Pahrump Valley High School graduate Grant Odegard has been named one of Southern Nevada’s Top 10 Student-Athletes of the Year by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.
The NIAA and One Nevada Credit Union awarded $20,000 in scholarship funds to Nevada student-athletes, with 10 each named from Northern Nevada and Southern Nevada.
The student-athletes of the year awards are presented to the top students who excel in sports, maintain a high academic status and volunteer in their community, according to the NIAA.
“I heard a couple weeks ago, and of course I was very surprised,” Odegard said. “There are some phenomenal student-athletes in Southern Nevada, so I am extremely honored to be recognized for my accomplishments in the classroom and in sports.”
The award is especially significant in that it does not recognize gender, school size or specific sports played. The top 10 are honored, whether they be male or female; play football, softball or tennis; or come from a Class 4A powerhouse or a tiny Class 1A school.
Spring Valley High School had two honorees, while Reno High School had three of the top 10 in Northern Nevada. No other school had more than one.
“The spirit of the Silver State is embodied in high school athletics and activities,” NIAA Executive Director Bart Thompson said. “The top 10 winners we honored this year have achieved and maintained an exceptionally high level of excellence in all aspects of their lives. These will be our future leaders.
“They were dealt a horrible blow at the conclusion of their high school career. They have risen up, and they move forward. They will continue to make a positive difference in our communities.”
The annual awards banquets to honor the student-athletes have been canceled to prevent the spread of COVID-19, but the winners will still be presented with a $1,000 scholarship and special commemorative program at special presentations throughout the state later this month.
“We’re proud to celebrate these student-athletes for their outstanding achievements,” One Nevada President and CEO Paul Parrish said. “It’s profoundly unfortunate that many student-athletes missed out on their last sports season. Still, we’re inspired by their perseverance to continue being outstanding students while giving back to their communities. That’s why we’re so pleased to award each of them a college scholarship in support of their education journey.”
Odegard participated in cross country, basketball and track and field for the Trojans.
The NIAA also awards state academic team champions, based on team grade-point averages, in each of its sponsored sports. These are statewide awards by classification. The Pahrump Valley girls golf team placed second in Class 3A with a 3.66 GPA. The only other Nye County program to place in the top three of its class was the Tonopah girls basketball team, which won Class 1A with a 3.90 GPA.
NIAA Top 10 Southern Nevada Student-Athletes
Taylor Bair, Foothill
Gabriel Belt, Needles
Zachary Billot, Spring Valley
Russell Bodily, Moapa Valley
Ladd Cox, Boulder City
Jenifer Thanh Do, Spring Valley
Nathalie Lagamayo, Virgin Valley
Grant Odegard, Pahrump Valley
Vanessa Sanchez, Chaparral
Sadie Soderborg, Lincoln County