Even with a bevy underclassmen, the Fallon girls track team still figures to be in the mix for regional and state titles.
The Lady Wave return only 11 upperclassmen but feature 24 freshmen and sophomores. Nevertheless, coach Paul Orong’s expectation to compete for the program’s first Division I-A state title is still the goal.
First up, though, is Saturday’s meet at 9 a.m. against Fernley and Dayton at the Edward Arciniega Complex.
“We always have expectations of winning a state title,” Orong said. “We don’t rebuild, we reload. This year … we are very, very young. We have a lot of talent, and now we have to put them in the right places.”
To reach that goal, Fallon will rely on senior star Elena Murray, who won a pair of individual state championships at last year’s Division I-A state meet.
Murray won the 100-meter hurdles (15.93 seconds) and the triple jump (35 feet, 7.25 inches), and took fourth in the long jump (17-0.75) and sixth in the 200 (27.14).
She is the Lady Wave’s most versatile athlete and gives Orong a range of events. Murray, once again, is expected to compete for titles in the long and triple jumps and the hurdles.
Her fourth event, though, is still to be determined by Orong.
“We are probably expecting three or four state championships,” he said of Murray. “It will depend whether we put her in a relay or find an open event.”
One blow for Fallon, though, is the absence of former pole vaulting state champ Maddie Alegre, who also took third last season.
While Alegre will not be on the track, Fallon returns sprinter Kieran LeBlanc.
LeBlanc provides Orong with a strong presence in the 100 and 200 as well as other events too.
Newcomers Leann Stands and Misaki Clare, meanwhile, provide depth to Emily Coleman and Savannah Lamb in the shot put and discus. Orong also said Alesia Billips and Cassidy East will provide talent in several events.
“They are going to help us really well in the throws,” Orong said of Stands and Clare.
Also carrying the load will be senior mid-distance runner Allison Shirley and sophomore Patricia Leggett. Orong said Shirley and Leggett both should qualify for state, while Leggett may be the best 400 runner in the DI-A.
“She is going to help us a lot,” Orong said of Leggett.
Despite the fresh faces, the first several meets will allow Orong to tinker with the lineup and determine the best chance of success for each athlete.
The sprints, though, were a concern last year and Orong is still sorting out who will become the top runners for the Lady Wave.
Two of those who are battling to reach the state meet are LeBlanc and LeAnn Mounce, who Orong said will compete with the best in the North.
“That’s something we will see come Saturday,” he added. “We have some kids who have good speed. We have some big holes to fill.”