Young but with more experience, the Greenwave boys track and field team is poised to challenge the top teams in the 3A North.
Fallon returns most of its state qualifiers and welcomes several newcomers who will help contribute to the team competing against the best in the league. Returning one of the state’s best throwers and three of last year’s state relay teams, Fallon coach Steve Heck sees a good mix of veterans and newcomers this year.
“We are still young this year,” Heck said. “Last year we really had to rely on our freshman and sophomores and they really stepped up to the challenge. This year we have a nice core of upperclassman taking leadership roles. With their guidance and the talented group of younger kids, we should be very competitive.”
Senior T.J. Mauga returns as the state’s No. 1 discus thrower and will also compete in the shot put after taking second in the discus and fifth in the shot put at state. Sophomore Colton Peterson finished eighth and 1.03 seconds from first in the 200 meter last year and all members of the 4x200 relay team, which finished fourth ahead of Fernley and Elko, also return. Juniors Drake Copley and Broder Thurston, and sophomore Reid Clyburn and Peterson are back along with senior Joseph Terry and junior J.R. Demillo from the 4x800 team that finished eighth at state.
“Our sprinters ended last year on a high note,” Thurston said. “Our relay teams pulled through and beat Fernley. It was a good way to end the year.”
Also returning are senior John Kirkland (jumps and hurdles), senior Billy Coleman (throws), sophomore Justin Cathey (distance), sophomore Bryan Duenas (jumps), sophomore Ryan Bitter (jumps), sophomore Trevor East (jumps and hurdles), junior Trevor Brown (hurdles), junior Clayton Steelmon (sprints and relays) and sophomore Spencer Knight (pole vault).
“We have depth in the sprints, which will allow us to put together some good relay teams,” said Heck, who will be coaching the sprinters and hurdlers. “We also had several kids fall just short of qualifying last year so I am hoping to get a few more kids qualified to state.”
Heck’s excited for his new group, which includes junior Micah Whitaker, whom he expects to compete in the running and jumping events. Angelo Vann (triple jump), sophomore Tristen Mathisen (sprints), freshman Zeke Washington (sprints and high jump), and freshman Bryan Ugalde and sophomore Garrett Tognazzini (distance) also had strong outings last weekend.
“We are once again a fairly young team and we have some new young talent that look to make an impact right off the bat,” Heck said.
Heck feels good about Fallon competing in the hurdles with his young group and he’s not worried about his long and triple jumpers, who appear strong this season.
“Our young group from last year really excelled and they are picking up right where we left off,” Heck said about the hurdle group. “This group should score a lot of points this year and I anticipate getting a few hurdlers to state.”
Regarding the jumpers, Heck feels this is one of his more experienced groups as four to five can reel off a “big jump at any time.” Heck said the high jump field will be open this year but 6 feet will be the mark to hit this year.
“It will be fun this year to see which athletes develop and have a shot at state,” he said.
Where Fallon lacks will be pole vault but Heck said several came back with a year of experience. He’s excited to see them take the next step this year.
“Vaulting takes time to learn, but I think we have a couple athletes who are ready to take the next step to some quality heights,” Heck added.
Along with Mauga, Heck said Ben Dooley, who finished second at state in wrestling, was strong after last weekend’s opening meet. He’s been pleased with the younger throwers so far.
“I think our throwing staff will have a couple of the younger kids in the points by the end of the season,” he said.
The distance runners are coming together well and Heck expects them to be competitive and turn into another solid 4x800 team.
“Our distance core is developing nicely,” he added. “We have a well-rounded group of both upperclassmen and younger talent.”
Terry, who’s taken over since record-breaker Tristen Thomson graduated last year, put more time in the offseason with training and feels good about this year’s distance group.
“I want to do a lot better with the mile this year,” said Terry, who’s gunning to shave 20 seconds off his 1600. “We started to gradually accumulate more people on the distance squad. I feel like we can go to state. It takes a certain group to run distance”
Helping Heck coach this year will be Paul Orong (long and triple jumps), Matt Reibsamen (pole vault), Bert Serrano (throws), Keith Sluyter (throws), Cameron Page (throws), Brendan Orong (high jump) and Trevin Goodrick (distance).