Sanchez,Works and Carter are
honored as Athletes of the Year
By Charles Whisnand
Kayla Sanchez and Christy Works have been friends, teammates and practically joined at the hip since they were in the sixth grade.
So it's fitting that the Nevada Appeal has selected the two as its 2008 Sierra Nevada Senior Female Athletes of the Year for Carson High.
Joining them is Caleb Carter, who is the Nevada Appeal's 2008 Sierra Nevada Male Athlete of the Year for CHS. The three athletes are now eligible to be named as the Sierra Nevada Media Group Athletes of the Year for all high schools covered by the Sierra Nevada Media Group. Those Athletes of the Year will be announced a week from today.
A major reason why Carter and Works were honored was because they represent a dying breed and that's the three-sport athlete. In fact, Carter has earned more varsity letters, nine, than anyone in his family so far, an impressive accomplishment considering who he has followed.
Carter, the fourth of seven brothers, has followed in the footsteps of Josh, Paul and Seth, who all made their mark athletically at CHS.
"It's just something that me and my dad has talked about," said Carter about being a three-sport athlete. "I accomplished what I wanted to do."
Despite running on two bad ankles, Carter helped the Carson boys cross country team to a surprising second place finish at this past fall's NIAA 4A State Championships. "It felt good," Carter said. "No one gave us the benefit of the doubt."
He went on to become Carson's top outside shooting threat in basketball, then qualified for state in the long jump in track.
This past spring, he leaped a personal best 21 feet, 0-3/4 inches to finish fifth in the long jump at state.
"I was supposed to get last," said Carter, who maintained a 3.79 grade point average in high school. "Moving up three spots made me feel really good."
And Carter could possibly continue to compete in three sports in college. He will compete in cross country and track and will try out for the basketball team as well at Iowa Western Junior College.
"I'm a little bit relieved taht it's all done, but at the same time it's sad," said Carter about his high school career coming to an end.
Works said the highlight of her high school career was helping the CHS girls cross country team to a surprising state title this past fall.
"Most definitely," said Works about that being her most proud accomplishment. "Nobody expected us to win it. I was just ecstatic. I couldn't believe the fact that we won.
"That was definitely the best and the fact that it was a team effort. The outcome made it all worth it."
Works then showed her character by going out for the basketball team even though she knew it was going to be a rough year with many of Carson's players choosing not to return to the team. "I knew that we weren't going to be winning a lot of games," she said.
But after sitting basketball out her junior year, Works wanted to play as a senior. She also played varsity basketball as a sophomore.
Her junior year was her only year in which she didn't play three sports and Works admitted it was unsettling. Still, Works didn't stay completely away as she served as the team's manager that year.
"I don't really have a sense of pride in it," said Works about being a three-sport athlete.
"It feels good to be a three-sport athlete. It's weird to take a season off. I need to be doing something."
In track, Works qualified for state all four years. As a freshman, she was part of the 4x400 relay team. As a sophomore, she took second in the 400 and helped Carson to a second place finish in the 4x400 relay.
She didn't do quite as well her junior and senior years, but for good reason. In each year, she had a grueling task of competing in three distance events.
Last year, she took fourth in the 400, helped Carson to a second place finish in the 4x400 relay and to a fifth place finish in the 4x800 relay.
This year, she finished fifth in the 400 and 800 and helped Carson take fifth in the 4x400 in a particularly tough year. In other years, Carson's time of 4:01 in the relay and Works time of 59.0 in the 400 could have been good enough to compete for the title.
Works will continue to compete in cross country and track at the University of Nevada where she'll be a preferred walk-on, meaning she's guaranteed a spot on the rosters. She will use her Millenium Scholarship with the chance to earn an athletic scholarship.
The resume for Sanchez speaks for itself. Sanchez was accomplished enough in soccer where she earned all-Sierra League first team honors.
But Sanchez will be most remembere for track where she was a 12-time state champion, winning the 100 three times, the 200 and 300 hurdles all four years and the long jump this past year.
Like all great athletes, though, she'll remember the one that got away this past spring when she was edged out in the 100 and settled for second.
"It was hard," said Sanchez. "I really wanted to win it again. I just wanted to win my same three (100, 200, 300 hurdles all four years).
"All of my friends were there to watch me lose. That's the only time I've ever lost in Nevada."
And like all great athletes, Sanchez wasn't completely satisfied with her high school career.
"I wished I could have done other things, definitely more," she said. "I kind of wished the 100 meters went differently. For the most part I accomplished the things I wanted to do.
"It's weird to know that I'm not going to run in high school again. It's just craz. Everything, it felt like it just flew by. It was fun."
Sanchez said the honor, especially winning it with Works, is nice, but isn't really why she competes. "I'm not a big person who cares about titles or things like that," said Sanchez when talking about awards.
And Sanchez is looking forward to competing for Arizona State, the defending NCAA Outdoor Champion.
"I cannot wait to get there," she said. "I'm excited to go down there and start training."