Empey, a highly recognized student athlete for the Raiders, recently took home another top honor, earning a $500 scholarship in the Nevada Athletic Director's Association's (NADA) essay contest.
"I just kind of heard about it and then saw it was a scholarship I could apply for. I was eligible," Empey said. "I thought I might have a good chance. The money would help and the recognition would be pretty cool."
NADA announced its decision, naming Empey the contest winner, two weeks ago and then recognized him at its annual state conference, which is held concurrently with the Nevada State Basketball Championships, last Friday in Las Vegas. Empey was asked to trek to southern Nevada and recite his essay during the conference, but family reasons kept him from attending.
"It would've been cool to go to Las Vegas and read it for the group. Hopefully, it keeps progressing and I'll get another chance," he said.
The essay contest, which drew entries from across the Silver State asked student athletes to talk about the value of athletics in their lives. By winning the state contest, Empey's essay advances to a regional contest where it will be judged against other state winners from around the West. A regional win could put Empey in the national competition.
Last year, Jace Billingsley of Winnemucca's Lowry High School won the national award.
The NADA essay contest limited participants to 500 words. While contestants did not have to write a novel, Empey stressed the essay was still no easy task.
"The 500-word limit almost made it harder," Empey said. "You really had to condense down what you wanted to say in a few words.
"When I was looking into it, I saw Jace won the state and national competitions. That was pretty cool. It was not just some random kid, but somebody I knew. It made it seem more possible to win."
Empey is three-time Nevada state wrestling champion. He posted perfect records in his sophomore, junior and senior seasons, meaning the talented honor student did not lose a match since his freshman campaign, a streak of 176-straight matches.
The 18-year-old has a 4.8 weighted grade-point average. He has already accepted a scholarship offer from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. However, that pays for only the cost of in-state tuition, leaving Empey to cover the difference for out-of-state fees.
Empey is also hoping to be recognized as one of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association's Top 10 Student Athletes later in the school year. He is already working on the essay for that contest.
"The ultimate goal is to try not to put too much of a college burden on my family," Empey said.