For Wolverines, a year to cheer
Settle in and grab some popcorn and a drink, because the highlight reel for the 2001 high school sports seasons isn’t a short one.
The past year saw no less than four team state titles (football, boys’ and girls’ soccer, Nordic skiing) and numerous individual accomplishments (Elias Silver’s state title in the 800 meter, Lindsay Borghello’s second-place finish in the state tennis tournament).
But the success of the past year was not determined by titles alone.
Several teams that struggled early, like the Wolverine softball and volleyball teams, steadily improved throughout the season and earned themselves playoff berths.
And for those who struggled all season, remember the famous baseball mantra: “There is always next year.”
The Truckee High School Nordic Skiing team captured the state championship D again.
For the seventh time in eight seasons, Nancy Gordon’s team was second to no one.
After taking first as a team and compiling 22 individual medals at the California Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation Nordic State Championships on Feb. 10, Gordon couldn’t contain her enthusiasm.
“Being first is sweet. Sweeter still is returning the state and All-League championship trophies to Truckee after an awesome season,” she said.
The team was also named All-League Champions, and Kara LaPoint and Nick Sterling were named All-League Individual Champions.
Both the boys’ and girls’ Nordic teams are off to strong starts again this year. Both took first place at the Dec. 19 Skate Sprint Relay at Kirkwood.
They came close to bragging rights for the entire Lake Tahoe region. But for the second year in a row, after an intense season, the alpine Wolverines had to settle for third in the Tahoe Basin Ski League, behind rivals North Tahoe and South Tahoe.
While the team as a whole came up just short, Stacey Cook and Mike Thomas received the leagues’ most valuable skier award. Gary Cook was also named all-league.
The bright lights of Las Vegas were not the only thing shining for one weekend in February.
James Curtis won the state title for the 171-pound weight class 14-0 over Nicholas Shephard of ROP. In beating Shephard for the title, Curtis avenged a loss two weeks prior.
After a season of highs and lows, the girls’ team finished the regular season with a 50-33 win against rival North Tahoe High School in Tahoe City on Feb. 10. The seventh-ranked Lady Wolverines then faced a solid Yerington team in the league playoffs, losing 56-37 to the Lions.
The Lady Wolverines were led by defensive diva Heather Shove, who dominated play in the paint throughout the season.
The Lady Wolverines are currently 4-2 for the 2001/2002 season.
A young boys’ team paid their dues throughout the 2000/2001 season. They struggled from the opening tip to the final buzzer, but lost only one starter to graduation.
Their leading scorer, David Larson, is back, along with forward J.R. Murphy and guard Jarrad Gifford.
The 2001 Wolverines have already won their first league game against ROP, and are currently 1-4.
Truckee sent the largest contingent of tracksters to the Nevada 3A State Finals in recent history. Coach Rich Silver took 20 Wolverines with him to Las Vegas.
At the meet, Elias Silver was golden, winning the state championship in the 800-meter race.
The defending state champion 4×400 meter relay team of Silver, Casey Nelson, Evan Birchard and Danny Shannon took the bronze, behind Moapa Valley and ROP.
With 27 teams competing, the girls’ team would finish the season with an eighth-place finish at the state championships, while the boys finished 19th.
Leslie and Wesley Ajari were named Swimmers of the Year for their dominating seasons in the pool.
Leslie Ajari took home gold in the 100-meter breaststroke at States and was recognized by Swimming World magazine as one of the country’s best young swimmers.
A fifth-place finish at the state championship was disappointing for a team that had high expectations.
Still, Coach Jeff Froelich said his team’s performance was impressive considering the Wolverines were unable to practice until Feb. 27.
“I am very pleased with the season. It is a challenge for us [to play] against teams that can play year-round when we are limited by weather up here,” Froelich said afterward.
Baseball and Softball
Both teams struggled out of the gate, but late season rallies had the coaching staffs of both the girls’ softball and boys’ baseball teams pleased with the improvements that had been made.
“If we could watch a video of how we were playing at the beginning of the season and compare it to how we played Lowry, it would show how far we have come,” said Wolverine varsity softball coach Jack Howard after his team’s loss to Lowry in the first round of the playoffs.
Heather Shove led the Wolverines in just about every category. She had a .458 batting average and a 1.0 earned run average. Vanessa Ramirez batted .409 and Jessie Turner a clean .400.
Immediately after finishing a 13-17 (5-12) regular season, Wolverine baseball coach Jason Estabrook echoed one of baseball’s most familiar themes D just wait ’til next year.
The team struggled early, but by the end of the season their play had Coach Estabrook eager for the next campaign.
“The team is understanding what it takes to win and I am definitely looking forward to next year,” he said.
Gary Cook led the Wolverines at the plate with a .353 average, while T.J. Dwyer and Paul Smith were all-league honorable mention.
Of course, still fresh in everybody’s mind is a triple-play of state titles brought home by Wolverine teams this fall.
In his most unassuming tone, Truckee High School Athletic Director Bob Schaffer assessed the 2001 fall seasons for the Wolverines.
“We were very successful in fall sports,” he said.
Very successful indeed.
Schaffer is also the head coach of the varsity football team, one of three teams to bring home Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Division 3A state titles this fall.
The boys’ and girls’ varsity soccer teams also crowned themselves state champions on the same Saturday afternoon in Yerington in November.
With numerous injuries to their offensive line throughout the year, Schaffer said this year’s team was defined by one word D unselfishness.
“We did as well as we did because kids were willing to give up personal stats for the betterment of the team. You can’t ask kids to go from wide receiver to left tackle and not expect a drop. But we overcame that,” Schaffer said. “We won because of that collective effort by all the kids EThis was one of those teams that I will always cherish and will often refer to.”
Even after winning the Northern Nevada 3A league title, the Wolverines were ranked third by Nevada sportswriters heading into the playoffs.
Unfazed, they marched through the playoffs, beating both teams ranked ahead of them, perennial rival Spring Creek and the class of Southern Nevada, Moapa Valley.
Boys’ and Girls’ Soccer
Both squads dominated the regular season.
In the playoffs, the boys’ team would avenge one of their regular season losses by beating the Incline Highlanders. Over three games, the teams were 1-1-1 against each other.
In the semi-finals, Truckee won the season series against the Highlanders and propelled themselves into the state final with a 2-1 victory. Antuan Cannon scored both of the Wolverines goals, including the game winner in the second half. The next day, the Wolverines would seal the deal with a 1-0 win over Pahrump. Cannon scored the game’s only goal.
The girls’ team also survived a nailbiter in the semis, beating rival North Tahoe 2-1, thanks to a second half goal by Stacy Cook.
The next day, after goals by Kristine Trudeau, Kristine Bena and Cook against Spring Creek, the Lady Wolverines were the toast of Nevada 3A soccer.
Even after being crowned state champs, the Lady Wolverines would receive one more award.
In addition to their on-field accomplishments, the team defined the term student-athlete: they had the highest combined grade point average of any team in the 3A Division and were also awarded the Nevada 3A Academic State Champions.
After struggling for much of the regular season and finishing in sixth place in league, the Lady Wolverines stunned a solid Spring Creek team in the Northern League playoffs before beating the Dayton Dust Devils in what head coach Maggie Shane called the “upset of the year.”
Those wins earned Truckee a spot in the state playoffs in Las Vegas.
Despite an early exit after facing 11-time state champ Moapa Valley in the first round, just getting to the tournament was representative of the Lady Wolverines’ resolve.
“I have said all season that they had the talent, it just needed to meld together. We used great teamwork to achieve what many people thought was impossible,” Shane said afterward.
Despite an early exit from the NIAA 4A Northern Championships by the team, one singles player would go deep into the tournament.
Lindsay Borghello, undefeated during the regular season, cruised through the early rounds and the quarterfinals, before battling Reno High School’s #1 seed, Stephanie Baez in a semifinal match. Borghello won 6-2, 4-6, 6-4 to advance to the regional final.
Later that day, Borghello lost to Galena’s Francie Weber, 6-0, 6-1, and finished the season second in Nevada 4A play.
The boys’ cross country team, led by two top 10 times, took third at the State Championships in Reno on Nov. 10.
Andrew Van Blaragan led the Truckee with an eighth place finish, while Iran Manzano was only seconds behind and finished ninth.
The team finished just a few points shy of state champ Lowry and runner-up Spring Creek.
The girls’ team didn’t qualify for the State Championships after they finished fifth at the Regionals, but several of the team’s fastest runners did qualify on an individual basis.
Betsy Van Blaragan earned the honor of the sixth fastest female in the state of Nevada.
To all those listed above and those who participated but are not mentioned, congratulations for an outstanding year!
And remember, “Things won are done; But joy’s soul lies in the doing,” D William Shakespeare.