Joaquin Rivas doesn’t much like talking about his achievements on the soccer field.
But the senior forward never lacked confidence in leading Las Vegas High to its second straight Class 4A state title this season.
“He’s very modest but extremely confident when he gets on the field,” Wildcats coach Vince Hart said. “It’s almost like Clark Kent taking off his street clothes and becoming Superman. He’s not mouthy; he just tells people what they need to do.”
It’s the same leadership Rivas, who has been named the Review-Journal’s 4A Boys Soccer Athlete of the Year, will bring to UNLV.
He plans on signing with the Rebels in February.
“I always wanted to stay home because of family and stuff,” Rivas said. “I’m going to work my behind off.”
Rivas had 34 goals and 18 assists this season, earning Northeast League Player of the Year honors while carrying the Wildcats to a 17-4 finish.
He also developed a reputation as a clutch player, coming up with the game-winning goal in the final minute of a 1-0 state semifinal win over Douglas.
“Not everybody gets an opportunity like that,” Rivas said of winning two straight state titles. “I’m lucky to get that.”
Hart said Rivas, a four-year starter, became an “impact player” his sophomore season.
“He’s a real student of the game and a pleasure to coach,” Hart said. “He’s going to do well in college because he understands the time that’s necessary and what kind of things he has to work on.”
Following is a list of the Review-Journal’s other fall Athletes of the Year:
4A: Evan Weinstock, Del Sol. A senior receiver/defensive back, Weinstock was a two-way all-state player and led the Dragons to the state title game.
3A/2A/1A: Garrett Gosse, The Meadows. A sophomore quarterback, Gosse led the Mustangs to their second straight 2A state title.
3A: Joel Medina, Virgin Valley. A senior midfielder, Medina was named Southern League MVP.
3A: Teal Collins, White Pine. A senior midfielder, Collins was named Southern League MVP.
4A: Taylor Richard, Silverado. A senior outside hitter, Richard had 19 kills in the state final, leading the Skyhawks over Green Valley. Signed with Western Michigan.
3A/2A/1A: Laura Walsh, The Meadows. A senior outside hitter, Walsh led the Mustangs to first 2A state title since 2002.
BOYS CROSS COUNTRY
4A: Nick Hartle, Centennial. A sophomore, Hartle placed fifth at the state meet and won the Sunset Region title.
3A/2A: Josh Thompson, Moapa Valley. A junior, Thompson won the 3A state title.
GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY
4A: Michelle Schenck, Shadow Ridge. A senior, Schenck placed fifth at the state meet and second at the Sunset meet. Orally committed to UNR.
3A/2A: Stephanie Adams, Boulder City. A junior, Adams won the 3A Southern League championship.
4A: Jenny Hahn, Green Valley. A junior, Hahn won the state title by eight strokes, leading the Gators to the team crown.
3A/2A: Felisha Baeza, Virgin Valley. A senior, Baeza won the 3A state title.
J.C. Pauli, Centennial. A senior, Pauli won the Sunset title.
Alexis Garrett, Durango. A junior, Garrett captured the state singles title.