State titles are on the line.
This regional weekend marks the make-or-break point for six Fallon athletic programs. Two — softball and boys track — have their eyes on an unprecedented third consecutive state championship.
Lester de Braga’s baseball club looks to capture its second title in three years, while the Lady Wave tracksters look to sneak their onto the podium as well.
For the first time in years, the Greenwave swimmers will bring home some hardware from the regional and state meets.
Regionals, though, is just the stepping stone. Sure a regional trophy would be nice, but the ultimate goal is to get to state and bring back an even better trophy.
The softball club took its licks this season, losing three league games including two against rival Fernley. Despite the hiccups, Bill Archer’s club will not go down without a fight.
The Lady Wave open against Lowry today, who nipped Fallon 4-2 early in the season. But the way Fallon has played of late shows the experience molded with youth is ready for the challenge.
A Fallon-Fernley regional final — and state title for that matter — would be awesome on many levels. Many of the players know each other, and the coaches are two at the top of their game.
On the baseball diamond, de Braga’s club looks sharp except for some head-scratching base running blunders. Running the bases is such a key element of the game, but if the Wave keep shooting themselves in the foot, they have no shot at a state title.
Taking two or three runs off the board — let alone one — is too much to consistently overcome when facing the best teams. The free outs shorten the game and put added pressure on the pitching staff to be perfect.
Slowing the game down mentally will work wonders for Fallon. Once in a calm state of mind, the players becomes relaxed and can let the game come to them. Let the circus strangle another club.
Steve Heck’s boys are the cream of the crop yet again in the Northern Division I-A. Now, the Wave must do it on the track and send notice to the south it will take more than a few speedsters to end Fallon’s rein.
Heck, though, knows schools like Chaparral, Mojave and several others will challenge for the crown. The status quo will keep Fallon in the mix, but those fringe athletes who put forth everything they have for two days will likely determine if Fallon keep its place atop the mountain.
In the pool, Fallon’s swimmers are experiencing for the first time what their classmates have endured for three of four years — a pressure situation.
The Lady Wave have qualified five individuals, all three relays and a have a legitmate shot at a top three team finish. Sensational senior swimmers Sam Martin, Tina Anderson, Lyndsey Thurston and Alex Lynch can — with strong performances — start a lasting legacy.
Should one or all four nab a state title or two, it will allow the program to fight for athletes and no longer be on the outside looking in. Winning breeds exposure and intrigue, and the Lady Wave have the chance to change the culture of the program.
Steve Puterski is the sports editor for the Lahontan Valley News and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.