Parents, Staff and Students Praise McQueen Drug Testing Program

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The Lancers are always making headlines with their solid football team, but earlier this year, they made news for something else.

A couple of months ago McQueen became the first school in Washoe County to randomly test its player for drugs.

Lancer football takes pride in being one of northern Nevada's finest programs and also one of its cleanest. But last school year, parents and coaches saw that legacy being threatened.
"We saw an increase in drug and alcohol incidents," said Athletic Director Eric Borja. "And we felt it was something that we should look into as a way we can kind of head things off in the past before they got to be a bigger problem here at McQueen."

The staff responded by implementing a drug-testing program that started in August and finishes at the end of the football season. Each week, twelve football players from varsity; junior varsity and the freshmen squad are randomly tested for alcohol and drugs like marijuana and steroids.

"I've known some players that have used them and they've gotten caught," said Josh Felton who plays freshman football at McQueen. "I think it is a big problem, but with this drug testing policy, I don't think it's going to be that big of a problem any more."

"I'm comfortable with it because I think it's a good idea," said Shane Wicks, also on the freshman football team. "It helps our players out, makes sure they stay clean and it helps overall with football, so it doesn't worry me at all."

A positive test leads to a suspension and a third violation makes a player ineligible for the rest of his high school career. But so far, not a single player has tested positive and one parent says the athletes and the teams are better than ever.

"I think it's brought them closer together," said Tonya Stolo, whose son Anthony plays quarterback for the Lancers varsity team. "Because they find other things to do on the weekends other than going to parties and they hang out together. And I think that's why McQueen has been so successful is because as a team they do everything together and taking the drugs out of the system has made them find other things to do."

The program is supposed to end when the football season finishes up, but the Borja says a lot of other coaches are encouraging him to continue it.