Centennial track and field coach Roy Sessions had a theme for his boys and girls teams this season.
“I told our team all year we had a special group of kids,” he said. “Our motto was, ‘We won’t be outworked.’ ”
Sessions had two ambassadors for that philosophy in senior Nick Hartle and junior Tamera Williams, but the pair of Bulldogs were more than track stars.
Hartle, also a cross country runner, and Williams, a guard in basketball, have been named the Las Vegas Review-Journal’s High School Athletes of the Year.
“They’re just such good kids. What sticks out is they’re not about themselves,” Sessions said.
Bishop Gorman basketball prodigy Shabazz Muhammad isn’t the only local star headed to UCLA.
Hartle, who signed with the Bruins in February, enjoyed an absurdly successful track season.
He pulled off a quad at the Class 4A state meet, winning titles in the 400-meter run (47.79 seconds), the 800 (1:52.53), the 1,600 (4:18.03) and the 3,200 (9:28.27).
Hartle helped Centennial win its first track team state title.
“It was very difficult,” Hartle said. “I just went out with motivation. That’s all I really needed to push through all the turnarounds and the events.”
This after he set a Sunset Region meet record by winning the 1,600 in 4:18.00.
Hartle also claimed the 4A individual cross country state title last fall, winning the 3.1-mile race in 16:41 at Rancho San Rafael Regional Park in Reno.
But there is more to Hartle than medals and records. He owns a 4.78 weighted GPA, is set to be class salutatorian and tutors students on a variety of subjects.
There is little or no ego to go with Hartle’s accomplishments, a fact often on display after he crosses the finish line.
“If you watch one of his races, he’s turning around (after) to see what his teammates are doing behind him,” Sessions said. “He’s more focused on how his teammates are doing than his own success.”
Williams sprinted to accolades on the hardwood and track.
She averaged 10.8 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 steals, helping the Bulldogs (29-3) win the Sunset Region title on her way to third-team all-state honors.
The 5-foot-9-inch wing gets down the court with the same speed she shows exploding out of the starting blocks.
“(Speed) gets me through people,” said Williams, who is being recruited by Auburn, New Mexico and Texas Tech for basketball. “It helps with defense as well, being able to get a lot of steals and get to the basket.”
Williams won the 4A state title in the 200 in 24.65 to clinch the Bulldogs’ girls team championship. She was second in the state 100 final in 12.07 — losing by two hundredths of a second — and anchored the 400 relay that won in 47.70.
But like Hartle, Williams isn’t all about what she has accomplished.
“My best memory would be our boys and girls winning track,” Williams said of the team state titles. “That’s my best memory from this year.”