Greenwave greats: Hall of Fame names newest inductees

The 1974 Fallon girls track and field team won the school’s first girls state championship after Title IX was passed. Both the 1974 and 1975 girls track and field teams will be inducted into the Greenwave Hall of Fame in September.

The 1974 Fallon girls track and field team won the school’s first girls state championship after Title IX was passed. Both the 1974 and 1975 girls track and field teams will be inducted into the Greenwave Hall of Fame in September.
Greenwave Hall of Fame

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When Title IX was passed more than 50 years ago, it paved the way for girls' sports to be eligible to win sanctioned state championships across the country.

Since the landmark decision in 1972 that allowed for girls sports to be recognized on the same playing field as the boys in the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association (NIAA), more than a dozen girls teams have won state titles.

“Many of us had been competing against and with each other for years in the women’s city leagues of basketball and softball and some of us were teammates on the Fallon swim team,” said Ellen Townsend, who competed for the Greenwave in the 1970s, adding that even with Title IX passed, the upperclassmen at the time didn’t have the chance to compete as freshmen and sophomores. “We were a close-knit group. Practices were competitive but we encouraged each other every day and were very vocal at meets.”

The first Fallon girls team to win it all in the post-Title IX era came in spring 1974 when George Hucke’s girls, which included Townsend, won the AA state title over two-time defending state champion Mineral County and followed with another title a year later, sending a message to the rest of the Silver State.

“There were a few girls that switched or added events to their running or field events resume during the last three weeks of the season in an effort to boost their placing in events,” said Townsend, who competed on the 1974 and 1975 state track and field teams. “We had a bunch of girls that could compete in so many events that they had to lock down which ones to focus on. We were a pretty talented group.”

The following season, Fallon needed to win the final race of the day to tie Mineral County as state co-champions as the team jumped in excitement when the results came over the loudspeaker.

Both the 1974 and 1975 girls track and field teams, along with two other teams, one coach and 10 athletes will be inducted into the seventh class of the Greenwave Hall of Fame this fall.

“We are excited about this year’s class, which spans across 80 years of Greenwave athletics,” said Steve Heck, president of the Greenwave Hall of Fame committee. “This year’s class is special as it highlights the importance of Title IX’s passage, which made it possible for this year’s two girls track and field teams to win NIAA state titles. This year’s class recognizes many coaches and athletes who demonstrated that Fallon can not only compete on the state’s largest stage, but that they can bring home regional and state championships. We are looking forward to honoring the Class of 2024 inductees this fall.”

The Class of 2024 will be honored on Sept. 27 prior to Fallon’s football game against Truckee and then during the ceremony and dinner on Sept. 28 at the Fallon Convention Center. Don Lattin, one of the best basketball players in Greenwave history who led the team to a state title in 1971, is this year’s guest speaker.

Heck said that players from teams being inducted in this year’s class need to contact the Greenwave Hall of Fame at greenwavehalloffame@gmail.com regarding information about the ceremony.

The 2024 inductees:


TEAM

1943 Football

Under Wes Goodner, the Fallon Greenwave football team finished the 1943 season undefeated (7-0), capped off with a narrow win over Yerington to advance to the state championship game against Lincoln. The state game, unfortunately, wasn’t played.

With only one division in the Silver State at the time, Fallon knocked off Reno and Douglas to open the season, beating the Huskies 16-12 after trailing by a touchdown at halftime and blowing out the Tigers, 39-7. Fallon beat Reno again in convincing fashion, 25-0, along with wins over Lovelock and Hawthorne before facing Yerington.

First-team all-Western Conference honors went to Leonard Allen, Junior Kito, Johnny Brite, Sheldon Homer and Tom Jolly. Ken Fox and Clifford Carr were named to the third team. Allen was also named captain of the honorary squad, and Jolly and Allen were both elected co-captains for the team.


1959 Girls Basketball

Decades before Title IX was passed, competition in girls’ sports was limited. Girls interscholastic basketball was discouraged in the 1930s, but schools slowly fielded teams with win and loss records determining the district champion.

Not until 1949, though, did Fallon form a team, which played eight to nine games per season with no playoffs. After Fallon finished undefeated in 1953 and 1954, the ladies completed another undefeated season five years later.

The 1959 team, which finished 12-0, would be the last time a girls basketball squad would set foot in the gym until Title IX was passed in 1972.


1966 Boys Basketball

Under Hall of Fame coach Wint King, the Greenwave boys basketball team won the AA state championship, the first title in nine years, after falling to Manogue in the regional tournament.

Fallon defeated White Pine, 63-46, in the state final at the Las Vegas Convention Center. After building leads of 8-0 and 12-4 in the first half, the Greenwave led the Bobcats by 14 points at halftime, but White Pine, which upset Manogue the night before, scored 12-straight points in the third quarter to lead by one.

Deon Skinner, who hit eight free throws in the fourth quarter, poured in game-high 25 points and was named the MVP of the AA All-Tournament Team by the media. John Beeghly was also named to the tournament team. Center Earl Doege was instrumental in the paint, scoring 14 points.


1974 Girls Track

The first Fallon girls sport to win an NIAA-sanctioned state title, the Wave track and field team stood atop the podium 50 years ago.

Under Hall of Fame coach George Hucke and behind Sheree Ford Jensen’s four individual titles, Fallon knocked off defending AA state champion Mineral County by winning the championship over the Serpents, 37-32, in 1974.

Jensen, who was named the outstanding girl athlete for the meet, set new marks in the 440 at 1 minute, 2.2 seconds, beating her previous record in 1973 by one second. She also won the 50-yard dash in 6.4 seconds to tie the state record, along with the 100 in 11.9 and 800 in 2:36.

Ellen Townsend completed the 1-2 punch by winning the softball throw by less than a foot and placing second in the shot put, adding eight points to the team total.


1975 Girls Track

A year after winning the school’s first girls NIAA state title, the track and field team did it again, tying with rival Mineral County with 35 points in Elko.

Going into the final event of the meet, Fallon trailed Mineral County and the best it could finish was a tie. But there was a catch in the 880-yard medley relay: the Serpents could not place in the first heat and Fallon had to win the event.

Baton exchange issues plagued Mineral County as it finished near last in its heat, leaving an opportunity for Fallon to repeat as state champs as long as they won its heat and beat Elko for the best time. With the team of Faye Tanksley (220-yard leg), Brenda Townsend Yeager (110), Kathy Triguerio Lauby (110) and Grace Shepherd Kemp (440), Fallon easily won its heat, which was the slower of the two, and bested Elko’s time, 1:58.6 to 1:59.1.

Earlier in the meet, Ellen Townsend won both the discus and shot put titles. She set the state and meet record in the discus at 109 feet, 6.5 inches, and broke the meet record in the shot put with a mark of 37-9.


COACH

Bill Archer

An assistant and third-base coach for almost a decade, Bill Archer stamped his name into the record books with a pair of state softball championships of his own when he succeeded a longtime Greenwave Hall of Fame coach.

After assisting Phil Pinder from 2004 to 2012, which included back-to-back state titles when Fallon entered the 3A, and Pinder’s last with the Greenwave, Archer continued the softball program’s success with state titles in 2014 and 2015. His teams also won a pair of Northern 3A regional championships and finished second at state in 2013.

As a head coach, Archer had a 79-33 overall record.


ATHLETE

Neal Workman (1981)

A two-sport athlete, Neal Workman excelled on the wrestling mat, winning a pair of regional and state championships.

Workman placed second in the 1978 state wrestling tournament before winning his first title the following year. In 1980, he captured the Northern AAA league wrestling title at 157 pounds and then followed with an all-state performance on the gridiron in the fall, his final year.

A fullback and linebacker, he was named to the all-league and all-state football teams after rushing 603 yards.


Judianna Murray (1983)

A standout athlete in the early 1980s, Judianna Murray competed in five sports in her career and was named the school’s Co-Female Athlete of the Year.

After running cross country for two seasons, Murray finished her fall career in the gym and was named the volleyball team captain during her final year. After her basketball season, Murray ran the 880-yard and one- and two-mile races during the track season as a freshman and sophomore.

On the diamond, she and Kelly Frost, a 2023 Greenwave Hall of Fame inductee, commanded the infield, turning eye-popping double plays against league foes.


Cody Olson (1983)

Before his senior year in California, Cody Olson was an outstanding wrestler for the Greenwave, winning state his junior year as Fallon finished second to Chaparral in the AAA tournament.

Olson finished second in the regional tournament in 1983 when he was upset by Carson before coming back to win the state title in the 170-pound division. Olson, who was unbeaten until the zone tournament when he came up short against Carson’s Gary Stratton, was the Greenwave’s only state champion when he decisioned Western’s Lou Anderson.


Mark Mansfield (1984)

A successful lower-weight wrestler, Mark Mansfield won the state championship during his senior year after taking second in the regional tournament.

Mansfield was one of only three Greenwave wrestlers returning with experience from the team’s second-place finish at the 1983 AAA state tournament in Las Vegas. After falling to Sparks’ Wes Fehr in the zone championship, he came back the following weekend to capture the state title with an 11-4 win over Bonanza’s Torris Heckard.


Richie Hooten (1987)

A three-sport athlete who shined brightest on the baseball field, Richie Hooten’s pitching was the highlight in the spring for the Greenwave.

Hooten played football and basketball, earning a varsity letter in the former, before racking up several awards on the diamond. Hooten was voted the team’s MVP and Northern Nevada AA All-Conference player of the year as a pitcher.

During his senior campaign, Hooten struck out eight in a 6-5 loss to Boulder City in the AA state championship in Fallon.


Kara Kelly-Borgognone (1992)

A force in the batter’s box and pitcher’s circle, Kara Kelly led Fallon to a 47-17 record during her last two years, including appearances in the regional tournament.

After Fallon lost both games in the playoffs in 1991, the Wave returned the following spring behind Kelly’s 95-inning performance when she posted a 1.40 earned-run average and struck out 95, including a 19-strikeout game against Sparks.

Kelly did damage with the bat, too, finishing with a .402 batting average, 11 doubles and 38 RBIs, which broke the school record.


Jeff Peterson (1995)

Fresh off Fallon’s move to the 4A, the state’s largest classification, Jeff Peterson led the Greenwave in football, basketball and track.

Peterson set the school’s career passing and both the single-game and single-season yards and touchdown records. He was named to the conference’s first-team and all-state team as a punter while picking up all-conference, second team honors as a quarterback.

On the court, he was named the team MVP and was recognized on the all-conference first team. After his final basket, Peterson broke the school’s career scoring record.

In track, he lettered all four years, competing in the long and triple jumps, and hurdles.


Jake Johnston (2010)

A three-sport athlete, Jake Johnston broke the school’s high jump record in the middle of winning a pair of regional titles in the Silver State’s largest classification.

During his junior season, he cleared the high-jump bar at 6 feet, 5.25 inches at the Yerington Invitational, breaking a 26-year-old record that he broke again in the regional meet when he leaped 6-6 to win the event. His mark at 6-4 placed him in third at the state meet.

Johnston, who was also on the 4x400-meter relay team that broke the school record in 2010, followed up with another regional title in the high jump before finishing fifth at state.


Tyson Ernst (2013)

A two-sport athlete, Ernst helped lead the Greenwave to their first boys track and field state title in more than 25 years.

Ernst was a first-team all-league running back and team MVP after finishing with 992 yards on 128 carries. But track is where Ernst found the most success. Ernst won the state title in the long jump and 4x100-meter relay as a junior in 2011 when the Greenwave also captured the boys team title, Fallon’s first year in the realigned Class 3A.

The following year, Ernst completed the rare feat of winning the gold in all four events: long jump, triple jump, and 100- and 200-meter dash.


Morgan Dirickson (2014)

One of the best quarterbacks in Greenwave history, Morgan Dirickson led Fallon to the state championship game for the first time in four decades while breaking multiple school and 3A state records.

A team captain who passed for 2,314 yards and 32 touchdowns during his senior year, he led Fallon to its first state championship game in 35 years and was named the NIAA All-state and Offensive Player of the Year and NIAA Northern Offensive Player of the Year.

After the season, Dirickson ranked in the top-five in five individual 3A state categories, including third in career passing yards (4,976), first in career touchdown passes (56) and single-game touchdown passes (seven).


Greenwave Hall of Fame Class of 2024

TEAM

1943 Football

1959 Girls Basketball

1966 Boys Basketball

1974 Girls Track

1975 Girls Track


COACH

Bill Archer


ATHLETE

Neal Workman (1981)

Judianna Murray (1983)

Cody Olson (1983)

Mark Mansfield (1984)

Richie Hooten (1987)

Kara Kelly-Borgognone (1992)

Jeff Peterson (1995)

Jake Johnston (2010)

Tyson Ernst (2013)

Morgan Dirickson (2014)

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