Prep athlete state standouts
Several Truckee High athletes were named to the Nevada 3A All-State teams. For football, boys soccer and girls soccer, the players were voted on by the coaches themselves.
Girls soccer standout Kelsey Fisher stood out enough to earn NIAA 3A Most Valuable Player of the Year honors. Did she surprise anyone?
“No,’ said coach Kyle Adams. “The young lady has a lot of talent, a lot of drive, she pushes herself all the time to do her best every time she’s on the field. She’s a lot of fun to watch.”
Fisher beat out North Tahoe’s forward Addie Boyd, who settled for the Offensive Player of the Year honors.
For football, quarterback Kevin Schlesinger was given Offensive Player of the Year honors and his name on the First Team All-State list as well. Aldo Serna made First Team Defense as a linebacker and Jason Ames did as a defensive end. RJ Ballou and Mike Acuff both made Second Team Offense as wide receiver and tight end, respectively. Rafa Herrera made it as a defensive lineman, James Ward as a safety and Schlesinger again as a punter.
Schlesinger developed a taste for sports early in life, very early, that helped to contribute to the highest offensive award in 3A football.
“When Kevin was probably eight months old, he would wander the sidelines of his brother’s soccer game, kicking a ball,” Mark Schlesinger, Kevin’s dad, said. “The light went on that just set a ball in front of him, any ball, and he can go at it.”
The dad spent a lot of time at their Glenshire home with his kids playing all kinds of sports.
Schlesinger didn’t play football until seventh grade. He skipped his eighth grade year with Pop Warner but played his freshman year on the high school jayvee squad. It was discovered the kid could throw so he became the quarterback.
The award has put a gleam in father Schlesinger’s eye, like only your kids can.
“If he wasn’t my son, I’d still think it was pretty cool,” he said.
Schlesinger hasn’t committed to any college yet, assuming he will even play college football.
“You have to want to do it,” the elder said.
Girls soccer had the most notable presence, with four on the first team, five second team members and Adams was Coach of the Year. When he arrived for the coach’s voting for the girls soccer All-State teams in late November, he wasn’t expecting to be given the highest coaching honor.
“I didn’t know anything about that,” he said. “When I showed up to the meeting, I thought we were just picking kids for State.”
The rest of the coaches gave the rookie varsity coach that coached his team to repeat as state champs the nod. But for Adams, having nine players make the All-State list was better.
“That’s even a nicer honor. It shows that you went that extra step,” he said. “It’s a nice little nomination for the girls, they can put that on their resumes.”
Coach of the Year is more of a bragging right.
“It’s something to talk about at parties,” he said. “It’s a little feather in your cap.”
One of the biggest challenges walking into a program with four state titles in the past six years was gaining the players’ respect.
“Selling them on my abilities and the way I wanted to see things done. Once they bought into that, it was fine. That took awhile,” Adams said. “We had to step it up and take it more seriously to get where we wanted.”
For the boys soccer team, Miguel Tafolla and Kyle Kelly both made First Team All-State and Rueben Martinez made the Second Team.
“I was glad to see Miguel make it,” boys soccer coach Rob Curtis said. “He’s a hard worker. He was the guy we could turn to when we needed it.”
Tafolla led the team with 19 goals plus eight assists. Fellow senior Kelly received the same honor for his midfield work.
“I’ve coached Kyle for a long time,” Curtis said. “I think he’s one of the kids that goes on half talent and half effort. He runs at 110% all the time. You get one of those kids every few years.”
Kelly was known for controlling the tempo of games and distributed the ball well.
“He’s one of the kids that get noticed first by the other teams,” Curtis said.
Martinez played football last year on the freshman squad and made the varsity soccer team as a sophomore and with a leg recovering from ACL surgery.
“A sophomore makes (Second) Team All-State and All-Conference speaks for itself,” Curtis said. “Fearless is the word I would use for him. He could just turn the momentum of a game around.”
Some of Martinez’s best attributes were his athleticism and his maturity.
“He’s one of those guys that could play any sport well,” Curtis said. “He behaves in an adult fashion that can, without saying anything, make a point. It’s something kids can’t do. Rueben can.”
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As seniors from North Tahoe collected diplomas this week, a group of Lakers continued another local tradition — capturing first place at the boys’ regional golf championship.