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Lady Wave loaded with young talent

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com
Chloe Overlie, left, and Shelby Hickox give the Lady Wave a formidable presence in the distance races. Fallon begins the season Saturday at home.
Steve Puterski / sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com | LVN

Lady Wave at a glance

Coach: Paul Orong

2014 result: Ninth at state

2015 schedule

Saturday host 1A meet, 9a.m.

March 14 at Fernley, 9 a.m.

March 21 at Yerington or McQueen, TBA

March 28 host Fallon/Elks Invitational, 9 a.m.

April 3-4 at Reed Invitational

April 11 at Rocklin (Calif.) Invitational or Elko, TBA

April 17 at Del Oro Invitational (Calif.), 12:30 p.m.

April 22 host Conclave of Awesomeness, 1 p.m.

April 25 at Big George Invitational, 10 a.m.

May 2 at Lowry or Sacramento, TBA

May 8-9 at Regional meet in Fernley, TBA

May 15-16 at State meet in Las Vegas, TBA

The talent is obvious, but where they end up comes down to coaching.

Paul Orong’s girls track team is littered with freshmen and sophomores, but the inexperience will take an early-season toll.

But a track season is a marathon, not sprint, ironically.

Returning about four upperclassmen, the Fallon girls track team will rely on Orong and his staff to break down, then build up the athletic core of underclassmen.

Despite the youthful infusion to the girls program, Orong said he can’t wait to see how they perform.

They get their chance at 9 a.m. Saturday as Fallon hosts the first league meet of the season at the Edward Arciniega Complex.

“I haven’t been this excited in 10 years,” Orong said. “The kids asked me how we will do and I said, ‘Honestly, it’s like Christmas Day. You’re looking at your present, but you don’t know what’s in it. We are very young, very talented and very hard working.”

Coming into the fold for the Lady Wave are newcomers Chloe Overlie and Whitney Skabelund, two talented underclassmen who have varsity success.

Overlie, a freshmen, was the top runner for the Lady Wave cross-country team, while Skabelund, a sophomore, placed second in the triple jump as a freshman in New Mexico last season.

Overlie, along with junior Jordyn Rogers, Shelby Hickox and a host of others, are just two of nearly two dozen girls willing to run distance events. Overlie is expected to run in the 800-, 1,600- and 3,200-meters.

It’s quite a turn for the Lady Wave, who has struggled to field even five distance runners in the past several years.

“Chloe is going to help us tremendously,” Orong said.

Skabelund, meanwhile, has Orong drooling with her potential in the jumps, a staple of the Fallon program.

Orong compared the sophomore to former Fallon standouts Elena Murray and Patricia Leggett (who transferred this year). Murray won a state title in the triple jump, while Leggett qualified for last year’s state meet in the long and triple jumps.

Although Skabelund will be a force in the jumps, Orong will also have her compete in the hurdles and possibly a relay.

“I think she will be better than both of them (Murray and Leggett),” Orong said of Skabelund. “She will also hurdle … she already three steps.”

Another freshman, Jordan Beyer, has emerged as the Lady Wave’s fastest runner, Orong said. She will be joined by Melissa Williams and others in the sprints.

“She’s (Beyer) is just a thoroughbred,” Orong said. “She is already our fastest runner. Melissa Williams will be a sprinter.”

As for the throws, Emily Mulac returns as the lone senior and nearly qualified for the state meet. Mulac will join sophomore LeAnn Stands and Misaki Clare, who also jumps, in the throwing events.

“She’s improved incredibly,” Orong said of Clare. “She’s our beast and has really improved. LeAnn should qualify for state. She barely missed qualifying for state last year.”

All the possibilities gives Orong a benefit the team has lacked in the past several years — depth.

With a turnout equal to the boys program, the Lady Wave are in the position to steadily grow and improve throughout the season.

Despite the lack of meaningful experience in regional or state meets, Orong said his goal of winning a state title hasn’t wavered. Although the Lady Wave may be a longshot to capture the state crown, the long-time Fallon coach said if his athletes stay healthy, keep up their work ethic and desire, a regional title is in their grasp.

“We thought after last year … the cupboard was bare,” Orong said. “Then comes out all these girls. The best thing I love about these kids is (there) are no whiners. They come out and work. We are going to get better along the way.”