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June 6, 2012
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Jordan Wright selected as Bonanza's male Athlete of the Year from Incline High

It's not every year that such a talented class of senior boys sweeps through a school of 300-plus.

The class of 2012 was an exception — like the 2010 group before it — with a standout core of clutch-performing student-athletes who excelled in multiple sports, in addition to the classroom.

But one, based on his many accolades and achievements, stood out among the rest: Jordan Wright.

And for that, the regarded three-sport athlete is the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza's male Athlete of the Year from Incline High School.

“All the other coaches and players respect him. They are kind of behind Jordan because of his character and integrity,” said longtime Incline golf coach Joe Humasti, for whom Wright won an individual state championship as a junior and a regional title as a senior. “He's a very hard worker and has a great work ethic, and he's very well respected.”

Mike Evans, head coach of the Incline football team, couldn't agree more about his star receiver and defensive back.

“Jordan is a great competitor,” Evans said. “He really elevates his teammates in making them compete at a higher level. He has a great will to win. And he's just so positive. He makes practice fun. Other kids love being around him. He brings everybody up with his personality.”

Wright played similarly important roles on all three of his Incline teams, which included basketball in the winter.

In the fall, Wright returned for his senior year after earning first team All-League and All-State honors with a stellar junior season at receiver. As a junior he caught 18 passes for 504 yards, with nine touchdown receptions, which made his senior year that much tougher as the focal point of opposing defenses.

“Every team, when they game planned, their goal was to shut Jordan down,” Evans said. “If they had to press him at the line and have someone over the top, they would do that. Or they would take their best corner and put him on Jordan's side. They didn't care if anybody else beat them, they just tried to make sure Jordan didn't, so his numbers were a little down compared to his junior year.”

Despite being keyed on, Wright still earned first team All-League honors as a senior, as he hauled in 16 receptions for 270 yards, with a team-high eight touchdowns. He was on the receiving end of six two-point conversions, while he also played a major role at defensive back — not to mention special teams.

But it was the Hail Mary-type reception that highlighted Wright's athleticism.

“His best attribute as a receiver is he just had a great knack to compete for the ball,” Evans said. “If the ball was in the air, it was his. Obviously he has good hands — strong hands — but he just knew how to compete for the ball at his highest point.”

Evans said Wright also was “sneaky fast” on a football field, with long strides that allowed him to break away from opposing defenses.

“There are always a few players (in the 2A) who can play at the 3A or 4A level, and Jordan was one of them,” Evans said.

Wright — as well as a handful of other Highlanders — would have been selected to play in the annual Sertoma Classic all-star football game in Reno on June 15, but the game and practice schedule conflicted with Incline's graduation and finals, Evans said.

Come winter, Wright and company had their work cut out for them as they competed for a third consecutive appearance in the state championship game, and a second title in three years.

They almost pulled off the feat despite a number of untimely injuries, but the Highlanders fell one point short against eventual state champ West Wendover in the regional semifinal. They finished 22-6 overall and won the 2A/3A-mixed Mount Rose League title with a 9-1 record.

Wright came up huge in the place of senior returning All-League MVP Patrick Murray, who sat out much of the season with a knee injury. Wright took over Murray's point guard position while his teammate, when healthy enough to play, moved to forward.

It was a seamless transition. Wright boasted the explosive quickness to blast past almost any defender en route to a score or assist, as well as the size and athleticism at 6 foot to also bang for rebounds with the bigs. And he was clutch, a fact perhaps best highlighted by a deep, game-winning three-pointer he sunk at the buzzer of a crucial league game at South Tahoe.

Wright averaged 9.6 points his senior season, better than one blocked shot per game, 5.8 rebounds and 2.3 steals. He was voted co-MVP of the Mount Rose League along with Erick Garcia of Sparks.

Then came his best sports of all, golf, in which Wright dominated the regular season with the goal of repeating as the 2A state champion — which he nearly did.

“At a young age he started playing competitive golf, and that kind of laid a foundation for his success at each level,” said Humasti, who also coached Wright's older sister, Katie, to four consecutive state titles. “He's a great player and a great role model to all the kids. He takes the younger players under his wing and teaches them what he's learned.”

The left-hander with the long, straight drives off the tee led the Northern 2A all season, posting a low average score of 73 and a season-low of 68 in a 2A/3A-combined tournament at Fernley.

“His strength is his driving. He puts himself in a good position to score,” said Humasti, trying to explain what makes Wright so effective. “He's a good iron player too. And he's good at maneuvering shots. He's very creative in his game and also very intelligent. He's thrown up some very good scores in his young career.”

Wright captured the Northern 2A regional title at Edgewood Tahoe before he finished runner-up in the state championship.

Now, with his high school career in the rearview, Wright plans to attend Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and walk on to its golf team.

“Every pressure situation I've ever seen Jordan in, he's come through, so I think he'll do very well at Cal Poly,” Humasti said. “He has the skills to be a good collegiate golfer. I'm behind him 100 percent in anything he tries. He's a game player. He always rises to the occasion when the pressure is on.”

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Tahoe Daily Tribune Updated Jun 6, 2012 07:16PM Published Jun 6, 2012 07:13PM Copyright 2012 Tahoe Daily Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.