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Truckees top Wolverines

Sun file photoSenior Danny Kruck is the Sierra Sun's male Athlete of the Year from Truckee High School. Kruck was MVP of his tennis, Alpine ski and golf teams.
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Narrowing down the quality crop of Truckee High athletes to the top two was no simple undertaking.To tackle the task, certain criteria had to be considered.Did he or she have an impact in multiple sports? Did the athlete lead by example, post impressive stats, win and lose with equal class, garner any awards?Names sprung to mind. Plenty of them.But in the end, after much deliberation, two were settled upon: Danny Kruck and Kelly Stephens.For best meeting the above criteria, the two are the Sierra Suns Athletes of the Year from Truckee High School.

I dont think theres any question (that Kruck is most athletic), Jeff Froelich, Truckees head golf coach, said. Hes an accomplished tennis player, skier and golfer. Hes so deserving of that award.Kruck excelled in each of his three sports, earning team MVP honors in tennis this past fall, Alpine skiing in the winter and golf, which culminated with the state championship on May 14-15.Truckees most consistent golfer, Kruck posted the Wolverines only top-10 individual finish in the state tournament, placing eighth out of 38 golfers. The senior also led his team in scoring with a season average of 79.Although the Northern 3A all-league squads have yet to be released, Froelich believes Kruck will be honored on either the first or second team.Consistency was Krucks strength in Alpine skiing, as well, as he regularly placed in the top 10. He also helped lead the Truckee boys to runner-up finishes in both slalom and giant slalom in the state championship, placing seventh and 16th, respectively.Hes an outstanding skier, said Pat Mooney, co-head coach of the Truckee High ski team. He works hard on his skiing and to improve and sharpen his skills.Hes an excellent leader and a great team captain, he took care of a lot of business for the coaches and he set a good example for other racers.Krucks not bad on a tennis court, either.He was just the best we had, Truckee tennis coach Jim Jackson said of his team MVP. He has a good stroke, and hes always motivated to do better.Said Froelich: Hes just an all-around nice kid. Hes a good person.

Stephens is a standout athlete in both sports of specialty, with four years of varsity softball experience and three years of varsity basketball.She plans to play each sport at College of the Siskiyous (Weed, Calif.) in the fall.A swift-footed point guard and dogged defender, Stephens earned first team all-state and first team all-league honors her senior year. She averaged 12 points a game, four rebounds, three steals and 4.5 assists.Last week Stephens starred in the annual Fallon Optimist All-Star Basketball Classic, leading her team to victory with a game-high 16 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter. She was the only player on her team from the 3A; all others played for 4A schools.On the diamond, Stephens is as solid as they come at shortstop, said Truckee head coach Mitch Brown. She was a big part of our team, Brown said. Without Kelly at shortstop the last few years, a lot of balls would have gotten by most girls at that position. She covers a lot of ground.The senior proved dangerous on offense, too, finishing this past season with a .341 average, a slugging percentage of .481 and a team-high 23 stolen bases. And there was no slacking off when it came to work ethic.There was never any doubt about her being in shape, Brown said. Mentally and physically she was more in shape than most girls Ive seen over the years. She was mentally and physically honed in.Stephens made the second team all-state for the senior season she put together.



Cory Hoehn (football, basketball): Hoehn, at 6-foot-4 and 270 pounds, was the best player on an offensive line that gave the Wolverines a fighting chance in any contest. He earned all-league and all-state recognition for his efforts. In basketball, Hoehn could be a dominating post presence, averaging 12 points per game and 7.5 rebounds.Nikki Panziera (soccer, basketball): Panziera was voted by coaches not as only the most valuable player in the Northern 3A, but the entire state. The sweeper played a huge role in the Wolverines run at a state title, which ended in the championship with a loss to Incline. In basketball, Panziera was an impact post player who could always be found hustling and mixing it up in the paint.Drew Stewart (football, basketball): Despite nagging injuries that kept him out of action much of his senior season, Stewart, a 6-foot, 190-pound fullback, rushed for 314 yards and six touchdowns on 63 carries. The previous year, he rushed for 785 yards and 11 touchdowns on 114 carries while earning all-league and all-state honors. Stewart averaged nine points a game as the sixth man on the Truckee High basketball team, often willing his way to the basket when his offense went stale. It amazed me how he got to the basket whenever he wanted to, Keith Crawford, Truckees head coach last season, said.


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