another relay for Truckee,” said Terrazas. “The fact that I won’t get to pass the baton to Deanna (Sunnergren), or any of my other teammates and friends again, is honestly … heartbreaking.”

Terrazas is also a Truckee High School Salutatorian for the class of 2020. She looks forward to continuing her athletic career on Stanford’s running club.

Sunnergren attended The Davidson Academy on the University of Nevada, Reno campus and has received one of the highest academic scholarships given out by Lewis and Clark College. She said her best track and field memory was the 2019 4×800 meter relay state championship. She is committed to run both cross-country and track at Lewis and Clark College.

Senior Hayden Sumner’s best memory was “the 2019 boys’ track team getting fourth at states with only four boys competing.” Sumner will be attending California State University San Marcos.

The track and field team also included seniors George Skaff, Natalie Lang-Ree, Riley Cornette, Robbie Maxim, Steffen Cuneo and Jake Gardner.

Baseball/Softball

“These seniors all have very bright futures. I am sad that the spring did not go as planned, but they have really good opportunities ahead of them,” said Truckee baseball coach Jeff Murphy.

The two-time reigning state champion Truckee baseball team included seniors Connor McMullen, Dayton Broad, Deacon Mehler and Tyler Estabrook.

“To our Lady Wolverines, so, your high school softball career is over, but everything you have learned through playing this sport lives on,” added Truckee softball coaches Ashley Pose and Pat McKechnie. “The teamwork you learned on the field will carry over. The dedication you mastered committing to practices everyday after school and games on Saturdays, will be of benefit. The leadership you gained by organizing your teammates for a spaghetti feed, will pay off. So remember the practices, long bus rides, overnight trips, teammates, and all the laughs. Be a leader, we love you.”

The Truckee softball team had nine seniors this year.

“One of my favorite memories has to be when we stayed at the hotels while traveling,” said senior Ashlyn Christenson. “The nights we got to spend together and just goof off was so much fun and was an awesome experience to get to know some of the players better”.

Christenson said she looks forward to applying to Sierra College in Rocklin.

“My best memory from softball was playing Fernley last year because we were able to play together as a team so we could score runs against one of the best teams,” said senior Tess Anderson, who added that “pitching is my favorite thing to do!!”

Another senior Danitza Correa, who will the University of San Francisco for biology, said her best memory “would have to be any overnight trip because I feel like that is where we most bonded as a team.”

Another of the squad’s seniors, Evelyn Sanchez, said she’ll remember “all of the days I spent with my team I can say where great memories and I wouldn’t trade it for anything”.

Senior Susan Greeno added that her favorite memories included traveling to Yerington every year for tournament play.

“We went to the black bear diner for dinner and they have newspaper menus,” she said. “Starting my freshman year I always made a hat out of it, and the first two years no one participated but once I reached junior year I got all the underclass men to do it”.

Greeno is attending Long Island University for musical theater.

“My best memory of softball is cheering at every game for my teammates when they were out on the field or up to bat,” said senior Daniella Paniagua, who will be attending University of California, Riverside.

“One of my best memories is my junior year, I had three of the best plays of my entire career,” said senior Haley Hames.” A line drive catch, a play at first, and an assisted play at second. I also loved the overnight hotel trips with the teams.”

Other seniors on the team were McKenna Purdy and Zaira Mora.

Golf

The defending state champion Truckee boys’ golf team came into a season with a stacked lineup and eyes on repeating as the best squad in the state.

“It is unfortunate that our seniors missed out on what should have been another undefeated state championship season,” said Coach Marc Smith. “These seniors on the golf team have been on the varsity roster since they were freshmen”

The team had seniors Owen Slusher, Mason Cutler, Lucas Kraatz, Zach Poncelet, and Isaac Cruz.

“My best memory of playing golf is definitely winning the state championship and traveling to Florida to play in the national high school championship,” said Slusher, who will be attending and playing golf for Santa Barbara City College.

The Truckee golf team has been invited to participate in the high school national championship and will be looking to fundraiser and represent the town of Truckee in Pinehurst, North Carolina, on Aug. 3-5.”

Donations can be made to E.J Tegner – Let’s Bet on Youth Golf Foundation, which is a nonprofit.

Swimming

“The 2020 Truckee Swim & Dive team was a short sweet one, we only had two meets,” said coach Jody Burrill. This group of seniors is among the most supportive and enthusiastic group of athletes ever. They are the backbone of the team. Their growth from freshman to senior year was beautiful to witness. They support each other and they look out for the team.

“These seniors have had the team’s interest at heart throughout their years on the team and I think it shows in the huge growth of the swim and dive team. Their team spirit also shows in their favorite memories, which was traveling to Las Vegas with the team — not breaking school records.”

“These seniors reach out and make swimming and diving a fun, supportive team to be a part of. … This group of seniors will be missed and I am deeply sorry we did not get to finish their swim and dive season to the championship meet in Las Vegas. This amazing team of seniors will be going on to do amazing things, as you can see by where they are headed next fall. Go seniors”.

Senior Dylan Cole closed his time on the team as a captain and school record holder in 400-yard freestyle relay. “My favorite team memory was states sophomore year,” said Cole. “I loved the entire trip. I plan on attending UC Davis as a biochem major”.

Senior Aaron Bronstone was also a captain and school record holder in the 200-yard medley relay.

“My favorite team memory was winning and breaking the school record for the 200-yard medley relay at the 2018 State Championships in Vegas,” said Bronstone. “I plan on continuing my education and swimming career at Carleton College in Northfield Minnesota. Go Knights!”

Another team captain, senior Courtney Engberg, holds Truckee’s record holder in the 200 freestyle relay.

“I have to say my favorite team memory would definitely have to be every time we have tried to take a team photo altogether, something always ends up happening,” said Engberg. “I am planning on attending college at Northern Arizona University … to obtain a bachelor’s degree in business management and marketing.”

Senior Kira Thomas led the diving program as captain and is the school record holder in the sport.

“My favorite team memory is going to states in Vegas my sophomore year” said Thomas, who will dive at University of Texas Permian Basin in the fall.

“My favorite memory from this year was when we took a team photo and all pulled each other into the water,” said senior Michael Daly, who plans on attending California State University, Sacramento in the fall to major in film and editing.

Senior Elena Tebb said her favorite memory was “going to Vegas for states my sophomore year.”

She will be attending University of California, Davis in the fall, majoring in animal science.

“I am not committed to diving but I hope to walk on the team next year,” she said. The swim and dive team also had senior Bode Siebelink.

“The 2020 Truckee High School Swim team will always hold a special place in my heart,” said coach Dan Kates. “Yes, they are an extremely talented group of athletes but the grace with which they handled the disappointment of missing out on a probable championship is inspirational. Their support for one another through thick and thin has always been a hallmark of THS swimming. That’s never been more apparent than this season.”

Source: Truckee High School

NIAA issues update on spring sports season

The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association issued an update on Friday regarding the suspension of the high school spring sports season due to the coronavirus.

Sports will not resume for practice or play prior to schools coming back into session, according to the update, however, staff at the association have been working on contingency plans for the possibility of abbreviated seasons.

Depending when and if spring sports take place, the association is considering placing baseball and softball teams into pools of three to five schools, within their classification, and using play among those schools to determine postseason seeding.

For track and field, and swimming and diving, the association is anticipating holding regional and state meets.

For boys’ golf, each school will be allowed to enter a team of six players into the regional tournament.

The association said it also is anticipating that competition will not go beyond the end of the current school year.

“It is the hope of NIAA staff that all tournaments will be able to be held,” said the association in its update. “We have currently scheduled sites for nearly all of the region and state tournaments.”

Schools in Nevada are closed until at least April 6. The Tahoe Truckee Unified School District also expects schools to reopen on April 6.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.

Prep roundup: Wolverines swim past Lakers, Scorpions in season opener

The Truckee and North Tahoe swim teams opened the season last week with a meet against Sage Ridge.

Swimming at home, the Wolverines were able to take team wins on the boys and girls’ side against the Lakers and Scorpions.

The Truckee boys finished the meet with wins of 178-42 against North Tahoe and 152-81 against Sage Ridge. The Lady Wolverines topped the Lakers 141-74, and defeated the Scorpions 140-69.

Truckee will host another swim today, beginning at 2 p.m. at the Truckee-Donner Community Swimming Pool. The team’s divers will compete at 5 p.m. on Wednesday at Douglas High School.

Defending champs return to diamond

The two-time defending Class 3A state champion Truckee baseball team got its season underway with tournament games against several Class 4A school from the Reno area and a contest at Bear River in Grass Valley.

Through five games, the Wolverines have totaled a 1-4 record, with their sole win coming at league rival Churchill County in a nonleague matchup.

Junior Timmy Reeve leads the club with 10 hits thus far and a .625 batting average. Sophomore Sam Purgason leads the team with six RBIs, while senior Deacon Mehler has hit a team-high four doubles. Sophomore pitcher Jackson Kahl has posted a team-high 10 strikeouts in nine innings of work.

The Lady Wolverines opened their softball season as well, and are winless through four games.

The Truckee baseball team and softball teams will be at Elko this weekend for a pair of doubleheaders to open play in the Northern League.

Lakers drop league opener

The North Tahoe baseball tam opened league play on Tuesday in Sparks against Yerington and suffered a 12-0 loss.

The Lakes were held hitless while committing four errors as Yerington took the win via the 10-run rule.

The Lakers softball team dropped their league opener as well, falling 21-2 to Yerington on Tuesday.

Both North Tahoe teams will be in action today with doubleheaders at Yerington.

Youth Wrestlers ready for state

Following a successful regular season, the Truckee Youth Wrestling Team is set to compete for state titles this weekend in Spanish Springs.

The squad will send roughly a dozen of its top youngsters to the tournament in hopes of claiming state medals.

The team is coming off a strong performance last weekend at the Sierra Wrestling Association/Eastern Nevada Wrestling Association Championships at Fernley High School.

The team sent eight wrestlers to the tournament and had Viviana Zavala capture folkstyle gold, Evan Mozrok take gold in folkstyle and silver in Greco-Roman and freestyle, and Sammy Svitana take Greco gold along with silvers in freestyle and folkstyle.

Other medalists included Jacob Svitana with a bronze in Greco, Jack Ridgel with a bronze in all three styles, and Quinn Dorst with a bronze in Greco.

“Parents, coaches and the entire community should be proud of the efforts of our kids,” the club posted in its weekly newsletter. “These little guys and gals are showing continued improvement week over week whether their efforts resulted in wins or losses. They are learning how to try their best and continue to improve upon the skills they’ve been learning over the course of the season. The mere fact that these kids have the confidence to walk to the center of a mat and take on another competitor where the outcome is solely in their hands is building life skills that will take them a long way in whatever sport or endeavor they face. And that is impressive and a testament to these little one’s character.”

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.

‘We wanted to make history:’ Truckee girls win program’s first state championship

RENO — The Truckee girls’ basketball team is the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association state champions for the first time in school history.

After dropping three previous meetings this season to Fernley, the Wolverines took control from the outset in Friday’s state title game at Lawlor Events Center and never let go, outhustling and outshooting the Vaqueros on the way to a 54-42 victory.

“I can’t put it into words. It’s just an amazing feeling,” said junior captain Lauren Tanner, who tied for a team high with 12 points. “The fact that I got to do it with my friends, who are family, is just incredible.”

The bond between teammates is what several of the Lady Wolverines said set this group apart from those that came before.

“We’re just so close and really have become like a family this season,” said Tanner. “I’m sad for it to end but I know that we’re just going to keep growing as the years go on, and hopefully we’ve started a new tradition for Truckee.”

‘DIDN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO LOSE’

The Wolverines came into the game after earning a hard-fought win against Moapa Valley in the semifinals. During that game at Reno High School, the team struggled from the field, but under the bright lights of Lawlor, the Wolverines were poised, hungry, and able to knock down big shot after big shot that, ultimately, left the Vaqueros reeling.

“We were definitely willing to dive to the ground first, jump higher, and put in those little extra details and that’s what it came down to,” said Tanner.

“We were more calm and focused on the shots that we were taking and we worked together to better minimize our turnovers. Overall, our energy going into the game was a lot better. We wanted to make history. We didn’t have anything to lose. They were expected to win, and we just were going out there and having fun.”

After a tight first quarter, in which the Wolverines led 13-11, senior Elena Friedman seemingly eased the tension on the Truckee side by stepping into and burying a pair of 3-pointers to help propel the team to a 30-22 lead going into halftime.

“After that everyone calmed down and we were just prepared to do what we had to do,” said Friedman.

In the third quarter, Fernley cut the lead to four behind a 5-0 run, but junior Emma Cooley answered to keep the game at three possessions as the Wolverines took a 38-31 lead into the fourth quarter. Cooley would finish the afternoon with nine points.

Truckee opened the final period on a 5-0 run behind a bucket from junior Annika Thayer and a 3-pointer by sophomore floor general Ryan Flynn, who has emerged as the calming force for the team during times when defenses are playing full court or trapping. Flynn finished the game tied for the team high in points with 12.

As time ticked away, Fernley began frantically sending double teams, but Truckee remained composed, eating away the clock and finding quality looks to eventually claim the win and the program’s first ever state championship.

“It just feels so amazing because we were so close (as a team) this year,” said Thayer, who finished with 10 points. “From the beginning we knew we were going to go far, just not this far.”

MAKING MOMENTOUS MEMORIES

The win capped off a pair of great defensive performances by the Wolverines. In the semifinal matchup, Truckee held Moapa Valley to 26 points, and in the state championship game, they held a Fernley team that went undefeated this season in league play and averaged 58.5 points to a poor performance from the field and 42 points. The defeat snapped a 16-game winning streak for Fernley.

“We have great defenders on our team and so we’ve been able to thrive and shut down the best players. That’s how we’ve won,” said senior captain Emily Monson.

Truckee allowed Fernley’s leading scorer, sophomore Willow Jacobson, 12 points in the first half, but kept her scoreless in the second half.

“We took all of the pressure in the stadium and we thrived from it,” added Monson. “We love the energy and we played our game.”

Monson, Friedman, and team manager Taylor Betonte represented the only seniors on this year’s Truckee team.

“As a team, we’ve counted on each other and we’ve succeeded, and we truly have gone down in history,” said Monson.

“Playing at Lawlor, I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Playing with this team, I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.

Champions in the classroom: Truckee boys, girls win academic state championships

Following this past season of basketball, one of the most impressive accomplishments by the Truckee boys and girls’ teams didn’t come from the hardwood.

Both squads excelled in the classroom this season, earning academic state championships for having the highest cumulative GPAs of any Class 3A team in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.

The state champion Truckee girls added to their season accolades by combining for a 3.82 GPA; while the boys worked to earn a 3.57 GPA.

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.

Truckee girls claim program’s first state championship

RENO — The Truckee girls’ basketball team is the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association state champions for the first time in school history.

After dropping three previous meetings this season to Fernley, the Wolverines took control from the outset in today’s state title game at Lawlor Events Center and never let go, outhustling and outshooting the Vaqueros on the way to a 54-42 victory.

“I can’t put it into words. It’s just an amazing feeling,” said junior captain Lauren Tanner, who tied for a team high with 12 points. “The fact that I got to do it with my friends, who are family, is just incredible.”

The bond between teammates is what several of the Lady Wolverines said set this group apart from those that came before.

“We’re just so close and really have become like a family this season,” said Tanner. “I’m sad for it to end but I know that we’re just going to keep growing as the years go on, and hopefully we’ve started a new tradition for Truckee.”

The Wolverines came into the game after earning a hard-fought win against Moapa Valley in the semifinals. During that game at Reno High School, the team struggled from the field, but under the bright lights of Lawlor, the Wolverines were poised, hungry, and able to knock down big shot after big shot that, ultimately, left the Vaqueros reeling.

“We were definitely willing to dive to the ground first, jump higher, and put in those little extra details and that’s what it came down to,” said Tanner.

“We were more calm and focused on the shots that we were taking and we worked together to better minimize our turnovers. Overall, our energy going into the game was a lot better. We wanted to make history. We didn’t have anything to lose. They were expected to win, and we just were going out there and having fun.”

After a tight first quarter, in which the Wolverines led 13-11, senior Elena Friedman seemingly eased the tension on the Truckee side by stepping into and burying a pair of 3-pointers to help propel the team to a 30-22 lead going into halftime.

“After that everyone calmed down and we were just prepared to do what we had to do,” said Friedman.

In the third quarter, Fernley cut the lead to four behind a 5-0 run, but junior Emma Cooley answered to keep the game at three possessions as the Wolverines took a 38-31 lead into the fourth quarter. Cooley would finish the afternoon with nine points.

Truckee opened the final period on a 5-0 run behind a bucket from junior Annika Thayer and a 3-pointer by sophomore floor general Ryan Flynn, who has emerged as the calming force for the team during times when defenses are playing full court or trapping. Flynn finished the game tied for the team high in points with 12.

As time ticked away, Fernley began frantically sending double teams, but Truckee remained composed, eating away the clock and finding quality looks to eventually claim the win and the program’s first ever state championship.

“It just feels so amazing because we were so close (as a team) this year,” said Thayer, who finished with 10 points. “From the beginning we knew we were going to go far, just not this far.”

The win capped off a pair of great defensive performances by the Wolverines. In the semifinal matchup, Truckee held Moapa Valley to 26 points, and in the state championship game, they held a Fernley team that went undefeated this season in league play and averaged 58.5 points to a poor performance from the field and 42 points. The defeat snapped a 16-game winning streak for Fernley.

“We have great defenders on our team and so we’ve been able to thrive and shut down the best players. That’s how we’ve won,” said senior captain Emily Monson.

Truckee allowed Fernley’s leading scorer, sophomore Willow Jacobson, 12 points in the first half, but kept her scoreless in the second half.

“We took all of the pressure in the stadium and we thrived from it,” added Monson. “We love the energy and we played our game.”

Monson, Friedman, and team manager Taylor Betonte represented the only seniors on this year’s Truckee team.

“As a team, we’ve counted on each other and we’ve succeeded, and we truly have gone down in history,” said Monson.

“Playing at Lawlor, I’ll remember for the rest of my life. Playing with this team, I’ll remember for the rest of my life.”

Justin Scacco is a reporter for the Sierra Sun. Contact him at jscacco@sierrasun.com or 530-550-2643.

Triple gold: North Tahoe’s Trent Carter, Truckee’s Amber Hansford sweep alpine state championships

Individual and team state championships were on the line the last two days at Alpine Meadows, bringing the area’s top high school alpine skiers to the slopes for rounds of giant slalom and slalom.

North Tahoe senior Trent Carter and Truckee freshman Amber Hansford walked away champions of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Tahoe Basin Ski League, achieving the rare feat of claiming triple gold by winning giant slalom, slalom, and combined.

Carter won Wednesday’s giant slalom by more than a second, topping teammate Luke Buchanan and Truckee’s Tyler Lamperti.

“Just pinning it to win it,” said Carter on throwing down the day’s fastest combined time on the course off of Alpine Meadows’ Yellow lift. “Full send. I’m really stoked.”

Racing then shifted to slalom the next day, and again Carter couldn’t be caught, posting a combined time of 1:21.04 to claim the slalom title by nearly 2 seconds. The result also gave the Lakers senior the combined state championship.

From there, skiers from North Tahoe posted the next five fastest times to claim the team title. Toby Gajar (1:23.15) was second, Oliver Fralick (1:24.56) was third, Luke Buchanan (1:25.61) was fourth, Jackson Sanford (1:25.90) was fifth, and Rhett Lindsey (1:27.52) was sixth. The Lakers also had Norm Kitching (1:34.95) in eighth and Bodie Hudson (1:37.53) in 10th as part of posting eight of the 10 fastest combined times.

As a team the Lakers have now won four straight slalom titles, five straight giant slalom titles, and four straight combined titles.

On the girls’ side, Truckee’s Hansford followed up her win in giant slalom on Wednesday by racing to a slalom state championship the following day. Hansford put down the fastest first run of the day and second fastest final run to finish with a total time of 1:23.92. The win also gave the Truckee freshman the combined state title.

Incline’s Rose Heffren (1:24.61) was second, followed by North Tahoe’s Kacey Benjaminson (1:24.84) in third place.

The Wolverines also had Kate Kelly (1:24.90) take fourth, Audrey Rawson (1:26.98) take eight, and Haley Flaherty (1:30.13) take 10th to edge North Tahoe by two points for the team title in what turned out to be one of the closest girls’ state championships in decades.

“In my 29 years of coaching high school ski racing I have never seen a closer state championship competition,” said Truckee Coach Pat Mooney in an email. “The girls overcame an incredibly strong North Tahoe team today to win the slalom state championship.”

The result also gave the Wolverines the combined team title. Truckee and North Tahoe tied for the giant slalom team championship.

The Lakers other top slalom racers included, Paige McGarry (1:25.76) in sixth place, Aliza Neu (1:26.28) in seventh place, and Taylor Brook (1:28.84) in ninth place.