Athlete of the Year | Clouthier’s body of work topped all
Jack Clouthier — at 5-foot-10 and 160 pounds — was not the most physically imposing athlete among Incline’s talented senior class.
But as his coaches, teammates and opponents learned over the past four years, his athletic ability and heart were not to be underestimated.
Clouthier earned the maximum 12 varsity letters during his high school career in football, basketball and baseball. He was a pillar of consistency on each of his respective teams and worked tirelessly to perfect his crafts. The results were evident in his many accolades, both on the field and court as well as the classroom.
Considering his collective body of work, Clouthier was selected as the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza’s male Athlete of the Year from Incline High School.
“He’s just a phenomenal athlete. There are so many things about him that I am impressed with,” said Scott Conn, head coach of the Incline football team. “He was a tremendous teammate, a good captain and a great leader. He was always willing to take the team on his shoulders and do everything possible to help each and every person on the team get a piece of the credit.”
Like any standout athlete on a small-school football team, Clouthier was a constant presence on the field, playing offense, defense and special teams for the Highlanders.
He was backup quarterback as an underclassman and moved into the starting role his junior season, which was cut short by injury. He made up for the lost field time his senior year, when he helped lead Incline to a playoff berth and threw for 1,176 yards and 14 touchdowns. He rushed for another 467 yards and was voted by coaches to the All-League first team at quarterback.
“Jack had the ability to avoid the rush and make something out of nothing, and he had a tremendous ability to throw the long ball on target,” Conn said. “His football intelligence was awesome. He’s the first quarterback in my tenure that I allowed free reign to change the plays at the line if he saw something. He could audible at any time.”
Clouthier was also a solid defensive back on defense, coming up with 43 tackles and four interceptions his senior year. He was voted to the All-League second team at safety.
“He was a tenacious hitter. For his size, he could really bring a wallop,” Conn said of Clouthier’s defensive prowess. “He was resilient, too. He truly was an ironman. Even when he got popped, he let the cobwebs clear, rubbed some dirt on the sore spot and would jump right back in there.”
Conn added that Clouthier soaked up coaching tips without ego and was as respectful as any player he’s coached.
“People would try to get into a jawing match with him, talking trash to him on the field. He would just smile and walk away,” Conn said.
Tim Kelly, head coach of the Incline basketball team, was glad to see his sharp-shooting guard come out of football season unscathed. Days after the season ended, Clouthier was already in the gym, working to improve his game — and his team.
“He was our rock over the past three years,” Kelly said. “He was a major constance. Every day he was going to show up, and every day he was going to compete.”
Clouthier was an impact player on the court each of the last three years.
On a team that was limited by injury and ineligibility his sophomore year, Clouthier stepped up and helped carry the Highlanders to the postseason. He hit countless clutch shots, including a couple of buzzer-beating game winners. He was voted league MVP.
“I would call him the most courageous shooter I’ve ever had,” Kelly said. “He never saw a shot that he didn’t feel was going in. He always wanted the ball in his hands.”
With a stacked team at full health to start the 2013-14 season, Clouthier came off the bench as Incline’s sixth man.
The reigning MVP accepted his role without a gripe and proceeded to help his team the best way he knew how — by draining shots at a high percentage. That Incline team played into the Division III state championships before falling to Southern Nevada power Agassi Prep in the title game. Clouthier was voted to the All-League second team.
Clouthier was again voted to the All-League second team as a senior, when he averaged better than 10 points a game and stood out as one of the league’s most dangerous 3-point shooters. The Highlanders played into the state championship tournament but lost to Agassi Prep in the semifinal round. Clouthier connected on five 3-pointers in that game and finished with a team-high 26 points.
“He played his role to perfection as a senior,” Kelly said. “He did so many great things. He loved big games and loved competing. He just had so much pride in Incline sports.”
As soon as basketball ended, Clouthier could be found hacking away in the batting cage, preparing for his final season with the Highlanders in perhaps his strongest sport. He could not have wrapped up his high school career in more ideal fashion.
As Incline’s No. 1 pitcher, shortstop and leadoff hitter, Clouthier earned both All-League and All-State MVP honors while helping lead Incline to its first baseball state title since 1975. The Highlanders finished 22-6 overall.
It wouldn’t have happened without the contributions of Clouthier, who posted a .584 average and a 1.025 slugging percentage, with three home runs, nine triples and seven doubles in 77 at-bats. He stole 29 bases in 30 attempts, and went 8-2 on the mound with 91 strikeouts and 19 walks in 57.2 innings.
He’ll head down to Rocklin in the fall to play baseball for Sierra College.
“He is the best overall athlete at Incline High,” Kelly said. “But he has such humility. He could walk around saying, ‘I am the best athlete in Incline Village; I am the quarterback and off guard and shortstop.’ But you just don’t know that unless you come to games, because he doesn’t walk around like that.”
Clouthier also was honored by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) as one of its Top Ten Student-Athletes of the Year.
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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.