It’s going to be a scary season for the Lady Wave track and field team.
“We’re going to be right up there to win the regional title. This is the first year ever we’ve been this loaded with the kids that we have to make a run,” Fallon girls coach Paul Orong said. “That includes the year we took the runner-up. In some areas, we can be dominant and not just in the jumps. We’ve got some sprinters. Now we can spread it out a bit. We can be good in many events.”
Fallon returns last year’s nucleus and is in position to challenge not just the region — but the state — this spring. Led by Utah State signee Whitney Skabelund, Fallon’s core headlines the jumping categories as well as the throwing events. The Lady Wave has the potential to sweep most of the field events come time for the regional meet.
“We had a meeting just for the girls and six, seven girls stood up and told them this is a special year,” Orong said. “I don’t have to tell the older girls to help the younger girls. They just go out there and do it. This is by far the best girls team I’ve ever had. And I’ve had some pretty good ones.”
The path to claiming a regional — and even state — title begins with the jumping corps.
Skabelund is one of the best in the state after winning the long and triple jump titles last year. She said there’s different pressure this year after signing her intent to jump at a Division I school next year.
“Not from other people but there’s some already because I made the commitment and I have to prove myself that I’m worthy of the scholarship,” she said.
But Skabelund is focused on the team this spring and wants the regional and state trophies to be displayed on campus after this year. It wouldn’t hurt to break some school records, either.
“We have the potential to take the regional trophy,” she said. “I want to see someone break a school record this year. Our school records are insane.”
Skabelund is in good company as seniors Cassidy East and C.C. Ramos, juniors Brynlee Shults, Sierra and Shelby Hickox, and Emily Evett, sophomores Allie Lister and Glenda Lee, and freshman Savannah Robinson will battle on the runway.
Shults is in good position to stand out in multiple events this year, which she attributed to the basketball season keeping her in shape. She was part of last month’s state-title, history-making team that won it all in Las Vegas.
“I felt like basketball got in me in pretty good shape,” she said. “I really hope most of us can make it to state.”
In the high jump pit, Shelby Hickox, Evett, junior Jordyn Dahl, Lister and Robinson will compete against each other.
“Everybody’s back. It’s kind of bittersweet for me,” said Orong, whose specialty is coaching the jumping group. “My jumpers in high school have literally grown up together. They’re best of friends. They pull for each other. They feed off each other. What more can a coach ask for?
“It’s pretty good. That’s a pretty impressive group. That’s up there when we had the Aarik Wilson group with the boys. Barring injuries, it’s going to be pretty scary.”
Seniors Misaki Claire, LeAnn Stands and Lillie Wohle lead the throwing group and pose a threat to dominate the region.
“I care a lot more than last year. This year, I’m taking it more seriously. I’m more mature,” said Stands, who took third at state last year in the discus.
Juniors Gracy Lisanti and Allie Marrujo, sophomore Chandler McAlexander and freshman Tiffany Sorensen round out the group.
“This is the deepest we’ve been in the throws since I’ve been coaching,” Orong said. “We expect a lot from them. It’s going to be a pretty fun ride. We’re pretty much loaded. Our veterans have come back stronger than ever. This is a different team. They work hard.”
In the sprints, freshman Kyndal Collins stole the show over the weekend in the three-team meet. She won the 100 and 200 in the first high school meet of her career.
“It felt nerve-racking going up against upperclassmen,” Collins said. “I like running. I ran since I was little. Running is my thing.”
Several athletes will also be running the 100 and 200, including the Hickox sisters, Wohle, Evett, Jordyn Dahl, and Lee and Ebner. Robinson and Dahl will run the 400, Shelby Hickox will compete in the 1600 and senior Amanda Pursley will be doing the 3200. Sierra Hickox, Evett and Shults also competed on the 4x100 team and Evett, Hickox and Skabelund were on the 4x200 team at last year’s state meet, both of whom placed seventh.
“We’re looking to get better now. It’s better than we thought going into the year,” Orong said. “It starts with Kyndal. We’re real young. It’s going to be a very competitive group. They just came out from all over the place. It’s something I’m really happy with.”
Orong, though, said he needs more girls to run the mid- and long-distance events.
“Right now, we’re going to have to find some,” he said. “We’re going to have to create some. We’re probably going to mix and match. I think we have the makings from the talent we have to come up with a good 4x800 team. One thing I’m real happy with is we have a great group of kids. They’re coachable. They’re a team-first type of group.”
The hurdle crew included Ebner, Lister, sophomore Mayla Dahl, Shelby Hickox, Skabelund and Ramos.
“We’re going to be a lot stronger in the hurdles,” Orong said.
Helping Orong coach this year will be Steve Heck (sprints and hurdles), Matt Reibsamen (pole vault), Bert Serrano (throws), Keith Sluyter (throws), Cameron Page (throws), Brendan Orong (high jump) and Trevin Goodrick (distance).