Success follows Noll to pitch
RENO – As a freshman two years ago, Kylie Noll’s second-place individual finish at state led the South Tahoe Vikings to their second consecutive 4A state cross country championship. Last year as a sophomore, her gusty performance while battling a stomach virus helped the Vikings take second at state.
This fall, she’s one win away from a regional soccer championship. It seems that whichever sport Noll chooses, success always follows, but it’s never been an easy decision for the STHS junior.
“Kylie struggled with that decision from day one,” said cross country coach Dan Wilvers. “I still remember her phone call to me right after she left middle school. I was sitting at my desk and this sweet-voiced kid calls me and tells me her decision to run for South Tahoe in the fall. I remember telling her she made my summer.”
Had Noll elected to run this year, she would be gunning for the Vikings’ third state title in four years on Saturday at the 4A cross country state championships at San Rafael Park in Reno. Instead, she will playing for the South Tahoe girls’ soccer team later in the day as the Vikings attempt to win their first regional title since 1996.
Sierra League champion South Tahoe (22-2) plays High Desert League champion Reed in the Northern 4A regional tournament championship game on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. at Damonte Ranch High School. Noll has been a starting defender for a team that has won 19 straight games and has recorded 14 shutouts.
“I had a little bit of an idea that it was going to happen because Kylie decided to play club soccer this year,” said STHS girls’ soccer coach Clint Lockhart. “The girls kept telling me they were trying to convince her. It was a nice surprise. She is a great athlete.
“She has excelled out here on the soccer field. She’s proven that she belongs here. On top of all of that, she is a great kid and a pleasure to coach.”
With both teams succeeding this fall, the big question is which sport will Noll go out for as a senior?
“She did tell me when she broke the news to me this summer that she was going to come back and run her senior year, but I think that was more to soften the blow of her departure,” Wilvers said. “I’d never hold her to that … I want what’s best for her in her own eyes. You don’t replace a Kylie Noll. Truthfully, as great a runner as she is, I miss her most as a person.”
Noll admitted after Wednesday’s 1-0 regional semifinal win over Douglas that it was tough choosing between cross country and soccer. But since she’s currently riding a wave toward a regional title, she’s leaning toward soccer in 2008.
“That was a hard decision, but I love what’s happening right now,” Noll said. “I am having so much fun. I miss the coaches and the girls from running, but I think I am going to stick with soccer.”