Bighorn news: Baseball under lights; softball history; Senior Spotlight

Baseball and softball players pose at Greater Nevada Field.

Baseball and softball players pose at Greater Nevada Field.
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Graduating senior Kennadee Irving found her passion in her dual enrollment Graphic Design classes from Western Nevada College. This includes laying out a solid career path and five-year plan.

“After graduation I am attending Brigham Young University in Rexburg, Idaho. I plan on earning a bachelor’s degree in graphic design with an emphasis on surface and pattern design,” she said.

That’s when she hopes to start her dream career.

“I plan to pursue my dream of being a packaging designer, designing packaging materials for products. I will have the opportunity to brainstorm, sketch, and create, as well as meeting with clients to fulfill their needs,” she added.

Her career path is in part thanks to Western Nevada College Professor Jayna Conkey.

“I want to thank Professor Conkey for being an amazing teacher and influencing my passion for graphic design. My favorite classes were graphic design and art classes. I love being able to study things I enjoy and utilize my creativity,” Irving said.

Irving would also like to thank Counselor Andy Lenon.

“I would like to thank Mr. Lenon for being an amazing supporter and helping me an unbelievable amount with college admissions, scholarships, and numerous other things over the years,” she said.

Starting at Oasis in sixth grade, Irving loved the feeling of community in her class and project-based learning. She has also been active, participating in the CCHS Precision Dance Team and musical theater productions with PACC. She played “Hannah” in Freaky Friday her sophomore year, and “Chava” in Fiddler on the Roof this year.

Irving will graduate in May with both her high school diploma and associate of arts degree from Western Nevada College. She has two pieces of advice for future students.

“Honestly, don’t worry so much about high school. Enjoy it while it lasts, have fun, try your best, and be a good student, but at the end of the day, you have a whole life ahead of you. Don’t get so caught up in the need to have a perfect high school experience like in the movies,” she said.

Her second piece of advice, she feels is even more important.

“Most importantly, be kind. What I believe is that the way I treat others, the way other people feel when they’re around me, and the example I set, are more important than the 4.0 on my transcript,”


Oasis Academy College Prep Student Council attended state at Sparks High School April 10-13. Along with attending workshops and participating in valuable leadership activities, the group also brought home two distinguished awards, the Wild West Award and the Silver Star Award.

The Wild West Award is presented to student councils that go above and beyond the requirements. Oasis Academy College Prep held more student activities this year, did student and teacher appreciation activities, held more assemblies, and increased student engagement at the school.

The Silver Star Award is the highest honor a school can receive from Nevada Association of Student Councils. It recognizes school chapters that have excelled in creating a positive, engaging, spirited school environment for students.

“This year’s StuCo was engaged even before school started in the fall with activities, large and small, planned every week,” said Eric Grims, Oasis Academy Student Council adviser. “I’m so proud of what our kids accomplished and the hard work they put in to earn these awards.”


Oasis Softball earned its 100th program win against North Tahoe on April 16. The team started in 2017 and played the first year as a junior varsity team. They moved up to varsity in 2018 and have had winning seasons ever since.

The team records have been:

• 2018: 16-1 (Independent Status)

• 2019: 21-2 (Independent Status)

• 2020: 4-0 (COVID)

• 2021: 15-0 (State Champions)

• 2022: 16-4 (Went to playoffs as the #1 seed)

• 2023: 14-10 (Went to State)

• 2024: 16-5 (As of April 25)

Former Head Coach Rachel Payne was there on Day 1 and created the Oasis Academy softball program from the ground up.

“Coach Rachel started the Oasis softball team and built the program and culture from the ground up,” said Brandon Bird, Oasis softball head coach. “That first year, she spent countless hours calling schools and asking if they would be willing to play us because we were in the independent status.”

Payne personally put a lot into building that first team.

“The program didn’t even have a bucket of balls or a single bat,” he said. “Not only did Coach Rachel put in more hours than anyone will ever know, she also donated to the program. We still have balls in buckets that have Payne written on them and still drag the field with an old tractor lawn mower that she left behind for the team to use. Her dedication and generosity went beyond what most would do and it has made a difference.”

She also created the culture that is still valued in the team that promotes unity and accountability.

“She created a culture where there was never player drama or problems with her players not getting along,” Bird added. “That team culture has been an important part of this program and still exists today. It’s one of those things that previous and current players can attest to because every year the girls get to experience the power behind a team that is unified and driven.”

Bird said it was an honor to be Payne’s assistant coach.

 “I’m doing my best to keep her legacy alive because without her, this program would not be what it is today,” he said.

Along with Coach Rachel the softball team has been grateful for the help and support from Batting Coach John Short, Statisticians Darlene Short and Tricia Detomasi, former assistant coaches Ali and Kevin Montgomery, and current assistant coach Carrie Gantt.

“As the head coach of the Oasis Softball Program the most important thing to me is that I continue to keep the legacy alive and healthy,” Bird said.

He summed up his vision for the team in five points.

“Effort is a choice, not an ability. Second, It is OK if we don’t win, as long as we don’t lose. Third, there is a zero tolerance of any kind of disrespect or poor sportsmanship on the softball field. This includes body language, tone, and/or words. Fourth, every player is held responsible for keeping their emotions in check. If we want to be competitive, we cannot let one mistake turn into two. Finally, The most important stat in softball is a player’s On Base Percentage. It does not matter how they get on base as long as they get on base because they can’t score if they don’t get on base,” he said.


The Oasis Academy Baseball team took the field under the lights at Greater Nevada Field, home of the Reno Aces on April 11 against the Pershing High School Mustangs from Lovelock. The game was memorable for players, coaches, staff, and everyone in attendance.

Players were able to experience the full production of a major league game with walk-up songs and exceptional facilities.

The Bighorns started off slow, falling behind to the Mustangs 6-1 in the first five innings, but the team rallied and ended up winning the game 8-7 with the celebratory lights flashing at Greater Nevada Field making the comeback even more special.

“What a fun night. Weather was beautiful, we had a huge crowd, and it was a fantastic game with the Bighorns pulling out a come from behind victory,” said Rochelle Tisdale, interim chief executive officer. “Thank you to the Aces and Greater Nevada Field for such a unique experience. The Bighorns looked so good on the big field.”

Coach Sean McNabb complimented the team on their play and what the experience meant.

“What an amazing night,” McNabb said. “I am very proud of each one of these boys. They battled hard and made it a night I will never forget. I am grateful for every opportunity that I get to coach these young men. Truly one of the coolest experiences I've had coaching."


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