Warriors’ three-peat tops 2005 feats
1. Whittell volleyball wins third straight 2A state title: Despite losing several key seniors from the 2004 state title team, coach Dan McLaughlin and the Warriors didn’t miss a beat in 2005. Whittell finished 30-7 and swept The Meadows in the state semifinals, then beat Lovelock in four games in the state championship to claim their third straight 2A title and fourth in six years. They also earned a win over nationally-ranked Berkeley Prep in the Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas and went undefeated against Nevada teams at both the 3A and 4A classifications. With juniors Kelly Karmann and Jessica Woods returning next season, Whittell is in good position to win a fourth straight title in 2006.
2. South Tahoe boys’ soccer team wins 4A state title despite losing 13 seniors: Going into the 2005 season, no other roster in the Northern 4A was filled with as many questions marks as the South Tahoe boys’ soccer team. The Vikings lost 13 seniors off the 2004 team and all they did in 2005 was win the 4A state title in dominating fashion. They allowed only one goal in five postseason games and finished 19-1-3. Senior striker Ernesto Mosqueda scored a Northern 4A leading 30 goals – third most among 4A schools in state history, according to the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association record book. While coach Chris DeLeon must replace Mosqueda and 14 other seniors off this year’s team, the South Tahoe boys’ soccer factory has proven to be efficient.
3. Jonna Mendes wins second straight national downhill title: South Lake Tahoe’s most successful women’s Alpine skier of all-time had another banner year in 2005. After the grueling World Cup season, Mendes won her second consecutive downhill title last April at the U.S. Alpine Nationals at Mammoth Mountain Ski Area. It was also Mendes’ fourth career U.S. title as she won giant slalom titles in 2001 and 2002. However, her second downhill title didn’t come easy. She was flagged down on her first run – after completing more than half the course – because another racer crashed in front of her. After expending precious energy on that initial run, she returned to the top of the course and put down the best run of the day to win the title.
4. Two men swim length of Lake Tahoe, both becoming the fastest to swim their routes: On Aug. 22, Ken Harmon did what no other swimmer had done in Lake Tahoe history. The Danville man swam from Camp Richardson to Hyatt Beach in Incline Village in 11 hours, 23 minutes and 5 seconds. His course was the longest possible route across the length of Lake Tahoe (22 miles), according to the U.S. Coast Guard. A week earlier, Bruckner Chase of Santa Cruz completed the fastest swim of the length of Lake Tahoe (11:16), although his route was 1.7 miles shorter than Harmon’s. Nevertheless, the record-breaking feats marked the first time in history that two different swimmers swam the length of the lake in the same year.
5. Garrett McIntyre is voted WAC Defensive Player of the Year: The senior from South Lake Tahoe started his Fresno State football career as a walk-on and by the end of his final season he was selected the conference’s defensive player of the year. Despite a high ankle injury that kept him out of a couple of games, the defensive end/tackle recorded seven quarterback sacks and made 13 tackles for losses. The two-time WAC first-team defensive player also forced two fumbles and blocked a kick. McIntyre finished his college career with 25 quarterback sacks and is looking forward to the NFL draft in April.
6. South Lake Tahoe youth baseball teams capture runner-up finishes at all-star tournaments: Despite a smaller talent pool and a limited season on the diamond, a South Lake Tahoe Little League team and a South Lake Tahoe Babe Ruth team finished runner-up at their respective all-star tournaments.
South Tahoe’s Renegade All-Stars reeled off six straight wins in the district tournament in Carson City before being outgunned by perennial power Washoe 17-7 in the championship game. South Tahoe trailed 8-2 in the fifth inning but showed its moxie by rallying for five runs to make it a game. Washoe didn’t flinch, scoring nine runs in the final inning to secure the title. It was South Tahoe’s best Little League all-star result since 1997, when the Hooligans won the district tournament.
The South Tahoe Babe Ruth 14-Year-Old All-Stars shook off a 10-run defeat early in the state tournament and with little room for error the local boys nearly pulled off the title. South Tahoe won three straight games before losing to the team that defeated it earlier in the tournament, South Reno, 3-2 in the title game.
7. South Tahoe girls repeat as state cross country champs: A year after finishing as the 17th-best team in the country at the Nike Team Nationals, the Vikings were every bit as good this year. Like they did in 2004, South Tahoe finished runner-up to Reno at the regional championships but came back strong to accomplish its season goal of repeating as state champions. A strong region and the fickleness of pollsters deprived the Vikings from a return trip to Portland, Ore., for the national championships. The Vikings, however, return their top five runners in 2006.
8. Whittell cross country and track teams win elusive titles: Last May, the Whittell girls’ track team won its first state title in school history, a week after winning its first regional title ever. However, the Warriors just didn’t win the state title, they dominated the field. Whittell finished with 214 points, almost twice the amount of second-place White Pine (110). With several members of the boys’ cross country team on hand to watch the feat, they decided to capture an elusive title for themselves in the fall. Led by Tyson Guajardo’s second-place finish, Whittell’s boys’ cross country team won its first state title in 25 years. Jeremy Worley and Chris Craig both had top-10 finishes for the Warriors, who last won state in 1980.
9. Nick Garratt makes USC football team as a walk-on and scores a TD in preseason intrasquad game: Limited to half a season during his senior year at South Tahoe High because of a career-threatening shoulder injury, Garratt was welcomed by the two-time defending national champions Trojans as a walk-on linebacker. Garratt showed he wasn’t in over his head as he sacked a quarterback twice and scored on a 65-yard fumble return in a Trojans’ preseason scrimmage.
“I am being put on every scout team and coaches and players are starting to look at me in a new light, but I am still a rookie to everyone,” said Garratt, who was eventually redshirted by the Trojans, who will play for their third straight national title on Wednesday.
10. Jerod Haase finally wins college basketball title: As a blue-collar guard for the Jayhawks in the mid-1990s the former South Tahoe High star had his dream of reaching a Final Four painfully short-circuited several times in the regional finals and sweet 16. But those tough memories didn’t seem so bad last April when the Tar Heels won a national championship under Roy Williams, Haase’s former coach at Kansas. Haase was the team’s administrative assistant and is serving his second season as a Tar Heels’ bench assistant this season.
Best of the race: Billy Joe Tolliver proves someone other than Rick Rhoden or Dan Quinn can win the American Century Championship; Patty Metzger wins a BMX world championship; Cross country runner Kelsey Smith, 14, finishes sixth in her age group at the USATF national championships in snowy Smithfield, R.I.; Greg Bruso, a STHS alum, is part of Gary’s Northern League baseball championship team; STHS pursues successful North Carolina high school football coach Gary Merrill for several months before telling the school he is staying put; South Lake Tahoe’s Peewee and Junior Peewee Pop Warner football teams capture Sagebrush Division III titles and advance to the West Coast Championships in Woodside, Calif.; Ty Dayberry collects a big air title at U.S. Telemark National Championships in Copper Mountain, Colo.; Snowboarder Joanie Anderson finishes fourth in boardercross at the Winter X Games; Freestyle skier Sho Kashima wins dual moguls at the junior nationals and then follows that with a fourth-place showing in singles at the senior nationals; Brent Abrams, a Heavenly sponsored skier, wins his first pro freeride event.
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