Not since the Donner party have the folks in Lake Tahoe, Calif.,
so touched a nerve by devouring the weak. Athletes from Truckee
and North Tahoe high schools won six of seven Nevada
Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA) championships last
fall, which has Nevadans hoppin' mad, given that the two schools
are located in California. "We're going to prove that our
students, athletes and parents don't want these California
schools in Nevada," says Jeff Knutson, the football coach at
Moapa Valley High in Overton, Nev.
Counters Truckee principal Dennis LeBlanc, whose Wolverines went
12-0 en route to the Nevada State football title, "Show some
integrity. Wait until we start losing a lot and then kick us
Truckee and North Tahoe were invited to play in the NIAA in
1981, when the Nevada schools needed help filling out their
athletic schedules. The California schools were only too happy
to oblige, thereby alleviating the need to traverse the often
impassable Donner Pass, where stranded settlers once infamously
ate their dead, to play other California schools. At issue is
whether Truckee and North Tahoe have become too gluttonous. The
Truckee football team beat Bishop-Manogue High 28-14 on Nov. 20
for its fourth Nevada State title of the 1990s. Truckee's girls'
soccer team beat Incline High 3-2 for its third straight state
crown. Says Knutson, "We're denying our kids the right to win
their own championships."
In November, Fernley (Nev.) High principal Eddie Bonine sent out
an informal survey asking whether Truckee and North Tahoe should
remain in the NIAA. Of the 18 schools in Class 3A, including
Truckee and North Tahoe, 13 voted. Only five weighed in against
the California schools--far short of the two-thirds majority
required to oust an NIAA member. Says Knutson, "We never even
got the survey. We're mailing letters to every principal in
Nevada asking them to allow a petition."
January 11, 1999