Teamwork drives Klapper to play sports

Senior Julia Kapper had 33 hits and 13 kills in her last two games last week and has become a rising star in the Muckers lineup.

Coach Harvey Gonzalez feels she is a phenomenal player.

“She is one of our captains and is a team leader. Julia will probably be an MVP candidate at the end of the year. She plays strong offensively and defensively, and is mentally strong in both areas,” he said.

Klapper is a three-sport athlete at Tonopah. She plays volleyball, basketball and softball and said she is hard-pressed to pick her favorite sport, but said she plays softball the best. She has been playing the game since she was 7 years old.

At the moment, Klapper is playing volleyball and was on the state championship team last year. She has played volleyball since the sixth grade.

“My team was awesome, we all loved each other. We all worked so well together. Coach Boni is one of my favorite coaches. I really miss her this year,” she said.

For Klapper, it’s like a whole new team even with six seniors, but her team is the favored team to take state again. Gonzalez works well with the girls and has them ready to start the new season. Klapper feels volleyball is up there with softball.

“Volleyball is one of my favorites equal to softball. I like working with my team. It’s just so much fun. Hitting is fun and serving makes me happy,” she said. “The team is a little different. It’s hard to play with a whole new team and it’s hard to learn everybody and what they do for you. We had good chemistry and we played really well in Pahrump. Compared to our Ely tournament, we were not clicking very much there and in Pahrump we were awesome.”

Even though Klapper has been playing since middle school, she still feels she needs work at her game.

“I am an outside hitter. It’s taken a long time to get to this point. It has taken a while and I am finally getting it.

“You need confidence, for sure and timing. You really have to know what you are doing. It’s all coming together and it takes a while to figure it out. Ms. Boni was big on our approaches, so we do the approach without hitting the ball and that really helped me,” she said.

Her goal this year is to win state again in volleyball. The team has got to play their hearts out and work hard.

Winning the state title last year taught her about working hard, but she believes she learned what heart was from her softball coach, Ken Jose.

“Julia is a great kid. She is quiet and nothing seems to faze her. She is a great softball player that probably could play in college. She works just as hard as her sister Brittany, and has just as much passion for the game,” Jose said.

Jose has been an integral coach in her life because he started coaching her at such a young age.

“He coached me as a young kid,” Klapper said. “I love him. He is so into the sport. He definitely taught me about heart and he really has taught me to care about the game. Some players don’t have that. I feel like I have that because of Ken Jose. He just drilled that into us that you have to have heart to do anything.”

Klapper showed the softball team what heart was, when during a game against a team from Coalville she tried to dislodge a ball from the first baseman who was built like a brick wall. The hit dislocated her shoulder on impact.

“I was running to first base and she was right on the baseline. I hit her, I was spinning in the air, so when I landed it popped back in,” she said. The injury kept her out for about a month, but she worked hard to overcome the pain to get back in the game. She still endures pain from that injury, but she says it’s nothing a little Ben-gay can’t take care of.

The whole reason Klapper plays is because of the team. She likes sports where it takes good chemistry to accomplish great things.

“In softball I think last year we were not working as a team, so this year we will have to do that, which will make every person better. When you work as a team, everyone gets better, not just a single person.

After high school, Klapper hopes to go to college and play a sport. At this time, she has no idea where she will be next year, but she does know she wants to go into the medical field to become an ultrasound technician.

For relaxation, this girl hates being inside the house. She takes her game to the great outdoors, where she enjoys deer hunting with her father and two other sisters old enough to hunt. Klapper has bagged four bucks since she turned 12. The hunter has learned how to kill a deer at 150 yards. She not only has learned to shoot with a scoped rifle, but knows how to use a muzzle loader, a black powder rifle similar to what Davy Crockett used. There were no dolls for this girl.

“I have killed the most bucks among my sisters. I use a seven mag. I am a good shot. My dad taught me to shoot. We all grew up with bb guns. We shot a lot of cans as little girls,” she said.

When asked if she thought of Bambi as a little girl, when she shot her first buck, she replied, “It’s not like that at all. You have to wake up at 3:30 a.m., then you got to drive there and you have to walk up a huge mountain. It is totally worth it, and a great feeling that you have accomplished something.”

She snickered at being called the Sarah Palin of Nevada. Her mother is a justice of the peace in Tonopah and she says she is going to stay away from politics.