Parade of champions

Coach Anne Smith and Greenwave player Leta Otuafi chat before the ceremony begins at the Venturacci Park gym.

Coach Anne Smith and Greenwave player Leta Otuafi chat before the ceremony begins at the Venturacci Park gym.

The twilight of a crystal clear Nevada sky cast its aura on the Parade of Champions Monday as the community celebrated the Lady Wave’s state basketball title.

After dyeing the Maine Street fountain green, the team and its coaches rode the city’s old fire truck — followed by four engines from the Fallon Churchill Volunteer Fire Department and sleek, silver police cars — to the Venturraci Street gym for a presentation from Mayor Ken Tedford and the city council.

Along the parade route on West Williams Avenue, people on the sidewalks waved, while others in waiting cars honked their horns.

Coach Anne Smith expressed her gratitude to the community — the fans, the parents and former Greenwave athletes — for their support of the team’s season and run in both the regional and state tournaments.

“I don’t think there’s any other place,” Smith said of the type of community support they received. “What a great place. They were very supportive of our basketball program, and this is something the girls will never forget. It’s wonderful — it really is. The girls were so excited looking forward to this (the ceremony and parade).”

This is one function Tedford enjoys conducting. As a supporter of the city’s youth, the former Greenwave athlete believes in recognizing the accomplishments of individuals and teams who rise to the pinnacle of success. Monday was no different.

“I am very proud of these girls and their coaches,” Tedford said before several hundred people. “This is a great night, a great time for these girls … a great time for our community.”

Tedford complimented the team for its hard work during the season and its near flawless play during the postseason. He said winning the state championship trophy is something no one can take away.

“You know, in 10, 20, 30 years, you’ll reminisce about the good times you had this year and the harder times before,” Tedford added.

As a diehard Greenwave fan, Tedford also recognized the parents for their support and for “raising kids like these.” He said it takes discipline to climb to the top of the mountain to achieve the ultimate prize.

“Kids are special to me and will always be,” he said.

Tedford handed out gifts to each player, the three coaches and team manager for them to remember the city that supported the Wave during their accomplishments of winning a state championship. The mayor’s youngest daughter, who played for Smith, praised the Fallon educator.

“We have had our chats over the years — all good — and she worked so very hard,” he said, adding he was personally happy to honor her for guiding the team to a title.

He also announced Smith had been named the 3A League Coach of the Year.

Faith Cornmesser, a junior on the team, said the Wave should have a good season in 2017-18. Fallon loses only one senior, Zoey Swisher.

“I know we’ll miss Zoey, but the chemistry will remain with the team,” she said. “We’ll come back. I’m excited.”

Cornmesser was still excited with the city’s recognition of their title.

“The parade was super cool with all the fire trucks behind us,” she said.

Cornmesser, though, experienced a similar ceremony during her freshman year when the softball team captured a state title and was able to have a parade.

Swisher called Monday’s experience surreal.

“This was the best ending we could have gotten,” she said. “It was awesome to have the community come out, and it doesn’t feel like we’re done.”

The Fallon senior guard also said Fallon’s teamwork during the season was “phenomenal” as evidenced by its wins at regionals and state. She considers this year’s squad the best team she has played on as a Greenwave athlete.

Hannah Evans said she enjoyed every minute of the ceremony and the community’s support.

“It was great for the community to come out,” she said after the presentation. “We enjoyed their support when people came out for our games.”

Although the players have moved on to spring sports and other activities, Evans still has basketball on her mind.

“I am so excited for next year,” she said.


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