2015: Ten Carson Valley stories to review | RecordCourier.com
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2015: Ten Carson Valley stories to review

Douglas High School Football Coach Bill Coverly on the sidelines in the 1981 photo.
Jay Aldrich | R-C file photo

Turning back sports pages of 2015, The Record-Courier has selected 10 categories in which stories were significant to Carson Valley readers. The categories were based by sport, team and individual … we hope you enjoy the read:

STORY OF THE YEAR:

■ Bill Coverley leaves lasting legacy: Coverley passed away at age 72 on March 14, after a battle with cancer, leaving a legacy that includes the 15 seasons between 1970-84 when he served as head football coach at Douglas High School. He compiled a 78-59-2 record and in 1974 guided the Tigers to the only state football championship in school history. That’s merely scratching the surface of Coverley’s football achievements at the Minden school because his legacy continues to live on through the lessons and memories he provided to the many lives he touched. “Bill essentially created a standard that continues today,” said Keith Roman, who was Coverley’s assistant through each of those 15 seasons. “He was a tough taskmaster, but he was fair and the kids knew he loved them.”

PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES

■ Rodeo: This was a big year for Carson Valley in terms of being represented on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. Wyatt Denny, 20, of Minden closed out a successful season when he received the Resistol Bareback Riding Rookie of the Year award in Las Vegas. And during the same week, Gardnerville’s Clay O’Brien Cooper, 54, competed at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo … for the 29th time. Cooper and Derrick Begay (Seba Dalkai, Ariz.) finished third at the NFR. They won rounds two, four and five to take over the team roping world standings lead at the time and Cooper finished fourth in earnings among heelers. During a 30-year professional career, Cooper has earned seven world championships with over $2 million in career earnings and has won every major event in team roping and is considered by most to be the greatest heeler of all time. Cooper was inducted to Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1997.

TEAM OF THE YEAR

■ Douglas High School girls tennis team: The Tigers defeated perennial power Reno 14-4 in the region tournament championship match in October. Douglas (14-0) won all nine doubles sets to turn the tables on Reno (12-2) after losing in the region finals each of the last two years. The all-senior team of Kayleigh Carlson and Anne Pomroy were 35-0 in Northern Nevada, capped by a region tournament title run when they beat teammates Tara Cottrill and Kylie Coziahr and then Bishop Manogue’s Rose Berry and Halle Turek in the finals. “They won’t overpower you — they won’t knock you down — they just play really smart,” Douglas coach Dan Hannah said. “They play their game and just hit it where you aren’t.” Junior Madelyn Landerfelt also finished as the region singles runner-up for the third year in a row. The Tigers’ Terra Williams and Kaitlyn Smith also reached the region doubles semifinals.

PROGRAM OF THE YEAR

■ Douglas High School girls and boys swimming and diving: The Tigers’ girls and boys, most of whom train and compete year-round through the Douglas Dolfins club and high school programs, continued their winning traditions in a big way. First, the Douglas High girls and boys teams wrapped up undefeated conference seasons and extended impressive win streaks in the process — the girls have now won 67 straight conference dual meets and the boys have won 50 in a row. Then the Tigers swept to victory at the Northern Division I Regional Championships. The Douglas girls edged Bishop Manogue 389-368 in a closely contested race for the girls team championship that was up for grabs until the 400-yard freestyle relay. Douglas won the boys 200-yard medley relay as Andre Mendes, Ryan Chen, Kevin Smithen and Joe Sullivan set a meet record time of 1:38 and went on to win the team title with 477 points, 167 ahead of Reno. The boys team finished third and the girls fifth at the state meet in Carson City.

OLYMPIC ASPIRATIONS

■ Shelby Koontz Douglas Dolfins and Douglas Tigers: Koontz continued her push toward the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials in August when she competed at the Speedo Junior National Championships in San Antonio. Koontz, a senior at Douglas High School who has signed to swim for Indiana University, overcame a bout with illness to set a personal record time of 1:01.30 in the 100 butterfly preliminaries, returned to place 16th in the finals with a time of 1:01.95) and inched closer to the Olympic Trials time cut of 1:01.19. The Olympic Trials will be held June 26-July 3, 2016, in Omaha, Neb. Koontz also set a personal and Dolfins team record time of 58.81 seconds in the 100 freestyle. During the high school season, Koontz was named Northern Division I Female Swimmer of the Year for the third straight year, plus she won the 100-yard butterfly (55.80) and placed second in the 200 IM at the NIAA State Championships.

SOCCER MILESTONE

■ McKenna Kynett and the Douglas High School girls soccer team: Kynett finished as the all-time Nevada large schools and Douglas career scoring record holder with 111 goals and was recognized as the Sierra League’s Midfielder of the Year. Kynett was a four-year starter for the Tigers. Meanwhile, Douglas (15-6-3) finished third in the league and advanced through the region tournament bracket before losing 1-0 against Bishop Manogue on Nov. 9 on a last-minute goal in a snow-blown championship game at Carson High School. The Tigers came back four days later and dropped a 2-1 verdict to regionally ranked Coronado in the state tournament semifinals, the decisive goal coming with five minutes to go. This marked the 23rd consecutive season the Tigers have appeared in the postseason, a streak that dates to 1993 when girls soccer was first sanctioned as an official sport in Nevada.

ALUMNI ACHIEVEMENT:

■ Krysta Palmer, University of Nevada: Palmer, a 2010 Douglas High School graduate, captured 10th-place in the 3-meter diving with a score of 359.60 during the NCAA Swimming and Diving Championships in March in Greensboro, N.C. The junior also scored 242.90 points to place 24th in the platform dive. During the 2014-15 season, Palmer finished undefeated during the regular season, swept the 1- and 3-meter and platform events at the Mountain West Championships — setting a meet record in the 1-meter dive and a conference overall record and program record in the platform dive — and was honored as the conference Diver of the Year. She also earned Academic All-Mountain West honors. Palmer recently earned a spot on the U.S. Diving National Team with a big performance in Indianapolis (see related story).

RUNNING WITH THE PACK:

■ Wolf Pack football visits Douglas: On a warm Saturday afternoon at Douglas High School, University of Nevada football coach Brian Polian smiled as he addressed a gathering of fans how he welcomed a little change of scenery. “I’m excited about it,” Polian said before the Wolf Pack’s spring practice session. “It should be physical, you should see between 80 and 100 plays of live football. … By the way, this is kind of nice. I’ve never been out here before. What a beautiful place. We’re thrilled to be here.” An estimated 500 fans turned out to watch the Wolf Pack work out for two hours at Keith Roman Field. “You’re going to see some newcomers out there that you may not recognize, but that’s an important part of spring football,” Polian told fans beforehand. “You’re seeing some guys who were scout team players last year, and all of a sudden, they’re getting their opportunity now. We’re trying to figure out who’s going to win these battles, and that’s exciting.”

DROUGHT AND THE OUTDOORS

■ Drought and fishing: The effects of a four-year drought was obviously a common topic of conversation. A sparse winter snowpack was especially a concern for organizers of the 26th annual Kids’ Fishing Derby, who early in the spring considered options of moving the event from Lampe Park. Thanks to a series of rain storms in May and June as well as assistance from Valley ranchers who agreed to divert water, the derby was held as scheduled for more than 1,300 young anglers who converged on Lampe Park for two days of fun … and more than a few large fish. Otherwise, streams and lakes around the region provided plenty of places that were very fishable. R-C fishing columnist Doug “Mac-the-Naw” Busey wrote in July: “Renee and I fished up on Wolf Creek, Silver Creek and the east Carson River last weekend. Some were good others were slow, we adjusted for every place we fished and had a successful fun day.”

AMAZING RIDE

■ Father Doroteo “Teo” Rojas-Serrano completes the “Death Ride”: When Fr. Teo arrived in Gardnerville on July 1, 2014 as associate pastor of St. Gall Catholic Church, little did he know that the sport of cycling would be in his future. And he certainly didn’t envision taking on a challenge quite like the Death Ride, Tour of the California Alps. Fr. Teo needed about 12 hours to complete that challenge on a 129-mile course that included ascents on both sides of 8,314-foot Monitor, 8,730-foot Ebbetts and 8,580-foot Carson Pass. “You have to be in good shape to finish that Death Ride, but I trained for nine months,” he said. “This was my first time and I said, ‘I want to do something good.’” For someone who enjoys the mountains, what better way to observe his first anniversary at St. Gall? “When I first heard about the Death Ride, I began to practice and one thing that kept me going was the views,” he said, referring to the world class scenery the Sierra has to offer. “It’s so spiritual, so peaceful, so very challenging, but at the same time, gives you time to reflect on your life and see the wonders of God.”