4A schools will play Wolverines; just wait 3 years
While the Tahoe-Truckee High School girls’ varsity soccer team was preparing for its league season by playing one of the top 4A soccer schools in Nevada, Douglas, at home last weekend, the Wolverine football squad was facing off with 3A doormat Hawthorne – hardly a worthy challenge for the defending state champions who need to prepare for upcoming league games against the likes of Fernley and Battle Mountain.
So when will Wolverine fans get to see some 4A schools come to Truckee and give the Wolverines a real pre-league challenge?
Don’t hold your breath.
“It would be great to have a 4A school come to Truckee and play,” said TTHS principal Dennis LeBlanc. “But 4A schools don’t want to play us.”
“A 4A school really gains nothing by playing Truckee – if they win, they say ‘we should have beat them because they’re a 3A school,’ but if we win, we’ve ruined their season, because they’ve lost to a 3A school,” he said.
Wolverine coach Bob Shaffer said the large-school leagues in both Reno and Sacramento have become so large that few teams have an available date for a game with a smaller school.
“The leagues have become so big that they don’t have open dates for any games against a non-traditional opponent,” Shaffer said. “It’s hard to break into their schedules.”
Truckee did play Reno High School twice in recent years, losing 28-6 and 56-28. When a new coach took over for the Huskies, however, the series ended.
“They didn’t want to continue playing us,” LeBlanc said.
So if 4A schools won’t play Truckee, what about some pre-league games with the top 3A teams in the state?
“We were going to play White Pine, but they wanted to play on the same Friday as our scrimmage with Lassen and Live Oak,” LeBlanc said. “That would leave us with a bye during our fourth week, which is something I didn’t want to do with the league season beginning the next week.”
So what’s the answer? For the time-being, Hawthorne has been mercifully replaced on the Wolverines’ schedule next season by Bishop Manogue, which reached the 3A state playoffs last season.
Down the road, it does appear that the Reno 4A schools will be coming to Truckee – if current enrollment trends continue, LeBlanc said there’s a good chance that Truckee will be a designated a 4A school when the NIAA realigns in three years.
Until then, if you want to see some good competition between Truckee and a 4A school, you’re going to have to walk over to the girls’ soccer game.
Erick Studenicka is the sportswriter for the Sierra Sun.
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Students from North Tahoe and Truckee recently made the trip to Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley to compete in the annual Kays Ostrom Invitational.