The book of the 2016-17 prep athletic calendar closed over the weekend with several state tournaments held in Las Vegas.
Of all the possible adjectives to describe the outcomes, surprising would not make the cut. Status quo, ordinary, typical are far more appropriate.
Seven 4A team state titles were decided over the past week (boys golf state tournament was last Monday and Tuesday). Exactly none went to Northern Nevada schools.
Centennial breezed to a sweep the boys and girls track titles. Palo Verde hoisted boys and girls swimming as well as boys golf and softball state championship trophies. Basic won the baseball title.
Going back to 2011, N. Nevada is 2-17 vs S. Nevada in the 4A/DI state baseball tournament while getting outscored 144-75.
— Nathan Shoup (@Trib_Shoup) May 18, 2017
Nineteen team state championships were decided this year. Northern Nevada won three: Boys soccer (Galena), boys cross country (Spanish Springs) and girls cross country (Reno).
And this year was not an anomaly. Including the 2016-17 athletic year, over the last 11 years, Northern Nevada has won 47 of 209 team state titles. That number plummets to 33 of 187 (17.6%) when excluding Northern Nevada’s 13 cross country titles over that span. Reno has a distinct advantage over Las Vegas in that sport.
Since the fall of 2006, the number of state titles in major sports (football, boys basketball and baseball) for Northern Nevada is two letters from being displayed on the side of Oregon’s football helmets: One. The 2008 McQueen football team ended Vegas’ shutout.
This all despite the Reno baseball dynasty that won five-straight regional titles before this year, and Reed football, which also had its streak of five-straight regional titles ended in the fall.
Consider the laughable enrollment disparities between the 4A South and 4A North and many a casual observer is left to ponder how it is that Las Vegas “competes” with Reno for state titles.
Of course, these statistics are relevant because in late March, the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Board of Control met to discuss and vote on, among other agenda items, a potential 5A classification in Las Vegas. The move would divide the 25 large-school Vegas programs while a decision was to be made whether the 4A North would move up to the 5A class or stay down.
The 4A North said, not unanimously, it prefers to avoid the likes of Bishop Gorman and Centennial and stay at the 4A level. The BOC, which has acted one part out of due diligence and one part out of fear, opted to delay the vote.
Months later, the 4A North has not changed its mind as another BOC meeting looms in June. It is unlikely a vote is cast next month, however. The polarizing deed will likely wait until at least September – one year before the proposed realignment will take place starting in the fall of 2018.
The pride card has, and will continue, to be played by the pro-5A crowd in Northern Nevada. To be the best, you must beat the best, they say. That’s certainly fair. But after going 1-for-the-last-44 (and the number is likely even larger) in football, boys basketball, wrestling, and baseball state tournaments, maybe those wins aren’t going to come. Maybe the ever-expanding talent gap is too wide. Maybe the enrollment aberration is insurmountable. Maybe Vegas is in a league of its own.
Maybe they should come up with a name for that, say, the 5A South.
That is what the NIAA BOC must decide on in June, or September, or whenever a vote is finally cast.
Nathan can be reached via email at email@example.com or 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. Nathan’s weekly radio show airs Fridays at noon on ESPN Radio 94.5 FM.