Rutledge, Vega named Appeal’s top athlete | NevadaAppeal.com

Rutledge, Vega named Appeal’s top athlete

Darrell Moody

Like any other high school athletic program, Carson High went through its ups and downs during the 2008-09 school year.

The Senators had plenty of student-athletes, male and female, shine during the season. Choosing the best male athlete was a ton more difficult than picking a top female athlete at CHS.

There was golfer Jonathan Singer, baseball-basketball star Matt Rutledge, track and cross country standout Richard Shroy, baseball and basketball player standout Paul Cagle III and Robby Barlow, who played football and ran track.

Singer was one of the top golfers in the region and reached the state tournament. Shroy won the 3,200 state title and was part of the Senators’ outstanding 3,200-meter relay squad which was one of the best in the state.

In the end, I decided on Rutledge, whose steady point guard play helped Carson reach the Sierra League playoffs and whose strong right arm (5-1 pitching) and hitting (.538) carried the Senators to a second-place finish this past spring.

Rutledge started for three years for Carson’s basketball team and played four years of varsity basketball for coach Bruce Barnes. He averaged six points and five assists a game.

“You’ve heard about point guards being an extension of the coach? He truly is. He very rarely comes out of the game,” Barnes said. “When he’s not out there, things tend to not run as smoothly. We have other guys that play the point, but we’re stronger when he’s out there.”

That’s the highest praise you can give an athlete. Rutledge’s unselfish was evident each and every game. Rarely did he take a bad shot. He attempted to make players around him better at every turn.

In baseball, Rutledge won five straight Sierra League games before dropping a heartbreaker to Douglas in the last week of the regular season. When he wasn’t throwing the ball by opposing hitters, he would normally play second base, and he stabilized that position for the Senators.

The female choice was a no-brainer.

Brandi Vega led the Carson girls’ basketball team into the zone playoffs and is the state career leader in goals scored and assists in soccer.

Vega, who is headed to Washington State on a soccer scholarship, set the state record for goals on Senior Night. She had bypassed a chance to set the mark in an away match because she wanted to set the mark in front of family and friends.

Randy Roser, Carson soccer coach, said he had no clue that Vega would eventually become the state’s all-time leader in scoring.

“When she first got here, she would get to the goal and give the ball to somebody else, usually Kayla (Sanchez) or Cassie Bowman,” Roser said. “That’s why she holds the state record for assists.

“She’s definitely at the top of the list when you consider good athletes. She could have success at any sport she plays.”

Vega was probably the most difficult player to guard on the basketball floor in the Northern Nevada 4A because of her quickness. She averaged 16 points a game and led a team that won six games the previous year to a playoff berth.

The ball was in her hands most of the time, and trust me when I say that, the Senators wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

• The 27th annual Sparks Sertoma Classic All-Star football game is slated for Friday at 7:30 p.m. at Mackay Stadium at the University of Nevada.

The top 90 senior football players representing 30 2A, 3A and 4A schools will be on hand. Rick Walker of Dayton will coach the Blue squad, while Fernley’s Jeff Knutson handles the Silver team.

The Blue team will feature players from Bishop Manogue, Carson, Damonte Ranch, Dayton, Douglas, Elko, Galena, Lowry, North Tahoe, Lovelock, Reed, Silver Stage, South Tahoe and Whittell.

After an orientation on today, the teams will begin two-a-day practices. The Blue squad will practice at Damonte Ranch.

• Carson is hosting the 9-10 all-stars from July 5-11 and Carson Valley will host the 10-11 and 11-12 tournaments from July 12-20.

The state tournament is in Vegas on July 24.