From what Douglas senior Bridget Maestretti is able to remember of basketball tryouts during her freshman year, she still isn't quite sure how she made the team.
"I was really terrified," she said. "The whole thing was just a blur. I wasn't expecting to make the team and to me it wasn't going so well."
It didn't help that the senior class that year included players like four-year starter Erin Brinkmeyer and all-region pick Brittany Puzey " players that Maestretti had watched while growing up; players that had coached her during youth Tiger Camp just the year before.
"At first I couldn't even believe it," Maestretti said. "I was trying to do lay-ups and I couldn't even make one. I was so nervous."
Fortunately, the coaching staff had been watching her for quite some time.
"We knew from her seventh-grade year that Bridget would have a great chance to play as a freshman," Douglas girls' coach Werner Christen said. "She picked things up so quickly and she was such a remarkable athlete. We were excited to have her."
Even so, the news that she'd made it came as a shock.
"I didn't expect to make the team," Maestretti said. "I was in shock, it really didn't hit me for a while."
The thing was, she didn't just make the team. She was thrown into a starting role from the very start and really never looked back.
Maestretti, who carried a GPA above 4.0 heading into her final semester, wrapped up her career at Douglas having started 120 out of 121 games for the Lady Tigers (the only time she didn't start was when she surrendered her spot as a freshman to a senior teammate during the team's senior night) and having earned all-league honors in each of the last three years.
Couple that with the nine varsity letters she earned in four years, along with two league titles and one state appearance from her four sports and Maestretti was a relatively easy pick for The Record-Courier's 2008 Female Athlete of the Year.
It was a choice Christen wasn't surprised by.
"She's probably one of the top five athletes, and on of the better complete players, I've ever coached," said Christen, who has been coaching in the boys' and girls' programs at Douglas for 22 years. "She was a great kid off the floor and she'll be sorely missed."
GROWING UP DOUGLAS
The Tiger athletic program has been pretty much all Maestretti has ever known. He parents moved here from Carson City when she was three years old and her mom, Kelly, began working as a physical education teacher at the school.
Her dad, Lane, was a champion pole vaulter first at Austin High School and then at Nevada. He now works for UCS Spirit track & field products.
Needless to say, Bridget got an early introduction to Douglas sports.
"I've been coming to basketball games here for as long as I can remember," she said. "I remember (Werner's daughter) Lisa was the main video person when she was growing up, so (cousin) Ally Hughes and I would go up and watch the games with her. We'd critique everyone like we thought we knew what we were doing. It was a lot of fun, but I never thought I'd end up playing with some of those people."
And yet, she did, averaging 4.52 points per game as a freshman on a team that ended up winning 22 games, which was the second-highest total in school history.
"It wasn't even until the middle of the season that I started getting used to playing at that level," Maestretti said. "I still felt too young and out of place but the seniors did such a good job of including me. They were great role models for me."
Her breakthrough came in the first round of the playoffs against a Galena team that had established itself as one of the top defensive units in the region.
"I knew they were going to focus on taking away our biggest threats, like Erin and Brittany and (point guard) Tammy Gough," Maestretti said. "That meant they were going to have their weakest defender on me, so it was going to be up to me to do my job, make my layups and put some points on the board.
"I hadn't played in a high-stakes game ever, so at that point it was probably the most exciting game I'd been in."
And it was a wild one. Douglas claimed a 67-66 overtime victory over the Grizzlies and Maestretti turned in a career-high 10 points.
Her success as a freshman in basketball turned over into a surprise softball season.
Maestretti, who never played on the tournament softball circuit growing up, made the junior varsity softball team to open the spring. By midseason, however, she'd been called up to the varsity level and by the end of the year she was earning starts in right field.
It appeared that she could've gone on to be a four-year standout there as well, but made a key decision at the end of the year to pare her schedule back.
"I wanted to be able to focus on basketball during the spring, because that was always my favorite sport," Maestretti said. "I started doing some AAU stuff in the spring and I didn't want to have split with softball because it would have been too hard to juggle everything.
"The thing about basketball was just the hard work it took to play the sport. There were times where it wasn't fun at all, but the end result was so satisfying to me.
"Plus, trying to do three sports, was just a lot."
STAYING ON THE COURT
After finishing her freshman year on the varsity softball team, Maestretti never played below the varsity level again.
She also spent most of the next three years in the Douglas High gym.
She was vaulted up to the varsity volleyball squad as a sophomore, where she started out the season starting on the front line of a senior-laden and talent-loaded squad.
The Tigers ended up blasting through league play, taking the Sierra League title with a 14-0 record and rolling through the playoffs until a loss to Galena in the regional title game.
While there was the success on the floor, Maestretti ended up playing under four different head coaches her three seasons at Douglas.
"Volleyball was a little confusing," she said. "All of the coaches were great, and for different reasons, but it was hard getting adjusted to a new coach every year.
"We had fun every year."
After a tough junior season during which she sat out the end of the year with mononucleosis and Douglas failed to claim the Sierra League title for the first time since the league was established, Maestretti and the rest of the Tigers came back for the 2008 campaign with a vengeance.
Douglas posted a 33-5 record overall, winning the league title, and Maestretti earned all-league honors.
The Tigers reclaimed the league title with a regular-season-ending win in a back-and-forth match against rival Reno and then blew through the first two round of the regional playoffs to set up a rematch in the title game with the Huskies.
Again, the match went back and forth, but this time Reno was able to prevail in the fifth set, clinching the title and the single berth to state.
"It was hard coming back the week after beating them," Maestretti said. "Both schools could've gone to state, but they just came out on top."
After the loss to Reno in volleyball and after Spanish Springs ended the Tigers' season in the first round of the basketball playoffs, it appeared that Maestretti's high school career would end without any statewide honors.
Maestretti had earned first-team all-league and all-region honors in basketball as a senior and probably could've been content with closing the book there.
But the morning after bowing out of the playoffs, the Tigers learned they'd won the state academic title in 4A girls' basketball and would be honored during halftime of the state championship game.
But that wasn't the only thing brewing for Maestretti. A thought had been floating around in her head and she decided to follow through with it.
"I'd been thinking about going out for track all through basketball season," she said.
"I decided that I didn't want to just to nothing because I didn't want to get bored or sad that basketball was over.
"So I decided to go out for track maybe a week before the first practice."
So the girl who'd narrowed her life down to two sports just two years before bumped it back up to three for her senior year.
At first she competed in the pole vault and the high jump, but she quickly won a spot on the 4x400 relay team.
Teamed with Sarah Hartley, Nicole Mehrer and Susie White, Maestretti helped the team to a third-place finish at regionals with a time of 4:08.47, which was good enough for a trip to state.
"It hit me when we got to state that I'd tried to go to state in all my other sports and the time I get there is in the sport I just threw in at the last minute," Maestretti said. "It was ironic."
CLOSING IT OUT
For all of the high school accolades Maestretti earned, it appears that she truly will be closing the book on her athletic career, at least for now.
Despite some interest from a couple of smaller schools, Maestretti made the decision to attend Nevada, Reno and major in secondary education. She's not planning to attempt to walk-on to the basketball team at this point.
"I just wanted to stay close to my family," she said. "I didn't want to go too far away because I really love it here.
"Ideally I want to teach math and coach sports someday. It's kind of exciting with high school wrapping up, but it's kind of sad too.
"The trips and the experiences you have with your teammates, there's nothing like it. All those bonds you build, you go through hard times together. You have hard practices and it draws you closer.
"That was my favorite part. You make really good friends through sports."
And while there are no plans to continue playing now, Maestretti did leave the door open.
"Whenever I am done with a season, it's only a couple of weeks before I have to do something," she said. "I do better when I am busy. The hard part about not having a sport to play is not knowing how I'll handle it.
"Maybe I'll play intramurals or something."