FERNLEY — Despite seven wins, depth proved to be the difference.
The Fallon boys track and field team showed its talent, but Elko had the numbers as the Indians ran away with the Northern Division I-A regional title on Saturday.
Elko won the title with 159.5 points followed by Fallon with 123 and Dayton was third with 118.
The Lady Wave, meanwhile, struggled as their youthful roster couldn’t best those of Truckee, Spring Creek and Elko. Only one girls athlete qualified for the state meet, sophomore Whitney Skabelund.
Truckee won the title with 182 followed by Spring Creek (119.5) and Elko (82.75). Fallon finished seventh with 43.
“I was really proud of the boys for winning seven events. No one else pulled that off,” Fallon boys coach Steve Heck said. “They peaked at the right time and put ourself in a great position to win the meet, but we just got out-numbered by Elko.”
Nathan Heck was once again a star for the boys team, although it didn’t come without some drama.
Heck, the region’s top pole vaulter, missed his first two attempts at his opening height leaving him in danger of missing a state berth. On his third attempt at 13 feet, the senior cleared the bar by about a foot and went on to claim the regional title at 14-6.
“It wasn’t my day right at the beginning there,” Heck said. “I moved back my run and just put everything out of my head.”
He added another win in the 100-meter race, as he nipped Fernley’s Devin Archer and Elko’s Adam Bullock by three-hundredths of a second (11.04 seconds to 11.07). Fellow sprinter Jake Ernst finished fifth and missed a state berth.
Only the top four finishers qualify for Friday and Saturday’s state meet at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas.
Finally, Heck added another win in the 110 hurdles (16.02) and was second in the long jump (20-10.25).
“Every time he goes out to win,” Steve Heck said. “Everyone of those guys PRed (personal record) by two or three-tenths (of a second).”
Fallon also qualified sprinters in the 200 and 400 as Cameron Kissick won the 200, breaking the tape in 22.71, while Charles Fulks was third in the 400 (50.9). Fulks also qualified for state in the 200 with a third-place finish (23.08), while Kissick missed a bid in the 400, as he took eighth (52.89).
In yet another wild finish, Tristen Thomson edged out Truckee’s Eli Yale for fourth in a furious sprint to the finish line in the 800.
Thomson, Yale, Truckee’s Colin Deurlington and Elko’s Michael Gallagher were bunched together down the stretch with each racing furiously to the line.
Deurlington edged out Gallagher for second, while Thomson nipped Yale for fourth. Deurlington crossed the line in 2:00.46 followed by Gallagher (2:00.54), Thomson (2:00.57) and Yale (2:00.91).
Spring Creek’s Brady Dupea won the race in 1:59.05.
Thomson, meanwhile, finished eighth in the 1,600 at 4:51.74.
Fallon’s field events were limited to just Heck and Jake Ernst as qualifiers. Ernst won the triple jump (40-10.25), while no other jumper finisher higher than seventh.
In the throws, the Wave’s best threat, sophomore T.J. Mauga, struggled as he missed the cut in the discus and shot put.
Mauga suffered a tough break in the discus on his third attempt. Playing conservative, Mauga stood in the ring and hit a throw of more than 130 feet. However, Mauga’s foot touched the ring line before the discus landed, which earned him a scratch on his final attempt.
In the shot put, he finished fifth with a distance of 43-3.75.
Jordan Schultz, who was on the cusp in the 300 hurdles and pole vault coming into the meet, finished seventh in both events. However, Schultz did qualify for state as part of the winning 4x200 and 4x400 relay teams. The 4x800 squad of Trevor Davis, Ethan Smith, Sean Cordes and Thomson also qualified after finishing fourth.
The 4x200 team consists of Kissick, Ernst, Schultz and Fulks, while the 4x400 relies on Kissick, Thomson, Schultz and Fulks.
“You could tell those guys wanted to go to state,” Steve Heck said of the 4x800 team. “They 4x400 and 4x200 we knew had a chance to win, but you never know. They ran out of their minds to get first.”
As for the Lady Wave, Skabelund was the lone bright spot as she earned wins in the triple (34-1.75) and long jumps (15-10) and was fourth in the 300 hurdles (48.7).
Freshman Brynlee Shults just missed the cut with a fifth-place finish in the high jump (4-4), while Cassidy East was seventh (4-2).
“She came in and wasn’t fazed,” Fallon girls coach Paul Orong said of Skabelund. “She was very, very focused on what she wanted to do. She surprised me in the hurdles.”
Like Mauga, LeAnn Stands also suffered a trio of scratches in the discus. She was Fallon’s best thrower and ranked in the top four of the North going into the meet.
AmiDayne Nelsen, though, was seventh in the discus (92-9), while Stands finished
sixth in the shot put (31-11.75),
The Lady Wave also failed to qualify any of their four relay teams as the 4x400 and 4x800 squads each finished fifth. The 4x100 was disqualified, while the 4x200 took eighth.
“Our girls did a heck of a job and ran their hearts out,” Orong said. “When you go in with a young team, you don’t know what to expect. We had some highs and some lows. Overall, they competed well … we got some fifths and our relays were really close.”