The Lahontan Valley News looks at the top sports stories of 2016, with Nos. 6-10 featured today and Nos. 1-5 unveiled this Friday.
6. Thomson named NIAA Top 10 Student-Athlete
Only an injury could come between Tristen Thomson and running.
Thomson, a 2016 Fallon grad, broke the school record in the 800-meter during the track season and was poised to not only win the regional crown in the mid- and long-distance running events, but he was a favorite to take the state championships. A late-season injury prevented Thomson from finishing the season to his full potential.
But not all was lost.
Thomson was stellar in the classroom and was named a Top 10 Student Athlete of the Year in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association. Thomson, who finished third at the Division I-A state cross country meet, became the sixth Churchill County student-athlete to receive the award and continued the school’s streak of four.
Thomson amassed a 3.44 GPA to rank 13th out of 243 in his senior class as he landed a scholarship at Corcordia in Irvine, Calif., where he garnered recognition this past fall in his freshman cross country season.
“It’s definitely one of the highest privileges and honors I’ve received in my entire life. I wouldn’t be here without the love and support of everyone,” Thomson said after receiving the NIAA honor.
7. Mauga, Chiefs qualify for playoffs; Mauga misses 2016 season
After a breakout season in his first year with the Chiefs a couple years ago, Mauga returned to the postseason in January when Kansas City claimed a wild card and defeated Houston in the first round. It was the first time since 2011 that Mauga was in the playoffs after the Jets lost to the Steelers in the AFC Championship.
Mauga intercepted Brian Hoyer’s pass at the goal line in that wild card game earlier this year. The Chiefs, though, ended the year with a loss at the Patriots.
“Last year, I started to notice Josh Mauga at inside linebacker next to Derrick Johnson, and in a defense filled with names, Mauga doesn’t get much attention, but he’s a really good player who fits well within the context of this defense,” NFL Films’ Greg Cosell told Sports Illustrated after the Houston win.
Mauga had high hopes for the following season but another season-ending injury sidelined the ex-Greenwave linebacker for the second time in his career. Mauga’s last season with the Jets was cut short, too. With Mauga on the sidelines, the Chiefs continued to thrive. They won the AFC West and No. 2 seed last week against San Diego.
Mauga has one more year left in his contract.
8. Smith qualifies in Barracuda Championship
One of the best golfers to call Fallon his home, 2006 Fallon grad Scott Smith qualified for Reno’s only PGA Tournament last summer for the first time in four years.
Smith won the qualifier in May, setting up his third visit at the Reno event at Montreux Golf & Country Club. Smith struggled during the tournament as he was unable to make the cut after two days and had the largest gathering when the second day started.
Smith shot 1-over par on the 72-par golf course on the first day but he slipped on Day 2, carding a 77. His four double-bogeys all came on different greens when Smith shot 2-over on the 12th and 14th, dropping his five-point round down to -1 on Thursday. The next day, Smith struggled with the third and 17th greens as double-bogeys counted as -3 points.
“It’s always a learning experience. I’m still pretty disappointed, though,” Smith said. “I’ve been playing well. It’s kind of a disappointing week. I felt like I was playing OK. You just can’t make double-bogeys in this format and I made four in these two days.”
Smith, who resides in Reno and helps the golfing community, competes in qualifiers and Web.com tournaments throughout the year.
9. Octane Fest returns with more hype, fans
Take away the Greenwave, and the Fallon community relies on motorsports for its entertainment.
With dirt-track racing east of town at Rattlesnake Raceway and drag racing located south off the highway at Top Gun, Fallon welcomed another edition of Octane Fest. The summer event features dirt-track and drag racing, as well as monster truck and stunt shows, which drew larger crowds this year at multiple venues. Top Gun and Rattlesnake raceways were the main attractions along with the county fairgrounds featuring motocross action.
“The 2016 NHRA and Pacific National Open in conjunction with Top Gun Raceway was a complete success,” Top Gun track manager John Stauverman said. “The weather was phenomenal for racing, a good temperature and ambient temperature, which helps with those six-second runs and makes for a good race.”
Fallon native Amy Nygren was named this year’s Miss Octane Fest as she was no stranger to pageants since participating in the Miss Teen Pageant at age 13 and the Miss UNR (University of Nevada, Reno) Pageant at 20.
10. Local trap shooting club hosts state, places in top three
One of the lesser-known sports made a grand entrance in 2016.
The Lahontan Valley Claybreakers Trap Shooting Club hosted the 2016 Nevada Youth Shooting Sports Association (NYSSA) State Shoot at the Fallon Trap Club. Shooters from as far away as Elko and Las Vegas traveled to Fallon to compete with shooters from Reno, Carson City, Yerington and Fallon.
Fallon performed well in the state shoot, garnering first- and second-place wins in the rookie division and first- and third-place victories in the intermediate division. Fallon placed first in the junior varsity division as well as third in varsity. The girls team was successful with second place and in the collegiate/alumni division, Fallon placed second.