Dalager up for Influential Women Awards
Wednesday’s a big day for women in Northern Nevada.
After narrowing down its nominees down to 40 finalists last month, the Sierra Nevada Influential Women Awards for the top 10 will be announced on Wednesday during a virtual event.
Chelle Dalager, who led the Fallon boys basketball team to back-to-back state titles over Elko, was named a finalist. Dalager, who coached the Lady Wave hoops team to a 4A state tournament appearance in 2003, spent multiple years at the middle school level, guiding the boys program before making the jump back to the high school level three seasons ago.
Winners for the regional women’s awards will receive an award trophy and all finalists will be recognized in the Influential Women program. Information on the finalists is available online at weareinfluentialwomen.com/awards.
Dalager’s impact has been felt outside of Churchill County.
The longtime basketball coach became the first woman to head a boys varsity team. For Spanish Springs boys basketball coach Kyle Penney, the only thing that matters in a coach is whether that person is committed and can lead the team.
“It isn’t about being male or female, she is a coach,” said Penney, whose Cougars have been one of the best teams in the Northern 4A. “Her résumé and what she has done simply speaks for itself and that is not just about winning back to back state championships. It is everything else that starts with the type of person she is and how she runs her program.”
Despite an early exit in the 2018 playoffs, Dalager’s Greenwave was named all-academic state champions but the next two years would begin to cement her impact on Nevada athletics.
After becoming the state’s first female boys basketball coach, Dalager led Fallon to its first state championship in 40 years when the Greenwave ousted Elko in Las Vegas two years ago. Fallon, which had not defeated Elko all season, including in the regional championship, came from behind to win the state championship on then-junior Elijah Jackson’s 3-pointer at the buzzer. Fallon was also named the all-academic state champion.
On Feb. 29, Dalager’s team did it again, winning its second consecutive state championship, again over Elko and again with Jackson hitting the winning 3-pointer at the buzzer in overtime. The rivalry game reached national media and Jackson’s buzzer-beater was SportsCenter’s top play. Fallon knocked off Elko the week before in the regional title game after Avery Strasdin, Dalager’s son, hit the game-winning 3-pointer in the corner.
Just as important as winning those championships has been the players’ respect, which Penney noted when he watches Fallon compete. Dalager’s presence has also affected coaches from the region, including Penney.
“Her players love and respect her as do her colleagues from all levels,” Penney added. “It is probably safe to say we have all learned things from her by watching her teams play and watching her coach. I know I have, and I hope there is a time I can watch one or a few of her practices.”