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Multi-sport athletes shine

Michael Traum

Clad in ball caps, letterman jackets, sweatpants and worn tennis shoes, they look like a pair of ho-hum high school students.

In fact, a cursory glance of South Tahoe High seniors Doug Wilson and Nick Romagnolo would be like buying a pair of thoroughbreds sight unseen.

Years of hard work, dedicated families and an essence for doing the right thing have transported the pair to where they are today – three-sport standouts who just happen to be the top two students at STHS.

“We couldn’t ask for finer role models. They exemplify everything you’d want a student/athlete to be,” said Tahoe basketball coach Tom Orlich, who will count on his co-captains’ leadership at this weekend’s state tournament.

Romagnolo, the school’s upcoming valedictorian, boasts a 4.56 grade point average and will attend Stanford on an ROTC scholarship this fall. Not to be outdone, Wilson, the school’s salutatorian, carries a 4.4 mark and hopes to walk on the Notre Dame (South Bend, Ind.) football team as a punter.

Both young men participate in soccer, hoops and swimming – competition that requires year-round attention.

So the obvious question is, how?

“I wouldn’t want to do only one sport. My parents always told me don’t put your eggs in one basket. And unless you’re going to be a professional player, it’s not worth it,” Romagnolo said.

Added Wilson, “Nick’s right. I always knew I’d play more than one sport. Not only does it keep me busy, but it keeps me in shape.”

OK, but where do the academics fit in?

“As a freshman, my whole goal was going to Stanford. I talked to a counselor on the first day – it’s important to do all the things needed to go there,” said Romagnolo, who acknowledged that there are many temptations for teen-agers today. “You have to have your priorities straight. There’s no time for that other stuff. I’ve just always wanted to succeed and done whatever it takes to come out on top.”

So, is there a true secret to success?

“I’m not sure I want to give it away,” joked Wilson. “You just have to do everything you can in school. That includes doing homework on roadtrips. And I may not be the best athlete. I just do whatever it takes to get it done.”

A sense of humor surrounds the two well-spoken Vikings. It’s a state of mind that glues the whole package together.

“They enjoy life and have fun. Sometimes you think you can’t have a sense of humor. That’s just not true,” Orlich said.


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