The award, which is picked by the Tribune sports staff, goes to the top male high school athlete from one of the Rail City’s three high schools, Sparks, Reed and Spanish Springs.
“A lot of what makes him a good athlete is his natural ability,” Sparks track coach Adam Barrett said. “He also works hard and is extremely competitive. He just doesn’t like the idea that somebody is better than him at anything.”
Orellana placed in four events at the 3A State Track and Field Championships two weeks ago and medaled in three. He also earned 3A North all-league honors in both football and basketball.
In track, Orellana won the state title in the triple jump with a mark of 46-feet 1-inch. That effort was nearly four feet better than his nearest 3A competitor and it was three inches better than the mark of Nevada’s 4A (large school) champion, Jevon Brown of Hug.
“It was pretty cool because in the beginning of the meet, before the 4A’s went, I was talking to those guys and joking around,” Orellana said. “I told them, ‘you know I’m going to beat your right.’ They kept telling me ‘you’re no good.’ I had to show them. They were all shocked. They probably didn’t think a 3A kid could beat the 4A guys. It was a good day.”
Orellana followed up his triple jump prowess by finishing second in the long jump, with a mark of 20-feet 2.25-inches, and second in the discus, with a toss of 142-feet. In addition, he was seventh in the 200 meters with a time of 23.66.
“I’ve had coaches tell me I’m pretty good in all the events, so maybe I should try the decathlon,” Orellana said. “I’d try it. It’s more fun than just doing one or two things.
Orellana was interviewed by phone Wednesday. The SHS standout was on his way to Albuquerque, NM to compete at the prestigious Great Southwest Track and Field Championships, one of the top prep events in the country.
The 18-year-old began competing in sports at a young age. His athletic accolades have given him the chance to go away to college. Orellana is set to attend Lakeland college in Sheboygan, Wis. He plans to compete in football and track for the midwest university.
“Sports keep me going,” Orellana said. “If it wasn’t for sports, I wouldn’t be the same person I am right now. Ever since I was little, I’ve been playing sports. My dad got me started in sports and when I got to middle school, I just did whatever I could.”
Orellana’s stellar senior school year started with the fall football season where he played both on the offensive and defensive side of the pigskin. Offensively, he lined up at both receiver and tight end. He was named to the 3A North’s all-league honorable mention list as a receiver. His versatility allowed Railroaders football coach Rob Kittrell to play him in a myriad of positions on defense as well.
“He was second team receiver as a junior and then honorable mention as a senior, but that was more due to our inability to move the ball on offense, not really anything against him,” Kittrell said. “Offensively, he’s a great blocker and has got great hands and then defensively, he’s probably more of a true cornerback, but we moved him to play more linebacker and defensive end. He accepted his role, whatever it was. He always put the team first.”
Sandwiched between fall football and spring track was a winter to remember for Orellana. He helped the Railroaders to a 3A state championship on the basketball hardwood, Sparks High’s first hoops state crown in 70 years.
Orellana was named honorable mention all-league and all-state for his basketball skills.
“He was very dependable and hard working,” Sparks boys basketball coach Dick Lee said. “Team success always came first. He always wanted and accepted the challenge of defending the other team’s best player.”
Orellana is the son of Mario Orellana and Gladys Vega.