Each year, the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association selects 20 statewide senior student-athletes who have excelled on and off the playing surface and names them to the Northern Nevada or Southern Nevada Top 10.
Special consideration is given for lettering in multiple sports, relative academic success within the school, extracurricular participation beyond sport, community service, and demonstrating “high personal standards.”
“This is an outstanding event which recognizes student-athletes who exemplify what high school activities and athletics are all about,” NIAA Assistant Director Donnie Nelson said last year. “While the requirements sound restrictive, we know these student-athletes exist as evident by the group of individuals we have with us tonight. It is our goal through the Top 10 program to find and honor these superb individuals.”
The Northern Nevada Top 10 was revealed last Wednesday and three local student athletes were named: Reed’s Sam King-Shaw, Reed’s Matt Garcia and Sparks’ Matt Longland.
Reed’s Sam King-Shaw and Matt Garcia, as well as Sparks’ Matt Longland, named NIAA Northern Nevada Top 10.
Banquet April 26 at Peppermill.
— Nathan Shoup (@Trib_Shoup) March 22, 2017
“We’re extremely proud of both Mathew and Samantha,” Reed Athletic Directory Ryan Sims said. “The time they’ve put into their studies, and their community, and their school is tremendous. (We are) extremely, extremely proud of those two.
“We know it’s very uncommon for a school to have a male and female athlete. They’re great role models.”
Garcia was one of the best defensive players in the region on gridiron in the fall, earning all-region honors at linebacker. In the winter, he garnered honorable mention accolades for the basketball team.
King-Shaw won the 4A state cross country meet in November and was later named the Nevada Gatorade Girls Cross Country Athlete of the Year. On the track, she won the 3200-meter state title last spring.
“It’s amazing how they (Garcia and King-Shaw) can have so much time to be so committed to everything and everyone around them and still excel in the classroom,” Sims added.
Longland averaged nearly 15 points and five rebounds a game for the basketball team this winter and earned second-team all-league honors. A returning all-state baseball selection, Longland is hitting .650 this spring for the Railroaders (5-2, 2-1) with three home runs, seven RBIs and seven stolen bases.
He’s also thrown a team-high 12 innings (1.17 ERA) and has allowed just two earned runs on eight hits while striking out 19 and walking only six.
Longland, Garcia and King-Shaw will be honored, along with the rest of the NIAA Northern Nevada Top 10, at a banquet held on April 26 at the Peppermill in the Tuscany Ballroom.
Each student-athlete will receive a $500 scholarship from Lifetouch Photography and can bring seven guests. Additional attendees will be charged $40.
Hayley Collins (North Valleys), Graciela De Leon (Fernley), Kyra Hunsberger (Reno), Cardayell Morgan (North Valleys), Connor Pearson (Reno), Peyton Sakelaris (Galena) and Whitney Sakelaris (Fallon) were the other NIAA Northern Nevada Top 10 selections.
Two locals were selected last year: Reed’s Matt Denn and Spanish Springs’ Lauryn Massic.
Nathan can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His weekly column, ‘Shoup Shots,’ was named the best column in the state of Nevada (community division) by the Nevada Press Association. It runs in the hard copy of the Sparks Tribune every Tuesday morning.