Aptitude for Athletics | SierraSun.com

Aptitude for Athletics

Chuck Smith/Thin Air PhotographyWolverine receiver Brandon Peterson gives a Live Oak defender a straight-arm during an Oct. 1, 2005 game at Surprise Stadium in Truckee. Peterson finished the game with 184 yards and three touchdowns on nine receptions.

Brandon Peterson is an invaluable team member, a fact he backed-up during his senior year on the football field, basketball court and track.

“First and foremost, he’s a phenomenal athlete,” said Truckee basketball coach Keith Crawford.

Indeed. As a result of the athleticism he displayed and the impact he made on each team, Peterson is the Sierra Nevada male Athlete of the Year from Truckee High School.

“He played a very important role (on the basketball team),” Crawford said. “If Brandon Peterson wasn’t involved in the game, we didn’t have shot at winning. His role was very, very important this past season.”

As a 6-1, 170-pound guard, Peterson averaged seven rebounds and 13.7 points per game. Often times, as any witness could attest, he dazzled crowds in the Truckee High gym with soaring rebounds and body-contorting layups, seemingly defying physics.

“He was tough to defend because he was just physically better than whoever was defending him,” Crawford said. “Physically, he could out-jump everyone on the court. He was a joy to watch when playing the game.”

Peterson may have been more of a joy to watch on the football field, where the split end stacked up 703 yards and nine touchdowns on 31 receptions. That’s an average of 22.7 yards per grab and a touchdown every 3.4 receptions.

“He was opportunistic,” said Truckee football coach Bob Shaffer. “There were a lot of times when he got his hands on the ball and went a long way scoring touchdowns. He’s got real good speed and that good football sense. Once he gets the ball he can see the field.”

The receiver’s play during the season earned him first-team all-league and first-team all-state honors and helped lead the Wolverines to back-to-back 3A state titles.

“He was very instrumental (in winning state),” Shaffer said. “He played a big leadership role.

“He was an all-around player, and he gave 100 percent the whole game. He’s not a one-dimensional player.”

He’s also not slow on his feet.

If that much wasn’t evident during the football and basketball seasons, it certainly became obvious this spring when Peterson joined the track team for the first time in his high school career.

“He found another sport where he’s found great success,” said Truckee track coach Diana Yale. “Track has shown his speed, strength and athleticism.”

As the track season progressed beyond the snow days that confined the team to the school’s gym and hallways, Peterson began showing what he was capable of on the track.

At the Northern Nevada regional championship on May 13, Peterson earned four gold medals ” in the 100, 200, high jump and 4×200 relay (with Austin Lynch, Drew Stewart and Sam Silver).

A week later at the Nevada state championship in Reno, Peterson placed second in the 100 (11.16) and 200 (22.8), fourth in the high jump (6′) and, along with his teammates, first in the 4×200 (1:32.6).

While he represented his team well with those results, Yale was most impressed with the sportsmanship he displayed after his events.

“When he’s beat he shows great respect and admiration to his competitors,” she said, adding that Peterson immediately congratulated and shook hands with the runner from the South who beat him in the 100 and 200.

Sportsmanship aside, “He’s just naturally talented,” Yale said.

Wolverine coaches have little trouble rattling off good qualities about Dani Turner, a senior, three-sport athlete who has been named Sierra Nevada female Athlete of the Year from Truckee High School.

Truckee head softball coach Mitch Brown used “phenomenal” to describe his former first baseman as a player. After all, the southpaw finished the season with a .487 batting average, a 1.013 slugging percentage, 43 RBIs and nine home runs in 26 games.

And she was solid with the glove.

“She’s a great player,” Brown said. “She gave everybody, including us coaches, confidence whenever the ball was hit to her because 98 or 99 percent of the time she caught the ball at first base. She didn’t miss much this year. And if you got one by her as a hitter, you should feel lucky.

“As far as hitting the ball, she’s got the nicest swing as a lefty. When she was on, she hit the ball hard.”

Besides softball ” the sport in which she made first-team all-league and is a likely candidate to make first-team all-state, Brown said ” Turner was an impact player on the Wolverines’ volleyball and basketball teams.

Truckee girls basketball coach Angelo Tenorio called Turner a “tenacious” player on the court.

“She’s tenacious, hard-working and very coachable,” he said. “She’s very passionate about what she’s doing, and she gives it her all for herself and for her teammates.”

Tenorio said his 5-foot-4 guard was a big factor coming off the bench in the Wolverines’ run at the Nevada 3A state championship, which ended in the state semifinal game.

“When you needed to get everyone fired up, she was the spark plug for the team,” Tenorio said. “She did a great job for us coming off the bench, and was a big reason we went as far as we did.”

While Turner was capable of handling the ball and scoring, her main strength was “her defense, by far,” Tenorio said. “She’s a great defender. We could put her on someone we wanted to slow down.”

And in volleyball, according to Truckee head coach Maggie Shane, Turner was one of the best setters in the Northern 3A. Described by Shane as “very competitive,” Turner made all-league honorable mention at the position.

“Dani was one of our most valuable players and definitely our best setter,” Shane said. “She was consistent and focused and worked very hard to keep the team together. She was a motivated senior who pushed the team to succeed.”

And like Tenorio said: “She’s just a good all-around kid.”

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