In what may be the race of the meet, one Fallon runner has the skill to stand alone.
Senior Charles Fulks is just one of eight in a loaded field of the 400-meter race during today and Saturday’s Division I-A state track and field meet at Del Sol High School in Las Vegas.
Today’s meet begins at 3 p.m. and Saturday’s action starts at 8 a.m.
Fulks, though, has been one of the Greenwave’s most consistent athletes all season. The senior ran a season-best 50.9 seconds in the 400 last week at the Northern Division I-A meet in Fernley, where he placed third.
He ranks fourth in the DI-A behind Spring Creek’s Camden Mauer (50.62), Dayton’s Dallon Mendoza (50.82) and Western’s Kenric Davis (50.83). While those three present a daunting challenge, the remaining four competitors are within 1.2 seconds of Fulks.
In addition to the 400, Fulks has a full slate of events including the 200, along with teammate Cameron Kissick, and will run the 4x200 and 4x400 relays.
Fulks’ chances in the 200 are slimmer as Faith Lutheran’s Mark Rubalcaba is the premier sprinter in the DI-A and comes with a top time of 21.58, although he ran a 21.76 in the regional.
“Time’s not really on mind,” Fulks said of the 400. “I’m just looking for a gold medal. I just have to stay confident and know I can do it. Coming around that last 100 will be close, but I have to trust my conditioning.”
Nathan Heck, meanwhile, also engages in one of the meets most anticipated events in the pole vault. He and Moapa Valley’s Caleb Witsken enter as the favorites, although Heck is aiming for his first state title after consecutive runner-up finishes.
Witsken, though, has the best vault of the season in the state at 15-6.25, while Heck’s best jump is 15-1, a school record.
The two have tangled before during this season at the Arcadia Invitational in Los Angeles. Heck got the best of Witsken, but the Fallon senior knows he must be on his game to claim a state title.
“I’m looking to win that one,” Heck said. “I’ve had two seconds in the vault and I really want to get a state championship under my belt.”
Also joining Fulks, Heck and Kissick at state in individual events are Tristen Thomson (800) and Jake Ernst (triple jump).
The relays, though, feature Thomson, Kissick, Fulks and Jordan Schultz in the 4x200 and 4x400 features Kissick, Fulks, Thomson and Schultz, while the 4x800 teams consists of Thomson, Trevor Davis, Sean Cordes and Ethan Smith.
The 4x200 race, Steve Heck said, is wide open after four Southern teams were disqualified during their regional. As a result, Fallon enters the race as the second seed less than 1 second behind top-ranked Cheyenne and .03 ahead of No. 3 Desert Pines.
“The 4x200 is going to be pretty wild,” Fulks said. “We are getting better and better.”
“That’s a really good team that could come home with a top medal,” boys coach Steve Heck added.
The challenge, though, is to earn at least a second-place finish, Heck said. Faith Lutheran is the runaway favorite with a deep and talented squad.
Even though Elko and Desert Pines — at least on paper — appear to be slightly ahead of Fallon, Heck said if several of his relays and individual performers rise to the occasion, the Wave will be in play for second place.
“We’re not looking at a team title,” Steve Heck said. “We are more concerned with taking home medals. We are underdogs. There is no pressure on us.”