Sierra Nevada Athletes of the Year |

Sierra Nevada Athletes of the Year

Appeal Staff Report



Nate Whalin, football, basketball and baseball: Whalin, a 6-4, 220-pound tower, has won eight varsity letters and three league titles in his high school career.

He started at small forward for the boys’ basketball team, which finished as the Northern 4A runner-up to Galena. Although only averaging about two points per game offensively, his duty was primarily defensive. As such, he distinguished himself as one of the top defenders in the region. Perhaps his most definitive performance was holding Hug’s Armon Johnson under 10 points in the first half of a big win in Reno midway through the year.

Whalin wrapped up his senior year with a memorable season on the diamond, leading the Tigers both on the mound and at the plate to their second Sierra League title in three years and a Northern 4A Regional runner-up finish inthe school’s first appearance in a zone title game since 1998.

He was a first-team all-leaguer in both his junior and senior seasons and is headed to WNCC in the fall to play for the baseball team.

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Skylar Young, cross country, track & field, soccer: She’s been named the team’s outstanding female sprinter in each of the last three seasons and holds the school record in the 400.

She just finished her second season as a team captain and helped anchor the 4×400 relay regional championship team in 2006, which also broke a school record.

Young received an athletic scholarship to run for Chico State University next season, but her contributions to Douglas High are far from limited to the track.

She’s earned seven varsity letters in her four years at Douglas, starting for the girls’ soccer team in her sophomore and junior seasons before missing the tryouts due to an illness this fall. She worked out with the cross country team while recovering and began racing with the team halfway through the year.

Young will graduate with honors this year and is a member of the National Honor Society. She’s also the vice president of the the senior class, vice president of Amnesty International and vice president of the Block D athletic association.

To top things off, she was voted Snow Ball queen, won Miss Congeniality at the Miss Douglas County Pageant and actively volunteers at the Carson Valley Food Closet.



J.D. Peters: Peters was the High Desert League Player of the Year for the Galena baseball team that finished as the NIAA 4A State runner-up. He hit .549 with 733 hits, 12 home runs, 24 doubles and 41 RBI.

He was also the starting point guard for NIAA 4A State title Grizzly basketball team. He shot 59 percent from the floor on the season. He was an all-Sierra Nevada selection.

An excellent student as well, Peters will attend Vanderbilt.


Nancy Burrows – Burrows has a 3.88 G.P.A. She won four letters each in volleyball and skiing. She was the High Desert League Player of the Year in volleyball and helped Galena to two state titles her sophomore and junior years. She finished seventh in the state in the slalom and giant slalom in skiing.

She is a member of Galena’s Earth Club and the GKOP Freshman Mentoring Program and is a tutor and volleyball coach. She will continue to play volleyball at Concordia College in Portland.



Travis Wood – Wood has a 3.55 G.P.A. He earned 10 varsity letters in football (three), basketball (four), baseball (two) and golf (one). As Dayton’s quarterback, he was the 3A State Offensive Player of the Year. he also earned first-team all-state honors in basketball and baseball. He helped lead Dayton to the state playoffs in football and basketball, including two state runner-up finishes in basketball.

He has directed youth football and basketball camps and has been involved in canned food drives. Wood will play football either at the University of Nevada or Sacramento City College.


Stephanie Greer – Greer has a 4.0 G.P.A. and is Dayton’s Salutatorian. She earned six varsity letters in basketball (three), volleyball (two) and track (one). She was the team Most Valuable Player in basketball. She’s a member of the National Honor Society and first chair flute in the school band. She participated in the Carson Valley Christian Faith mission trip to Kenya and is a member of the Student Leadership team at Carson Valley Christian Center. She plans to major in Biblical studies at Biola University.



Phillip Flanders – He was an NIAA 2A state champion in cross country and a state qualifier in track. He also played basketball.


Monica Ceragioli – Ceragioli was an all-state 2A first team selection after scoring 31 goals in 26 games. She was also the Northern 2A 1,600-meter champion and qualified for the NIAA 2A State Championships in the 800 and 3,200 as well.

In addition, she completed her first marathon at the San Francisco Marathon. She finished second in her age division, 42nd among women and 387th overall out of 10,000 runners.

And she had a perfect score on her SAT test.



Travis McCurry – Standing out in three sports and helping the Fernley Vaqueros make the playoffs in basketball and baseball earned Travis McCurry the Lahontan Valley News Fernley Male Athlete of the Year award.

McCurry starred as Fernley’s leading running back in the fall and helped the Vaqueros knock off cross-county rival Fallon. He continued to help his school during the basketball season as Fernley snapped one of the state’s longest league losing streaks and then made the playoffs.

McCurry’s passion, though, came in the spring with baseball when he anchored the team into the playoffs. He hopes to walk on for the University of Nevada and will also play in the Sertoma Football Classic this month.


Heather Mathews – What can you say about Heather Mathews except that she helped the softball team win the state title?

Mathews competed in three different sports – volleyball, basketball and softball – in which the Vaqueros qualified for the playoffs in all three. As a result, Mathews has been named the Lahontan Valley News Fernley Female Athlete of the Year.

Her inside force helped the basketball team finish strong in the Northern 3A despite being bumped out of the playoffs against Truckee.

Mathew’s passion, though, came in softball where she frustrated hitters with her high rising fastball. She could also hit the ball, but was effective as a leader and the team’s only senior.



Lyle Gardner – A 6-foot-4, 230-pound threes-sport athlete who won 10 varsity letters and two state championships in his four-year career at Churchill County High School. Gardner earned letters in football, baseball and wrestling.

As a football player, Gardner was an all-league pick as a linebacker and tight end in his junior and senior years. Gardner won state wrestling championships in his junior year (215 pounds) and senior year (heavyweight) and became an All-American when he captured the Reno Tournament of Champions heavyweight bout in December. In baseball, Gardner was a first-team, all-league pick during his junior and senior years. He compiled a 7-2 league record as a pitcher in his final year of play.

Gardner will attend Snow College this fall on an athletic scholarship.

Sarah Burton – She has been one of the top female prep track athletes for four years. When she began competing in track during her freshman year, the Churchill County High School student immediately became a top three triple jumper.

The 6-foot-1 Burton had a taste of state competition during her freshman year, but she struggled to qualify for the Class 4A meet during her sophomore and junior seasons. Burton, though, had the best distance in triple jump in Northern Nevada this season and she finished third at the state meet with a personal best of 37 feet. She also took fourth in the high jump.

For her accomplishments, she became a two-time, first-team pick for Northern 4A track, and coaches selected her as the Female Field Athlete of the Year.

Burton will attend Willamette University in Salem, Ore., next year and will compete on the track team, which has won its conference six years in a row.



Ian Rice – The 6-foot-3 senior was the Sierra League defender of the year in soccer, a sport in which he led the South Tahoe Vikings to their third consecutive regional tournament championship. Then in his first season ever running varsity track (he played baseball his first three years), Rice set the school record in the 400-meter dash (49.99 seconds) at the Northern 4A regional finals, where he collected two fourth-place finishes and missed qualifying for the 4A state meet in the 400 and 800 by a combined six-tenths of a second.


Masha Long – For a sport that is only played outdoors half of the year in Tahoe, Long made the most of her time on the tennis court. In the fall, she went undefeated during the regular season and won the Northern 4A regional tournament title, becoming the first ever South Tahoe girls’ tennis player to accomplish that feat. She lost in the state quarterfinals for the second consecutive season and is one of the top players in Northern California for her age group (Under-18).



Jessica Woods – The well-rounded athlete finished her career as the winningest athlete in school history. Woods won a combined 14 state championships during her career (7 individual track titles, 3 team track titles, 4 team volleyball titles). She led the Warriors to their fourth consecutive volleyball title in the fall and was named Nevada Gatorade Player of the Year. The 5-foot-8 Woods was also a first-team all league performer in basketball during the winter and won three individual track state titles in the spring (100 high hurdles, triple jump and long jump), which helped lead Whittell to its third consecutive team 2A state title.

Here is the bio on David King of Whittell. Jeremy will have the other three athletes (two from STHS and one from Whittell) shortly.


David King – There is no way to run under the radar when you are a King.

King distanced himself from other Warriors with impressive results in cross country and track.

In the fall, King led the Warriors to second place in the Nevada 2A state cross country meet with a a fifth-place finish at 18 minutes, 43.46 seconds. He also won the Retro Relays individual race at South Tahoe High and finished fifth at regionals as the Warriors captured the team championship.

In the spring, King ran away with 3,200-meter state title in 10:38.88, winning by 23 seconds. He was runner-up to teammate Tyson Guajardo in the 1,600, losing by just under 6 seconds with his time of 4:58.50.

In addition, King won the 3,200 at regionals and came in third in the 1,600 as WHS finished fourth as a team.


Tim Grunert – For the first time this year, the Nevada Appeal is selecting a youth athlete of the year from an organization. The Appeal plans to select a youth athlete from a different youth organization each year.

This year, the Appeal has chosen the Carson Tigersharks and Tim Grunert.

Grunert was the state champion in the 50-yard and 100-yard breaststroke for 11-12-year-old boys at the state meet held earlier this year at the Carson Aquatic Facility. He has qualified for the 2007 Far Western and Western Regional Junior Olympic meets and competed in the 2007 Western Regional Junior Olympic short-course meet. In addition, Grunert has completed the Lake Berryessa one-mile open water swim.

An Eagle Valley Middle School seventh grader, Grunert maintains straight As and has been part of the seventh grade leadership. He’s also a member of the Eagle Valley symphonic band and made the Northern Zone Honor Band in 2006 and 2007.

He’s also a member of the First United Methodist Church youth group and a member of its leadership committee.