The term student-athlete is a term that shouldn't always be used. But Kyle Bacon and Liz Rankl are truly student-athletes.
Both succeeded in and out of the classroom, which is a big reason why the two have been selected as the Nevada Appeal's Carson High Senior Male and Female Athletes of the Year.
For the first time, sportswriters from Sierra Nevada newspapers are recognizing senior male and female athletes of the year. Along with the Appeal, the Record-Courier, the Lahontan Valley News in Fallon, the Tahoe Daily Tribune, the Tahoe World, the North Tahoe Bonanza and the Sierra Sun in Truckee are honoring senior male and female athletes of the year for the schools that they cover on a regular basis. Many of those athletes are featured on B2 in today's sports section.
Out of all of the athletes that the Sierra Nevada newspapers are honoring, one male and one female will be honored as the Sierra Nevada Athletes of the Year. Those two athletes will be featured in the Nevada Appeal on June 14.
Bacon was a three-sport star for Carson in his senior year. He was the starting quarterback for the football team, having an excellent year that was recognized by being selected to play in the Sertoma All-Star Game. He was also an all-Sierra League second team choice in basketball this past season.
He played golf as well and was a member of this past spring's team that took third in the Northern 4A.
Bacon, who carries a 3.7 grade point average, will attend the University of Nevada. While he's still considering his future plans one possibility is to study criminal law and eventually attend law school.
His senior project was a fund-raiser involving a drawing for a Steve Young-autographed football. As part of the fund-raiser, he was able to help one of his classmates, Wes Osmer, who has signed to pitch for the Western Nevada Community College baseball team, which will begin play next season. Funds raised from Bacon's project went to a scholarship for Osmer to attend WNCC.
Carson City Pop Warner Football, which Bacon said played an important role in his development, also benefitted from his project.
"It was pretty cool," Bacon said. "Pop Warner was kind of a big thing. It was kind of cool to give back to that."
Bacon admitted that athletics helped carry him through high school. "Even when I hated school it just kept me going," he said.
His only regret, Bacon said was not playing football all four years. He played as a freshman, but didn't play again until this year.
"I wished I would have played football those two years," he said. "I regret not playing then, but other than that I had fun and enjoyed playing."
Rankl, who carried a 3.95 grade point average, will attend Santa Clara University where she plans to major in civil engineering and minor in business. Rankl had outstanding career's in golf and softball at Carson and also played varsity basketball her sophomore and junior years.
Last fall, Rankl won the Sierra League title and placed seventh in the NIAA 4A State Tournament in golf. She plans to walk on to play golf at Santa Clara. She also made the all-league first team in softball as a shortstop this year despite a nagging injury.
Her senior project covered how weight training could reduce the chance of osteoporosis.
"I enjoyed it a lot because osteoporosis runs in my family," Rankl said. "It was a good thing to know and research."
Rankl also said she was satisfied with her high school career at Carson. "I was really pleased with my athletic career throughout high school," Rankl said.