Elks meet tradition continues
For decades a staple of the spring season has been the Fallon Elks Invitational track meet.
On Saturday, the tradition continues with the 43rd installment of the second-longest running meet in Northern Nevada. The action begins at 8:30 a.m. at the Edward Arcinega Complex. Cost of admission is $4 for adults and $3 for students.
Dozens of volunteers with the Elks Club and local residents make the event one of the smoothest run meets in the North. Meets are not typically easy to handle as volunteers must understand the nuances of specific events such as discus, the jumps or zone violations during relays.
Nevertheless, those individuals have played a large hand in creating arguably the best-run meet in the North.
“Without volunteers their is no Fallon Elks Invitational,” Fallon boys coach Steve Heck said. “You can’t put on a meet of this size without a lot of help. We get a lot of parents whose kids don’t even compete any more come back and help. Those volunteers really help us run a quality meet. They also help train the new parents that come in each year. Their experience really help things run smoothly.”
History also plays a large role in the event. The meet began with events running in yards, while numerous great Northern Nevada athletes such as Aarik Wilson, 2008 Olympian, Duke Williams, an NFL defensive back, and others own records.
“We have records that go back to the days of running of things like the 120 yard hurdles,” Heck said. “The meet just has a great history. And now we have its founder back coaching with us — Bert Seranno.”
The meet, however, has taken a hit in attending teams in recent years as many of the Reno-area schools have opted to stay in town to attend another event.
This year, though, Fallon has secured 23 teams from all four divisions including Division I powers McQueen, Reed and Galena along with Wooster.
Those squads, however, will be tested by some of the Northern DI-A’s best including Fallon’s top athletes such as Nathan Heck, Jordan Schultz, T.J. Mauga, Jake Ernst, Whitney Skabelund and Brynlee Shults.
“One of the great things about this event is the diversity of schools,” Steve Heck explained. “You get the tiny ones and the big ones. We like having the large schools because they bring a lot of depth to the meet. But the smaller schools always have some surprises. Every once in a while you get a chance to see a kid from a school with 40 kids come out and dominate an event. For those kids it really gives them a chance to see where they are with the big schools.”
As for the fans, they are treated to a big-time prep event including preliminary and final runs in several events. The quality of depth of the athletes with some moving on to the collegiate level also raises the level of competition.
“We also run trials in the sprints so you get that exciting true final with the fastest kids,” Heck said. Those races are always exciting and close. On the boys side we have the Division I, DI-A, and DIII defending state championship teams attending — McQueen, Dayton, and Yerington, respectively. You can’t get much better quality at a meet than that. I was looking through the events to see what the most exciting ones would be, but it is tough to pick out just a few because there are so many events with top notch talent.”