Community awards: Athlete/Sportsman of the Year | NevadaAppeal.com
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Community awards: Athlete/Sportsman of the Year

Three Carson High School graduates vying for the Community Athlete/Sportsman of the Year Award cover all the bases, though baseball isn’t their game.

Speed turns on the class clown and prom queen, whose sport is race car driving. A bit slower pace put the golfer in the hunt, though basketball and being a true blue fan can rev him up. Basketball and a couple of variations on its fundamentals – running and jumping – made a three-sport athlete another competitor for the award.

The nominees: Mackena Bell, the racer; Zack Rispin, the golfer; and Caleb Carter, the triple-threat athlete.

Bell, a winning race car driver since age 11, is the only female ever to win a Legends Championship at Champion Speedway. She hopes she is just getting started.

She’s eyeing a NASCAR career, though she also plans to study at Western Nevada College to become a Care Flight nurse for trauma patients.

“It really sounds like something interesting and life-changing for me and those in need,” she said of her backup career idea.

At Carson High, she was an honor student and was voted Female Class Clown. She also wowed folks when she wore a NASCAR-reminiscent dress – ala a checkered flag theme – as prom queen.

Neither male competing with Bell needs to take a back seat to the race car driver when it comes to sport.

Zack Rispin, a 3.6 grade-point-average student while at Carson High, has been playing golf since age 7. He won all-league honors the past two years, which means he was among the top six in the Sierra League.

As a junior, he played a dominant role on the team to help take it to the state championship. The team placed second.

A strong bench player in basketball, Rispin also was a mentor for younger roundball players and golfers and a solid backer of other Carson High sports teams. He was a member of C-Unity and a participant in the “Blue Crew”- painted face and all.

“I feel like not only athletes, but everybody in the school should support the athletic teams,” said Rispin, who heads next to continue golfing and his education at Glendale Community College.

Caleb Carter, as a three-sport athlete, is a member of a rare breed. In fact, he earned nine letters in high school and was 2008 Sierra Nevada Male Athlete of the Year.

Carter became a top outside shooting threat in basketball and helped the boys cross-country team to second place last autumn in the 4A state championship competition.

An impressive individual accomplishment came in the track and field long jump event. Last spring he qualified for state, but prospects in the finals for anything above last place seemed slim. Yet Carter leaped more than 21 feet, a personal best, and placed fifth.

“Moving up three spots made me feel really good,” he said.

Another fine high school student with over a 3.7 grade-point average, Carter heads for Iowa Western Junior College next and hopes to continue with all three sports there.