Big Tahoe Winter Highlights the Need for Athletic Facilities


Ciera Lavigne

A sports dome would allow teams to play in winter season.

Sierra Jovanovic, Contributor

This year’s big winter brought a ton of snow to Lake Tahoe, making a positive impact on the community’s economy. But it also created a lot of concerns for some student athletes at Sierra Nevada College.

“With all the snow we have gotten this winter, it has been a major struggle for the SNC sports teams to do what they came here to do, which is practice,” said Hannah Hasbrouck, a senior on the women’s soccer team.

Tahoe Vista, the home field for SNC’s soccer and lacrosse teams, was covered in mounds of snow and slush all winter. Even in early April, the melting snow made the grassy playing field inaccessible for players to practice on. Coaches from the men’s lacrosse team and golf team held practices in Reno, a 35-minute drive from campus.

“Going over Mount Rose Highway starts to take a toll on you. When practice takes a four-hour chunk out of your night, you really have to know how to time manage, especially for most of us that have busy schedules,” said Brett Ungari, a senior on the lacrosse team.

The men’s and women’s soccer team have held most of their practices at Incline High School. Players say that practicing indoors is not the same as practicing outdoors. “It is great that we have the ability to use the high school gyms, but we cannot practice to our full potential,” said Allie Engberson, a sophomore on the women’s soccer team.

Hasbrouck added that the team has had to coordinate its practice time with the other SNC and Incline High school sports teams. “We have also had to hold our practices late in the evening after all the high school teams and events are done. We have not been able to get in the practices that we need and deserve,” she said.

Some athletes say that the only possible solution is for SNC to build its own weather-protected sports facility.

“When we went on our Minnesota trip, we played inside domes. It was a turf field with lines for soccer and lacrosse. It was an indoor driving range for golfers. The dome keeps the cold and snow out,” said Jacob Dubyak, a sophomore on the men’s lacrosse team.

“Having a facility on campus would not only improve the life of all athletes on campus, but would also help with the school’s growing numbers. More people would be attracted to SNC, and athletics would finally have the chance to prosper,” said Clinton Suppe, a junior on the men’s soccer team.

Dean of students Will Hoida acknowledged that the athletes’ desire for an on-campus practice facility is not a new request. “Last year we had this same discussion in the student forum. We proposed that if a student created a business plan for the facility, we would consider it. However, we still have not received any business plans,” said Hoida.

Athletic director Branko Zagar says that a future sports dome could depend on the teams’ success. “A dome is in the potential future. It all depends on how the current teams will be doing in the next few years. If there is improvement, then there is a very large possibility of getting a dome.”