More Sierra Nevada Athletes of the Year
June 5, 2007
Kelly Stephens (basketball, softball): Stephens is a standout athlete in both sports of specialty, with four years of varsity softball experience and three years of varsity basketball.
She plans to play each sport at College of the Siskiyous (Weed, Calif.) in the fall.
A swift-footed point guard and dogged defender, Stephens earned first team all-state and first team all-league honors her senior year. She averaged 12 points a game, four rebounds, three steals and 4.5 assists.
Stephens starred recently in the annual Fallon Optimist All-Star Basketball Classic, leading her team to victory with a game-high 16 points, 11 of which came in the fourth quarter. She was the only player on her team from the 3A; all others played for 4A schools.
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On the diamond, Stephens is as solid as they come at shortstop.
“She was a big part of our team,” Truckee coach Mitch Brown said. “Without Kelly at shortstop the last few years, a lot of balls would have gotten by most girls at that position. She covers a lot of ground.”
The senior proved dangerous on offense, too, finishing this past season with a .341 average, a slugging percentage of .481 and a team-high 23 stolen bases. And there was no slacking off when it came to work ethic.
“There was never any doubt about her being in shape,” Brown said. “Mentally and physically she was more in shape than most girls I’ve seen over the years. She was mentally and physically honed in.”
Stephens made the second team all-state for the senior season she put together.
Danny Kruck (tennis, Alpine skiing, golf): Kruck excelled in each of his three sports, earning team MVP honors in tennis, Alpine skiing and golf.
Truckee’s most consistent golfer, Kruck posted the Wolverines’ only top-10 individual finish in the state tournament, placing eighth out of 38 golfers. The senior also led his team in scoring with a season average of 79.
Consistency was Kruck’s strength in Alpine skiing, as well, as he regularly placed in the top 10. He also helped lead the Truckee boys to runner-up finishes in both slalom and giant slalom in the state championship, placing seventh and 16th, respectively.
“He’s an outstanding skier,” said Pat Mooney, co-head coach of the Truckee High ski team. “He works hard on his skiing and to improve and sharpen his skills.”
Kruck’s not bad on a tennis court, either.
“He was just the best we had,” Truckee tennis coach Jim Jackson said of his team MVP. “He has a good stroke, and he’s always motivated to do better.”
Michael Forte (cross country, basketball): While Forte’s senior year was cut short by a broken foot during the beginning of the basketball season, his performance throughout his North Tahoe tenure in cross country, basketball, baseball and track are unmatched.
Forte’s priority sport of basketball was his most impressive, yielding Northern 3A MVP honors his junior year. During his MVP season and his short senior season, Forte averaged 19.5 points per game, 2.75 assists and 1.8 rebounds. The senior also shot 70 percent from the freeÐthrow line.
Forte represented the Lakers as the only Tahoe area player in the Fallon Optimist All-Star Basketball Classic. He scored seven points in the mostly 4A allÐstar game.
And he did all of that while maintaining a 3.92 grade point average.
Forte was also a member of the state championship cross country team this past fall, and ran with the Lakers for the last three seasons.
The 6ÐfootÐ3, 205Ðpound senior also spent a couple of years on the varsity baseball team, including the 2005 squad that earned a trip to the state tournament. While Forte’s injury this year prevented any serious competition, he began running with the track team the day his doctor cleared him.
Forte’s injury also cut short interest from college basketball coaches, but the easygoing post player isn’t letting it deter him. He is planning to walk on with the Sonoma State Seawolves in the fall.
Erin Altick (cross country, Nordic skiing, track): Throughout her four years on the Laker cross country and track teams, Altick has proven her ability to go the distance.
While Altick is also a member of the always competitive Nordic ski team, her major accolades have come from her running.
As a freshman, Altick took fourth place in the Nevada State Cross Country Championship. The next two years she placed third in the same event.
As a senior, Altick took sixth in the state meet.
Through her four-year tenure on the North Tahoe track team, Altick was a consistent front runner.
The senior has been a key member of the 4×200, 4×400 and 4×800 relay teams.
In 2005 the 4×400 and 4×800 teams took fourth place at the state meet. In 2006 Altick and the 4×400 team ran a very competitive race, finishing in first place before learning they had been disqualified for an aggressive move that resulted in a Lowry fall.
This season, Altick was a member of the third-place 4×200 relay team, the third-place 4×800 team and the sixth-place 4×400 squad.