Three Laker girls honored as Sierra Sun’s Athletes of the Year

Sylas Wright
Sierra Sun
Sun File PhotoChristina Lane made the All-League first team in soccer as a fullback. She also was among the Lakers' top Alpine skiers and softball players.

With a senior class as athletic across the board as the 2008-’09 Laker girls, settling comfortably on just one Athlete of the Year simply was not happening.

So a compromise was made. And in no way was it made to cheapen the honor.

For their athletic prowess and individual achievements in two sports or more their senior years, Christina Lane, Kelly Hester and Sage Clark (in no particular order) are the Sierra Sun’s female Athletes of the Year from North Tahoe.

Here’s why.

A three-sport athlete throughout high school, Lane peaked her senior year in all three ” soccer, Alpine skiing and softball.

“Christina is awesome,” said Scott Everist, head coach of the Lakers’ Alpine ski team. “She’s been a varsity skier for us from the get-go. She’s very busy, playing three sports, and even with her busy schedule she was always at practice and always very determined.

“She always wanted another run at the gates and to go harder. We’re going to miss her very much.”

A regular top-15 finisher in the competitive Tahoe Basin Ski League, Lane finished 10th in slalom at the state championship and 11th in the giant slalom to help lead the Laker girls to a runner-up finish.

Defense was the name of Lane’s game in soccer, as the senior co-captain was voted by coaches to the Northern 3A All-League first team as a fullback, and received All-State honorable mention recognition.

In softball, Lane recently wrapped up a monster season. The fact that the Lakers’ co-captain, starting pitcher and shortstop, and cleanup hitter was not voted to the Northern 2A All-League first team borders on absurd. Although her skipper argued with the other league coaches to place her on the first team, he was outvoted, and Lane instead was placed on the second team.

Regardless, her stats speak for themselves. Lane led the league with a .569 batting average and a .690 on-base percentage, ranked third in slugging percentage, at a hefty .804, and was third in RBIs, with 31. She was clutch, too, evidenced when she pitched the Lakers past Incline in a one-game tiebreaker for the final playoff seed.

Hester played only two sports, but she sure played them well.

Proving her standout skills against 2A competition are no fluke, the Lakers’ point guard held her own last week in the Fallon Optimist All-Star basketball game, posting six points, six rebounds, five assists and one steal against the top 4A and 3A players in Northern Nevada.

Against the Northern 2A Hester was lights out. She was voted co-MVP after averaging 13.6 points per game, 4.8 assists, 5.8 rebounds and 4.2 steals. She recorded her 800th varsity point during the Lakers’ final regular-season game.

“Kelly is one of the best driving point guards I’ve ever seen,” said North Tahoe basketball coach Scott Conn, adding that Hester is considering walking on to the team at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo this next year.

“She’s the quarterback on the court,” Conn continued. “If Kelly has a great game, she lifts others up with her. If she’s struggling, she recognizes that and gets her teammates involved.”

Besides her unselfishness and leadership, Conn said Hester has an uncanny ability to see the court, while her quickness and defensive capabilities set her apart from other point guards in the league.

In her other sport, volleyball, Hester helped lead North Tahoe to the 2A state championship tournament her junior and senior years.

A setter with “lightning-fast reflexes,” said Lakers head coach Tom LeFevers, Hester was voted to the All-State and All-League first team.

“She’s a coachable player,” LeFevers said. “She always pays attention, always tries her best. She’s very competitive, and she’s a positive role model ” pretty much the perfect athlete.”

Another three-sport athlete, Clark excelled in soccer, Nordic skiing and track and field her senior year.

“She’s a hard worker that cares a lot about her team,” said Courtney Firth, head coach of the North Tahoe girls soccer team. “She’s really easily coachable. She’s just a great person with a bright future ahead of her.”

While Clark was a true team player ” she was a key member of the 2007 state runner-up squad and played a huge role on 2008 playoff team ” the co-captain boasted deft skills individually as the Lakers’ standout forward and co-captain.

As such, coaches voted her to the Northern 3A All-League first team. She also earned All-League honors her junior season.

In the winter, Clark was the top female athlete on the Lakers’ varsity Nordic team, finishing sixth overall in the league and in the top 10 in every race. She also was the fastest high school downhill Nordic skier on the West Coast, said North Tahoe Athletic Director Joanne Mathis.

Most recently, Clark took second at the 2A state track and field championship as part of the 4×200 relay team, and was fifth on the 4×100 relay team.

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