Douglas tranfser a dream come true for Summers
As a fantastic freshman athlete at Whittell High School in 2000-2001, Nick Summers broadened his dreams and goals while tantalizing fans with his hardwood and gridiron achievements.
After scoring the winning basket to deliver the Warriors’ first division basketball tournament championship in decades and playing tight end and defensive end on a state playoff football team, Summers started to wonder how he would fare against Nevada’s highest level of prep competition.
That curiosity and a desire to reach his athletic potential led him last year to Douglas High School in Minden.
It was a controversial transfer — one that wasn’t well received at Whittell, where his dad, John, was a prep star and still is a teacher. The Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association wasn’t so receptive to the transfer either, as Summers was denied the chance to compete at the varsity level as a sophomore.
What troubled John Summers about the NIAA’s decision was that the family’s second home in Gardnerville, where Nick lives most of the time, wasn’t given appropriate consideration to meeting the prep governing body’s rules of residency.
“We’re just like the people who do it in Reno,” John said. “But the NIAA didn’t see it that way.”
As it turned out, Nick’s older brother, Jake, decided to finish his schooling at Whittell. Consequently, the brothers spend most of the week apart in different homes.
“I miss those people at Whittell, I miss Jake’s friends and my friends, but I think it was a good choice,” Nick said. “Jake’s happy with what he did and I’m happy with what I did.”
Absence has also made their hearts grow fonder of one another.
“We don’t see each other that much, so we’re nice to each when we’re home together,” Nick said.
However, they support each other as much as they can.
“They’ll go and watch each other’s games,” John said. “They also know when to back off and not talk to each other.”
The parents rotate between the residences in Gardnerville and on Kingsbury Grade so they can be with their children regularly.
Saturday will be a reunion of sorts for 5-foot-11, 180-pound Nick when he and the once-beaten Douglas Tigers visit the South Tahoe High Vikings. Summers will compete against Adam Fountain, Grant Swinney and Justin Keys — former Pop Warner football and youth basketball friends.
“It should be pretty exciting, but I probably won’t be thinking about it that much,” Summers said.
The game is huge in the grand scheme of Douglas’ season. With a 3-0 Sierra Division record, the Tigers are contending with Reno for the division title.
“These last three games are pretty big and we can’t overlook anybody,” said Summers, who starts at defensive end and rotates in at tight end.
Douglas 18-year football coach Mike Rippee is appreciative to what Nick has brought to his program.
“You would think he was born to play those positions, and he is one of those kids who is very coachable,” Rippee said. “He always steps up and plays at a high level. We have a lot of confidence in him and we know he’ll do fine Saturday.”
When football ends next month, Nick will move on to his first love — basketball. If there was a stat on Whittell gym use over the years, Nick would probably be on top of the list. He spent most of his youth opening the gym each morning before school, developing into one of the area’s most talented players.
He’ll soon get a chance to see what the 4A varsity level is all about.
“I’m really looking forward to playing 4A basketball,” he said. “A lot of guys on the football team also play basketball, so it’s a close group and it will be fun.”
Many of them were also part of the Tigers’ 17-4 junior varsity led by Summers last year.
“It was different. I was hoping to play varsity as a sophomore, but it didn’t work out,” he said. “But I’ll be playing with guys that I played with last year for the next two years.”
It was all part of the larger picture.
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