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North Tahoe’s bid to play in Class 3A denied

Freshman Niki Johnson runs to a first place finish at the Class 2A Northern Region cross-country championships.
Justin Scacco / jscacco@sierrasun.com

North Tahoe High School’s bid to move to from Class 2A up to Class 3A for all sports except football was denied this week by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.

North Tahoe Athletic Director Jessi Page gave a presentation to the realignment committee on Tuesday, and said getting to and from games is among the biggest issues facing the school’s athletic programs.

“Transportation, that is a really big issue for our school and our district,” she said.



Page outlined a severe bus driver shortage facing the Tahoe Truckee Unified School District, stating the school has been forced to find other means of transportation like renting vans or in some instances have had to cancel games and weekend trips due to a lack of drivers.

“These weekend trips are not possible to be fulfilled by charter companies and by the school district,” said Page. “There are just not drivers and there are not buses.”



North Tahoe teams regularly travel to play teams in eastern Nevada like Ely and West Wendover. These trips are typically overnight with a game Friday and another Saturday. Page said due to a lack of drivers, the school has in some cases had to move those games to the middle of the week, taking students out of the classroom.

Tahoe Truckee Unified School District Director of Transportation Nanette Rondeau lent her support to North Tahoe moving up to Class 3A, calling the district’s shortage of bus drivers “extreme.” Currently the district has 11 bus driver vacancies.

“We do not have enough drivers to support the current athletic schedule,” said Rondeau in a letter to the realignment committee. “In addition to the driver shortage, we are extremely challenged to accommodate the travel distance.”

A move to Class 3A would still come with long trips against programs like Spring Creek and Elko, but would significantly reduce the amount of time spent on the road by North Tahoe student athletes.

Class 3A Liaison Ray Parks said he polled the 12 schools within the Northern Class 3A and 10 of them were against North Tahoe moving up due to an increased amount of travel for schools already in the league along with questions on whether a move would “enhance our league,” said Parks. Another obstacle facing North Tahoe is a cap of 12 teams on most sports within the Class 3A Northern League.

Additionally, North Tahoe, which has a student population that would put the school in Class 3A, petitioned to remain in Class 2A last spring. Page said the bus driver shortage is the reason the school now desires to be in Class 3A.

North Tahoe currently competes at the Class 3A level or above in skiing, tennis, and swimming. The Lakers will compete in Class 3A soccer next season following the disbanding of Class 2A soccer.

The realignment committee also denied a similar request by Incline High School to move from Class 2A to Class 3A, with the exception of football.

Incline Principal Tierney Cahill outlined several reasons during Tuesday’s meeting to justify a move from Class 2A to Class 3A.

“We hope that everyone will think of what’s best for students,” said Cahill during the meeting. “We always say that, and that is truly why I’m here … because of my concern for the impact of being in the 2A on our students academically.”

Cahill added that Incline is the only school in the Washoe County School District that has to regularly travel across the state to play league opponents and that a move to Class 3A would significantly reduce the amount of hours spent on the road by student athletes. Incline students regularly travel to play teams in eastern Nevada like Ely and West Wendover.

Cahill said the travel time impacts student athletes in the classroom. Of the school’s 328 students, 70% play sports and all students are enrolled in at least one Advanced Placement Course. She added that up 45% of the student population is out of the classroom on Fridays for athletic travel.

Additionally, Cahill said playing in Class 3A would offer an increased number of officials for contests. Financially, Cahill stated she believes Incline to be the most expensive school in the district in terms of travel costs, which also include overnight expenses for weekend games on the other side of the state. Another issue brought up was a shortage of bus drivers.

The school will compete in Class 3A soccer after the disbanding of the Class 2A division. Incline also already competes in Class 3A or above in swimming, tennis, and skiing.

“We believe that we can compete at the 3A level across the board,” said Cahill.

The one exception is football, which the school wished to keep at a Class 2A level.

Parks said he polled the 12 schools within the Northern Class 3A and 11 of them were against Incline moving up.

Ultimately, Incline was denied its appeal to move from Class 2A to Class 3A.

Class 3A will remain mostly the same as Reno-area schools Wooster, North Valleys, Hug, and Sparks were given the OK to remain in classification. The exception is Hug, which will move its football team and girls’ soccer team up to the 5A/4A level. The boys’ team already plays at the Class 5A level.


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