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Year of the Raiders
by Damian Tromerhouser
May 19, 2012 | 1959 views | 0 0 comments | 14 14 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune file photo - Drew Bryant (above) helped Reed win a Northern 4A football title last fall.
Tribune file photo - Drew Bryant (above) helped Reed win a Northern 4A football title last fall.
Normally high schools are happy to have one or two highly successful athletic programs in a school year. For Reed High School, that level of triumph could have gone for just one sports season.

This 2011-2012 school year has seen a Raider team represent in either the Northern 4A Region or State championship event in each of the fall, winter and spring campaigns. The Blue and Gold success kicked off with two of its major sports in the fall earning a trip to state. From there, the bar was set.

“You go through the fall and look at the success, and it’s just kind of been a recurring theme every sports season,” Reed Athletic Director Ron Coombs said. “Both of our boys and girls tennis programs were in the regionals. That doesn’t happen a lot here. And then you add the fact that volleyball won the regional championships and football went to the state championship, and the fall really got us going. They really pushed that level up.”

Coombs gave extra credit to the Raiders’ volleyball squad for starting the domino effect.

“It all started to be honest with you with our volleyball program,” Coombs said. “We have roughly 400 student athletes, but I think they feed off of each other. I don’t know if it’s momentum or what. It just seems like every program this year has stepped up what they are doing. I have to think part of that is a tribute to the way volleyball got people really excited. We had not won a regional championship since 1989.  I think at regionals they just decided that no one had any expectations, so they just figured why not go out and win. That really got us going.”

Reed finished its volleyball regular season as the High Desert League’s third-seeded team before winning three straight regional playoff matches, culminating with a title triumph over cross-town rival Spanish Springs. Reed then knocked off Bishop Gorman in a state semifinal before finally seeing its season end at the hands of Green Valley in the 4A final.

Reed football rolled through a perfect league schedule and the regional playoffs, pasting Carson 50-0 in the Northern 4A final, before succumbing to national power Bishop Gorman in the state final.

The Raiders winter athletic programs followed and matched that standard of performance.

Both boys and girls basketball teams made the playoffs, with the boys returning to the postseason for the first time in three years. While the boys were ousted after advancing past the first round, the girls won the Nevada 4A state crown. It was the first RHS girls hoop title since 1993 and the fourth in program history.

Additionally, two Reed wrestlers, Spencer Empey and Broc Westlake, repeated as state champions.

Then, this spring, Reed’s baseball and softball also qualified for regionals. The Reed softball team blew through Northern 4A League play with a 19-1 record and qualified for the state tourney before settling for third in the Silver State. The Raiders baseball team was back in the postseason for the first time since 2008.

On the track, sophomore Gabby Williams was a state champion in three events, breaking two state meet records. Junior Adriana Newell won one individual event at state and helped lead the 4x400m relay to victory as well, but was hurt in the effort, costing her a chance to win two more events on the second day.

Coombs associates much of the winning with a standout RHS senior class.

“Different teams and different kids have stepped up,” Coombs said. “I really think it centers around this group of athletes, these seniors and the legacy that they’re going to leave behind. We have a great senior class. This senior class, this senior group, has really carried a lot of what we’ve done. They’ve carried a lot of that on their backs.”

The success that the athletic programs has also increased the morale of the school.

“It’s just one of those years,” RHS Principal Mary Vesco said.  “I was writing my graduation speech the other night, and was so fortunate to think back on all the positive things that have happened this year. I think athletics helps drive a building in a positive way, there’s no question of that.

“During all of our sports seasons you could see all the students out there supporting the teams. Our football stands were filled, our boys and girls basketball stands were filled. So it’s been a real positive school year in that respect. It really has helped set a positive tempo for us.”

Coombs supported the words of Vesco.

“Our attendance has been insanely popular this year,” Coombs said.  “We try to judge our attendance by how much money we are pulling in at the gates and we made $1000 at a volleyball game when Spanish Springs came down here, and that was a regular-season game. That is unheard of. I think you’re seeing a lot more kids at the school, because of the success we are having, kind of rallying around that.”

The east Sparks school’s athletic director said he hopes the cycle of success and support carries on.

“Because we had success in so many sports this year, across genders and across small sports and large sports, you are starting to see our numbers increase. We anticipate that we will have another very large athletic class coming in. When you are successful, you tend to get more people out. Hopefully this continues for us.”
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Year of the Raiders by Damian Tromerhouser

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