1. Josh Mauga resurrects his NFL career
His career was on the downswing, but Josh Mauga fought through an injury-plagued start to his career to star with the Kansas City Chiefs.
Mauga missed all 2013 due to injury, but a rigid rehabilitation program in the offseason returned Mauga’s body back to form.
As a result, the former Fallon and Nevada star reconnected with defensive coordinator Bob Sutton in Kansas City. Sutton coached Mauga his first four years in the NFL with the New York Jets.
Mauga signed a one-year deal in the summer and is now a free agent after the Chiefs missed the playoffs.
An injury to inside linebacker Joe Mays during the preseason moved Mauga into a starting role where he had his best season.
He tallied a team-high 103 tackles, three passes defensed, 0.5 sacks and spearheaded the No. 7 ranked defense in yards allowed per game (330.5). In addition, the Chiefs were tied for second in points allowed per game (17.6) with Detroit.
Mauga recorded 10 tackles three times in losses to San Francisco and Oakland and a win against the Jets.
In his first start since 2011, Mauga tallied eight tackles in an opening-day loss to Tennessee.
2. Jade Corkill wins third world title
Fallon native Jade Corkill and partner Clay Tryan held off a late charge by Trevor Brazile and Travis Graves to win both the world title and National Finals Rodeo average championships.
Corkill and Tryan also set a team roping earnings record with $220,057.
Countless cowboys have been crowned world champions in Las Vegas since the city started hosting the National Finals Rodeo in 1985, but only four Nevada natives have won world titles in the 77-year history of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
Last year, Corkill joined the select group, which includes Logandale’s Randon Adams, the 2008 team roping heeler world champion; Battle Mountain’s Joe Marvel, the 1978 saddle bronc riding champion; and Las Vegas’ Dave Campbell, the 1946 steer wrestling champion.
Corkill, 26, captured his team roping heeler crown in dramatic fashion — winning the final round of the NFR to edge Gardnerville resident Clay O’Brien Cooper by $1,131 — and become Nevada’s only two-time world champion this year despite injuring his left hand in the first go-round of the NFR at the Thomas &Mack Center.
Corkill’s hand was crushed against the saddle horn by the rope coils, cutting three of his fingers and forcing him to alter his technique.
But the injury didn’t appear to affect him in the seventh go-round when he and partner Clay Tryan tied for first place with a time of 4.1 seconds before a crowd of 17,416.
3. Fallon softball claims state title
The Lady Wave won their third Division I-A state in four years and firmly established the club as a dynasty.
Fallon dropped rival Fernley, 4-1, in the state final in May at Hixson Park in Reno.
The Lady Wave, though, lost the first game of the championship series to Fernley, 3-2, but rebounded behind a dominant pitching performance from Rileigh Ricken to claim the crown.
Fallon drew 11 walks in the second game as Taelyne Phillips and Haley Mull struggled to find the strike zone for Fernley.
Clinging to a 1-0 lead, Mull nearly yielded a grand slam to Ricken, the school’s all-time home run leader, in the third inning. The sac fly tied the game before Paige Thorn walked to score Ali Tedford and Hannah Frank walked, scoring Courtney Cross.
Megan McCormick walked with the bases loaded in the fourth inning to cap off the scoring as Izzy Thomas crossed the plate.
It also marked the first for Bill Archer as a head coach after assisting Phil Pinder in the 2011 and 2012 championship seasons.
Fallon (three) and Fernley (four) have combined to win the past seven of eight titles with only Boulder City in 2010 reaching the mountain top.
The Lady Wave finished the season with a 19-5 mark in the Northern DI-A and 26-10 overall. They won the Northern DI-A regional tournament over Fernley, 4-2, as Ricken retired the final 14 hitters.
4. Wrestlers win 3 state titles
Sam Goings, Trae Workman and David Hughes each capped their seasons in February with Fallon’s first individual state wrestling titles since 2010.
Goings (138 pounds) pinned his first two opponents – Desert Pines’ Eric Awa-Moppert and Lowry’s Gabe Molina – to advance to the title match against Faith Lutheran’s Trenton Dolby in the Division I-A bracket. Goings, though, needed all three periods to outlast Dolby as he won, 7-3.
Workman, like Goings, pinned his first two opponents before a technical fall in the championship gave him his first state title. Workman pinned Moapa Valley’s Jake Repp 51 seconds into the second period, and took down Western’s Daniel Zelaya with 1:29 left in the third period of the semifinal round.
Workman didn’t let up in the title bout as he raced to a 16-0 lead early in the third period to win by technical fall.
Hughes, meanwhile, won his championship after missing the regular season with a knee injury. He came back to win the Northern DI-A regional title before making his run at state.
Hughes alternated pins as he dropped Mojave’s Anthony Tario in the second period of the quarterfinal round and then beat Pahrump Valley’s Jon Corrow, 7-1. Hughes met Moapa Valley’s Jared Repp in the championship bout won by pin at the 1:07 mark in the final period.
5. Overlie out as coach
Longtime wrestling, track and cross country coach Mitch Overlie was removed from those positions in March by the Churchill County School District after the district settled a hazing lawsuit from 2010.
The district, though, never admitted the decision was tied to the hazing incident, although Overlie was removed days after the settlement was reached.
Overlie was the coach of the wrestling team when on a trip to Las Vegas several students hazed a teammate. The victim’s father, Dee Gregory, filed a lawsuit in 2012 and settled with CCSD for $712,500.
At a CCSD School Board meeting in March, about 70 people attended in support of Overlie and 47 spoke on his behalf.
Many Churchill County High School students, current athletes and coaches spoke about Overlie’s positive influence, mentoring, ability to work with athletes and his drive to get them positive results in the classroom.
While speculation has run rampant about the reasoning, the district has repeatedly declined to state publicly why Overlie was removed from the coaching ranks.