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Rancho’s Apodaca awarded top Northeast honor

On the field, Stephanie Apodaca’s teammates called her “the General” of Rancho’s girls soccer team.

The senior midfielder’s leadership was key to the Rams’ second straight Northeast League title and playoff win.

For inspiring that run, Apodaca was named Northeast League Player of the Year, as voted on by league coaches following the regular season. The distinction also earned her spots on the All-Southern Nevada and All-Sunrise Region teams.

“She was a team captain, and at practice and at games, she took the lead and led by example,” Rancho coach John Besancon said. “She’s a natural leader. She’s a true leader on the field.”

Apodaca, who plans to go to college in Australia in the next two years, had seven goals and eight assists this season. But her contributions often went further than the box score.

“She never quit on anything,” Besancon said. “Even when games got tough, she stayed with it.”

Desert Pines’ C.J. Johnson was named Northeast League Coach of the Year after leading the Jaguars to a postseason berth.

Kayla Varner of Green Valley was named Southeast Player of the Year, and Liberty’s Eric Rolwing took Coach of the Year.

Southwest Player of the Year went to Bishop Gorman junior Haley Wingender, while Clark’s Liz Case was named Coach of the Year.

Palo Verde swept the major awards in the Northwest League, with Lauren Kaskie earning Player of the Year honors and Frank Messina being named Coach of the Year.

■ BASKETBALL HONORS — Coaches voted Lincoln County senior point guard Dantley Walker the Class 2A State Player of the Year in boys basketball for the second straight season.

Walker, who plans to sign with UNLV in April before leaving on a two-year Mormon mission in August, averaged 36.2 points and 10.3 assists as a senior. This season, the 5-foot-11-inch sharpshooter became the state’s all-time leader in points (3,304) and assists (887).

Agassi Prep’s William Hopkins and Incline’s Brian Broaddus shared Coach of the Year. Hopkins guided the Stars past Incline 89-50 in the 2A state championship game for the school’s first state title since it opened in 2001.

First-team honors also went to Agassi Prep forwards Quincy Brown and Kalinn Jackson, The Meadows forward Garrett Gosse, Mountain View guard Justyn Anderson and Needles guard Michael Hills.

In girls basketball, Pershing County sophomore guard Sarita Jo Condie took Player of the Year, and Steve Cerini was named Coach of the Year after leading the Mustangs to their first state title.

Needles forward Gena Chavira and Lincoln County post Melanie Florence were named to the first team.

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