Going the distance

Micah Whitaker prepares to hurl the shot put during the Elk's Invitational.

Micah Whitaker prepares to hurl the shot put during the Elk's Invitational.

After witnessing some miracles on the track last weekend, Steve Heck is a believer that anything can happen when the odds are overwhelmingly against you.

“We have kids in just half the events so it will be tough to score big,” the Fallon boys track coach said about his team entering today’s state meet. “However, after last weekend, who knows what will happen.”

Fallon sends two first-place relay teams, two sprinters, a thrower, two hurdlers, and three jumpers to this weekend’s state meet at Foothill High School in Las Vegas, after the boys came within two points of winning the team title while the girls finished third.

This weekend, though, looks to be tougher, especially with the southern 3A schools being notorious for their speed in the track events. Heck, though, said his boys team will need to repeat last week’s performance in Carson to stay in the running.

“Our relays are going to be very competitive and we are going to be looking for them to take home medals,” he said. “They will have to have great days again, though, as the south is very fast.”

Fallon qualified Colton Peterson in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, T.J. Mauga in the discus and shot put, Broder Thurston in the 200, Reid Clyburn in the 300 hurdles, and Bryan Duenas in both the long and triple jumps. Mauga was the lone individual champ (discus) and Peterson, Thurston, Clyburn and Drake Copley were on the 4x100 and 4x200 relay teams.

Whitney Skabelund qualified in the long and triple jumps and 100 hurdles, and Brynlee Shults is in the triple jump.

“Colton, Broder, and Bryan are going to be in very tough fields,” Heck said. “The 100 times down south from region do not look good but they had a strong headwind when they ran. Their early season times show they have faster times than us.”

Heck said it’s going to be tough competition in all of Fallon’s events, but expects his team to rise to the challenge one more time. He likes Clyburn’s odds in the hurdles as the best times hail from the north where he took third in regionals last week. Mauga is a favorite in both events while the 200 race and both jumps could be a challenge.

“They have all shown they are very capable of rising to the occasion so I would not be surprised to see them in the top four,” Heck said of Peterson, Thurston and Duenas.

For the girls, Paul Orong will have two going for medals.

Skabelund has been one of the most complete athletes this season while Shults is finding her groove in the jumps. Skabelund broke her own record — and the meet record — to win the long jump while her and Shults finished second and third in the triple.

“They can both do that,” Orong said about medaling. “They’ve been confident. They’ve been working hard.”

And it helps that Skabelund is not sick like last week when she had strep throat. Orong said both jumpers are looking sharp and ready to make waves this weekend.

“Brynlee’s looking good,” he said. “We’re doing the little things that are for state.”


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