As 2013 comes to a close next week, many Top 10 lists are starting to flood publications and the Internet.
From ranking the best in video games to movies to fashion styles, the year has produced both expected and surprising results.
In the sports world, most fans didn’t have any problems guessing the Heat would win another NBA title or Boston coming back from a dismal season and the marathon bombing to win the World Series two months ago.
Locally, expectations haven’t been high for Wolf Pack sports but hardly anyone pegged the men’s basketball team to finish last in the Mountain West. With a new regime on the football field, I was optimistic that Nevada could pull a winning record or at least break even.
For the Greenwave, the high school continues to amaze us by putting together championship-caliber teams in all three seasons. From the girls basketball team being 10 seconds away from a state berth to the softball team losing to archrival Fernley in the state title game to the football team finishing as the best in the region, success at Fallon is becoming the norm as it once was more than 20 years ago.
Breaking away from tradition, here are the top five Greenwave moments for 2013 as well as the top five things to look forward to in the new year.
Top 5 Greenwave Moments in 2013
1. Football reaches state championship game
The Greenwave football team had the tools to reach this plateau last year, but depth issues caused by injuries prevented Fallon from winning a playoff game. With a more mature team as well as several key underclassmen, Fallon defeated Fernley and Moapa Valley to advance to the state title game for the first time since 1978. The Greenwave, though, lost to Faith Lutheran, 17-0.
2. Fernley avenges regional title loss
The Lady Wave softball team lost the season series against Fernley but got the best of the Vaqueros during the Northern Division I-A regional tournament as Fallon won the crown in Winnemucca. Fernley, though, dropped Fallon into the consolation bracket at state but the Lady Wave came back to meet their nemesis in the title game. Despite having a big lead in the championship, Fallon saw Fernley claw back to shock and dethrone the Lady Wave after their two-straight titles.
3. Last-second layup ends state hopes
The Fallon girls basketball team had a rocky start to the season but came together in strong fashion when it mattered most. After grabbing the lead with a free throw and 10 seconds left, Fallon saw Spring Creek, a state favorite, grab the rebound off the second free throw attempt and race down the floor for the game-winning layup. The Spartans earned a berth to state with the win before winning the regional crown the next day.
4. Seniors continue onto the next level
Continuing their sports careers at the college level isn’t as rare as it used to be 10 years ago for the Greenwave. Several Fallon seniors signed their letters in late spring with a few beginning their collegiate career this past fall. Cady Cordes and Kelsey Reibsamen lit up the volleyball court, Tanner Boone competed in cross country and Dylan Tedford, Tyson Ernst and Trevor Parsons were on the gridiron despite injuries and using a redshirt.
5. Wrestling stumbles in state championship
Fallon’s wrestling team was not going to catch Lowry for the state title. No one was. But the Greenwave sent several wrestlers to the championship round and a chance for a second-place team finish. It didn’t work out as each wrestler lost and Fallon ended the year with a fourth-place finish in the state tournament.
Top 5 Greenwave Questions for 2014
1. Will Fallon win a state championship?
For the first time since realignment, Fallon did not win a state title during the 2012-2013 school year. But the Greenwave came close several times and many teams will be expected to reach state in the upcoming year. The girls basketball team has a good chance to duplicate last year’s run as well the spring sports like baseball, softball and track.
2. Who will win the state softball title?
Fallon and Fernley return nearly everybody as the Vaqueros’ defend their title. These two cross-valley schools have battled for supremacy since Fallon’s first year in the DI-A as the Lady Wave won the first two titles before Fernley came back to stun Fallon last season. Who will have the upper hand in 2014? Expect a seesaw battle in the regular season and these same two teams in the regional and state finals.
3. Will a Fallon senior play Division I?
Fallon hasn’t had a Division I female athlete since Bailey Corkill and Olie Fowler signed to rodeo at UNLV and Callie Black played volleyball at Holy Cross. On the boys side, the Greenwave’s last Division I athlete was Riley Orozco, who now coaches wrestling at Bakersfield. This year’s senior class is one of the most talented, especially on the boys’ side, but every year, Fallon seniors are proving that the lower levels, like Division II or NAIA are just as good as long as the education and school are a good fit, which is more important than sports.
4. Can the football team duplicate its state run?
Many times you hear teams will need to rebuild when they lose players to graduation. This is not the case for the football team as Fallon will be reloading in the fall after coming up just short of a state championship. The sophomores and juniors will return with more experience and an unsatisfying taste from the Faith Lutheran game. And don’t forget that the junior varsity squad finished undefeated against their DI-A opponents.
5. Will someone finally dethrone Lowry?
There’s only one team in the region that has reached dynasty status among the larger sports. The Buckaroos blow out the competition every winter on their way to another state wrestling title. Lowry, though, does get challenged every once in awhile but when it comes to DI-A wrestling, no program has been better than this Winnemucca school. Fallon came close to taking second at state behind Lowry and would have defeated its rival during a dual if not for forfeits.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at email@example.com.