Mosqueda and Woods: Big-time players in big moments
Editor’s note: This is the third in a series of four stories honoring the high school athletes of the year at George Whittell and South Tahoe:
By Jeremy Evans
Tribune staff writer
The term “male athlete of the year” usually implies someone has succeeded in multiple sports. This year at South Tahoe High, it wasn’t about how many sports an athlete excelled in as it was about how much an athlete excelled in one sport.
Whenever the boys’ basketball team needed a shot, Jared Wood took it. He scored a game-high 27 points in South Tahoe’s first-round playoff loss to Reed, the program’s first playoff berth in six years.
Whenever the boys’ soccer team needed a goal, Ernesto Mosqueda provided it. The senior striker scored two of his state-leading 30 goals in the state tournament and led the Vikings to their second 4A state title in two years.
Neither athlete played another sport during the 2005-06 school year, but their domination in the sport they did play is the reason why Wood and Mosqueda are the Tahoe Daily Tribune’s Male Co-Athletes of the Year for South Tahoe High School.
“To be honest, I thought it was going to be somebody who played more than one sport, somebody like Ismael Mora (defender on soccer team and wrestler),” Mosqueda said. “It was surprising when I heard.”
Wood had the same reaction as Mosqueda, using last year’s selection of Mikey Van Gorden as an example. Van Gorden excelled at football, basketball and track.
“I wasn’t even considering myself because usually it’s guys who play three sports and are pretty good at all of them,” Wood said. “I guess I was just pretty good at my one sport.”
Wood led the Vikings in scoring at 14.8 points per game and was one of only a handful of four-year starters in the program’s illustrious history. He was named to the Northern 4A and Sierra League first teams after leading the Vikings (15-12) to the postseason for the first time since 2000.
“The kid has been a solid, stable performer for four years,” STHS coach Derek Allister said. “He never shrank from the spotlight. Joel Keegan and Conor Freeman took some pressure off him, but everybody knew that to beat us they had to stop Jared Wood.
“If you let Jared get going, he can put points on the board in a hurry. And there’s nobody who works harder at his game, at his craft.”
The same things can be said of Mosqueda, a converted forward who didn’t play his junior year because of grades. Although he entered the season as a relative unknown, coach Chris DeLeon knew his obscurity wouldn’t last.
“We knew how good he was,” DeLeon said. “He’s just got an incredible soccer IQ. He was able to bring a lot of the guys together and make us a team. He was a shy guy and didn’t speak out, but he was one of the guys who wanted the championship the most.”
Mosqueda’s mark of 30 goals was the third best in a season in state history, according to Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association record books. He was named Sierra League offensive player of the year for his efforts, but it was his ability to score important goals that brightened his spotlight.
He scored two of the Vikings’ four goals in the state tournament, one in a 2-1 victory over Bishop Gorman in the state semifinals and another in the team’s 2-0 win over Elko in the state title game. As a sophomore, Mosqueda was a defender on the 2003 state championship team.
“I didn’t expect to score a lot of goals because I played sweeper my entire life,” Mosqueda said. “Then I decided to play forward and it worked out. I surprised myself I scored so many goals, but I think I was always there at the right time.”
Both players have aspirations of playing in college, but it’s Wood who has already made a decision. The 6-foot-5 forward will play next season at Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz. Cabrillo is coming off a 14-14 season and is one of the stronger programs in the Coast Conference (South).
Mosqueda mentioned Feather River College in Quincy as a possible destination but would like to attend the school with friends. Even if he doesn’t play in college, he enjoyed winning a state title with players he grew up with.
“It’s a great way to leave high school,” Mosqueda said. “The state championship is a great memory for us. I think it’s something we’ll talk about in 20 years.”
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