Athlete of the Year | Orlady packed big athletic punch |

Athlete of the Year | Orlady packed big athletic punch

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Combine scrappiness and athleticism in a small package and you have the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza’s Female Athlete of the Year from Incline High School — Katie Orlady.

“She’s spunky. She’s a little firecracker out there,” said Incline volleyball coach Tacy Kelly. “She’s always happy, and she’s just a really good kid. She comes from good people. She’s very enjoyable to coach. I will definitely miss Katie next year and her enthusiasm.”

Orlady was a standout two-sport athlete throughout her four-year Incline career, impressing Kelly and Incline softball coach Kelley Thompson from a young age.

Back then, she was always the youngster playing among older teammates. This past year, however, Orlady found herself as the elder statesman of both her volleyball and softball teams. In fact, she was the only senior on both teams. And she embraced the role.

“She was great. She was really good with the younger girls, especially the ones who had never played before,” said Thompson, who started Orlady in the outfield as a freshman before moving her to catcher, where she remained her sophomore through senior seasons.

Orlady was a natural on the diamond. The speedy leadoff hitter could hit for average and power — she hit .358 with two home runs her senior year — while also holding down the catcher position with toughness and talent. And, as any coach or teammate will attest, she was fun to be around.

“Katie was a blast,” Thompson said, adding that she also knew how to get down to business when needed. “She’s hilarious. She’s such a character, but she also works really hard. She’s very hard on herself, and she’s always striving to do her best.”

She was voted to the All-League first team this past season and received honorable mention recognition as a junior and sophomore.

On the volleyball court, Orlady had the perfect amount of scrap, quick-reflex skills and leadership ability to handle the libero position.

“I had a really good experience coaching Katie,” Kelly said. “She’s very determined, and she always gives 100 percent. She’s very dedicated and she likes challenges.”

Orlady finished with 129 digs on the season.

“Whatever she needed to work on to improve, she did that. She always tried to lead as example: ‘I’m the only senior, but I’m working harder than you guys. You should be working just as hard as I am.’ She was committed. She’s just an all-around strong-willed kid.”

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