Two Virgin Valley High School athletes are among the (NIAA) Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association’s 2011-12 Top Ten Student-Athletes of the Year.
William Lara and Halle Wakefield are to be honored Wednesday, May 23, at the Southern Nevada awards banquet, be held 6:30 p.m. at Sam's Town in Las Vegas.
Lara is a forward/midfielder in soccer, guard in basketball and swimmer, according to the NIAA release, announced in the Las Vegas Review-Journal and on nevada.preps.com. He earned a total of six varsity letters in the three sports. Lara also was named the Class 3A Southern League Most-Valuable Player and a first-team, all-state pick in soccer as a senior. He ranks No. 1 in a class of 142 with a weighted 4.75 Grade Point Average (GPA).
Lara said he plans on attending medical school and becoming a doctor in Mesquite.
Wakefield is a setter in volleyball, guard in basketball and pitcher in softball. She earned a total of seven varsity letters in the three sports.
Wakefield was a 3A second-team all-state pick in softball as a junior. With a weighted 4.757 GPA, she plans to study nursing at Brigham Young University..
The awards program for both Southern and Northern Nevada is sponsored by the NIAA, the non-profit governing body of high school athletics and activities in Nevada; the Farmers Insurance Group, the NIAA's co-presenting sponsor of both region and state championship events; and Lifetouch, the NIAA's official photography company.
The Northern Nevada banquet is be held Monday, May 21, 6 p.m. at the Peppermill in Reno.
According to the NIAA website (http://niaa.com), the “Top Ten Student-Athletes of the Year award is given to not just the top high school athletes in the Silver State but rather to those student-athletes who exemplify total school and community involvement. Special consideration in the selection process is given to student-athletes who participated in multiple sports, other school and student government activities, and community service projects while at the same time maintained a high academic status within their school.”
"This is an outstanding event which recognizes student-athletes who exemplify what high school activities and athletics are all about," said Eddie Bonine, NIAA Executive Director. "While the requirements sound restrictive, we know these student-athletes exist as evident by the group of individuals we have with us... It is our goal through the Top Ten program to find and honor these superb individuals."
To be a candidate, a student must be a senior.
Scholastic achievement (class rank, non-weighted grade point average, number of semesters on the honor roll, number of honors classes taken, and ACT and SAT scores), overall sports participation (number of varsity sports, number of varsity letters, and individual and team achievements), other contributions (school and church activities, and community service accomplishments), an essay, and letters of recommendation, are all considered in making the award, according to the NIAA.
Winners receive commemorative awards from the NIAA and its sponsors. The awards include a $1,500 (one-time) scholarship (courtesy of the Farmers Insurance Group), a souvenir portrait (courtesy of Lifetouch Photography), a Top Ten souvenir newspaper edition (courtesy of the Las Vegas Review-Journal and the Reno Gazette-Journal) and a NIAA Courtesy Card. Winners are asked to invite seven guests, free of charge courtesy of Lifetouch, to share in the banquet.
The Top Ten Student-Athletes of the Year award banquets began in 1996. The banquets are presented by the Farmers Insurance Group and Lifetouch National School Studios, Inc.
Other winners of the award in Sothern Nevada include: Toyokazu Endo, Durango; Trent Gneiting, Palo Verde; Garrett Gosse, The Meadows; Megan Hamrick, Pahrump Valley; Holly Laswell, Needles; Max Newman, The Meadows; Janika Ross, Boulder City; and Renee Vogel, Faith Lutheran.