It’s not the flashiest sport on campus but it has produced several of the school’s best student-athletes.
Tanner Boone and most recently Tristen Thomson excelled for the cross country team with Thomson, who graduated last year, nabbing a top-five finish at state and being named an NIAA top 10 student-athlete.
This year’s Greenwave, though, boasts the third coach to guide the team after Tommy Thomson stepped down. But Fallon’s in familiar hands.
Shawn Nelson, who graduated in 1991 brings a lengthy background in basketball after coaching as high as Division II women’s basketball to his most recent stint with Colorado of the NAIA, an association that attracts many Greenwave athletes. Nelson’s back in the Lahontan Valley and is a believer that his approach in basketball will benefit this year’s cross country team.
“I bring 20-plus years on strength, conditioning and speed work to our team and believe I can help build their overall endurance and race strategies,” said Nelson, who guided his last college team to the NAIA Sweet 16.
Two runners return from last year’s team, including senior Amanda Pursley and sophomore Justin Cathey. Fortunately for the Greenwave, several of the newcomers starred in other sports.
“We have a small team, but they work extremely hard in their workouts and had a great competition at our first meet at Douglas,” Nelson said.
Seniors Joseph Terry and John Kirkland both competed in track, and juniors Dawson Frost and Junior Demillo, and sophomore William Anderson are new for the boys. For the girls, senior Corin Ramos joins the team after injuries hampered her spring track season. Juniors Bailee Walker and Jeanne Anderson, and freshman Savannah Robinson will also compete.
Nelson expects Terry, Cathey, Ramos and Robinson to make the regional tournament at the end of October. Getting better, though, is the biggest mission for the team this year.
“Our goals are to improve every day and compete like crazy on race day,” Nelson said.
In Friday’s Douglas Class Race in Minden, Cathey was the highest finisher as he ran the course in 15 minutes, 10 seconds to take seventh for the sophomores. Terry finished 18th in the seniors after running it in 14:49, while JR Demillo placed 47th for the juniors. Frost, Kirkland and Anderson finished in the 70-range.
Robinson had the best finish at 35th for the girls with a time of 21:56, while Ramos finished 39th in 20:49. Anderson (21:18), Walker (21:39) and Pursley (21:55) each finished 45th, 49th and 49th.
“I thought they were a little excited and got out too fast and didn’t have much of a kick, but those are things that we can improve on,” Nelson said of the first meet.
The Greenwave competes in the UNR Twilight this Friday before its first league meet of the year on Sept. 19.