Football is grabbing all the headlines. And justifiably so.
Long gone are the days when baseball was America’s game. Football has kicked the feet up and made itself comfortable in that throne.
In just 10 days, Reed and Sparks will kick off the 2016 season (Spanish Springs could not find a week one opponent after original opponent backed out) and then all will be right with the universe.
But contrary to football-frenzied misconception, sports other than football will be played this fall.
Saturday marked the first day of official practices for non-football prep fall sports.
Here are a few teams/storylines worth following:
Is this Spanish Springs volleyball’s year?
The Cougars arrived onto the scene a year earlier than anticipated last fall.
The junior-laden squad went 22-11 and nearly stole the High Desert League title, with just one senior on the roster.
This year, they’re not going to surprise anyone.
Five starters return, including first-team all-leaguers Emily Moore (outside hitter) and Mackenzie O’Connell (setter), second teamer Kennedey Stroshine (libero) and honorable mention selections Ireland Bennett (outside hitter) and Olivia Galletti (libero).
The talented, experienced squad will play in a 4A North that lost a lot to graduation in the spring.
McQueen, last year’s HDL champ, lost Player of the Year Aubrey Pitts and first-team selection Holly White. Bishop Manogue, last year’s regional champ, lost Player of the Year Katelyn Oppio and first-team selection Julia Wenzel. Damonte Ranch lost first teamers Morgan Waller and Megan Carlson. Carson is without Juliana Anderson, who was named to the first team, and Maddie Jergeson, who was named to the second team.
There is not a team in Northern Nevada that returns more talent and experience. However, regional titles aren’t won in August.
Can Sparks boys soccer break through?
The Railroaders only dropped two matches last year as they defended the 3A North crown. And they did it without arguably their most talented player, Jesus Partida, who watched from the sidelines after busting his knee in the offseason.
Partida will return this fall and play alongside Genaro Vazquez, who scored 21 goals last fall as a junior. Also returning for the Railroaders will be junior Bryan Munoz (nine goals as a sophomore) and senior Alexis Medina, who scored four goals and passed out 11 assists.
Only four seniors were on the 2015 team.
If the Railroaders advance to the 3A North title game and secure a state berth, they will immediately be forced to face some demons.
Sparks has qualified for state every season since winning it all in 2011, but is just 1-4 in the tournament with three losses coming to SECTA.
The Railroaders have the talent to break through. But state titles aren’t won in August, either.
How will new Reed coaches manage?
Reed Athletic Director Ryan Sims didn’t have a very relaxing summer. He spent the majority of it hiring new coaches, two of which will make their debuts this fall.
Menchaca will try to take the Raiders to the postseason, a place they haven’t been in the better part of the last decade. Morris will try to get the Raiders back to upper echelon in the High Desert League.
Nathan can also be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His weekly column, ‘Shoup Shots,’ runs in the hard copy of the Sparks Tribune every Tuesday morning.