Heroes back home
They are returning to their roots en masse.
Six of Fallon’s most decorated athletes will take part in Saturday’s Hometown Heroes event at Churchill County High School.
Josh Mauga, Scott Smith, Paige Sauer, Jodi Dolan, Jennifer Hucke and Aarik Wilson will be on hand as part of the event organized by Tim Mitchell of the Fallon Auto Mall in conjunction with the NV 150 celebration.
World champion heeler Jade Corkill was slated to appear, but his random draw for the Reno Rodeo landed on Saturday.
The day begins at 8 a.m. with registration for the 5-10K fun run with a 9 a.m. start time. The race is followed by a field day, which will be at the practice fields of the high school north of the football and softball fields. Parking is available along Merton Street.
The cost is $30 for the run, while the field day is $5 for an individual and $15 for a family.
“The general idea is twofold,” Mitchell said. “It is to raise money, not just for the high school, but we want the money to go to the student-athletes directly.”
The course for the run will navigate through nearby neighborhoods, while the field day portion of the schedule will consist of activities associated with each athlete.
Mitchell said football (Mauga), golf clubs (Smith), basketball (Sauer), softball equipment (Dolan), volleyballs and nets (Hucke) and track exercises (Wilson) are some of the events planned.
“They (fans) will have an opportunity to talk to each of the athletes,” Mitchell said.
In addition, each child or family will receive a small poster of the six athletes, which can also be used to collect autographs.
Mitchell and his wife, though, came up with the idea of celebrating the heroes and will donate the money to the Mayor’s Youth Fund. The fund assists families in providing equipment and costs associated with sports.
Notably, Mitchell said the pay-to-play program initiated by the high school several years ago causes strain on students and families thin on money.
“The way the economy has been, $80 may be a rough spend for some families,” he added. “I wanted to put a spotlight on these athletes. A lot of people know about Josh and Harvey Dahl, but a lot of the kids don’t know that they can go to Fallon and do big things.”
Mauga played for Fallon before earning a scholarship at the University of Nevada. He signed a free agent contract in 2009 with the New York Jets and played for them for four seasons. He is currently a free agent after he was released this offseason.
Smith led the Greenwave to their first-ever boys golf state title in 2006 before playing for the Wolf Pack for four years. He qualified for the NCAA Tournament, won the Idaho Open as a professional, made two appearances at the Reno-Tahoe Open and made the cut in 2012. He also qualified for the 2012 U.S. Open.
Sauer played her college ball at the University of Connecticut, where she won the 2000 national title with the Huskies. She played professionally for four years in the WNBA and in Europe.
Dolan was the Nevada State Pitcher of the Year for Fallon in 1993 and Northern Nevada 3A Most Valuable Player in 1993-94. She played at Ohio State and set the school’s homerun record in 1997.
Dolan also played professionally with the Virginia Roadsters in 1998 in the Women’s Professional Softball League.
Hucke led the Wave to consecutive state volleyball titles in 1990-2000 before playing four years at Stanford. She won two national titles (2001, 2004).
Wilson still owns the Nevada high school state record in the triple jump with a leap of 51 feet, 1.25 inches. Wilson was a two-time NCAA champion, 10-time All-American, 10-time Big Ten champion at Indiana University. He won the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials in the triple jump to qualify for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Bejing.
He was also ranked in the top 10 in the world each season he competed.
“When you look at these six athletes and what they have accomplished, it’s incredible,” Mitchell said. “The more people that turn out, the better. I’m just really hoping a lot of kids will turn out.”