Lady Wave track and field reeks of great talent
Paul Orong hasn’t been this excited about his track and field team since he helped coach a future Olympian.
“I’m real excited about my team this year,” Orong said. “We’re so young. We have a lot of talent and enthusiasm. It’s a real pleasure being around these kids for the short time so far. We’re going to be that sleeper team in the north and for the title. I really believe that.”
The longtime Greenwave coach has only one senior on this year’s girls team but said he has a feeling Fallon will not only compete in the Division I-A, but be well rounded in all phases as well. From the jumps to the throws to the sprints and distance running, Fallon is poised to have a strong year.
The lone senior, Caitlin Knox, returns this year and will help guide a young squad that has five freshmen, 11 sophomores and 10 juniors. Knox will be competing in pole vault and hurdles.
“She’s going to help steady the ship for us. She’s a great kid,” Orong said.
The strength of girls track and field under Orong has been the jumpers and this year doesn’t look to disappoint.
The lone state qualifier — junior Whitney Skabelund – returns as the team’s top jumper after she took second in the triple jump and fourth in the long at state. Junior Misaki Clare and sophomores Brynlee Shults and Sierra Hickox return in both the long and triple jumps.
“We’ve been very fortunate to have some very good jumpers every year,” said Orong, who coached 2008 Olympian Aarik Wilson. “We’re really, really deep. We’re just real young.”
In the high jump, Shults, Sierra Hilcox and twin sister Shelby, junior Cassidy East, sophomore Emily Evett and freshman Mayla Dahl will compete. Shults took fifth in the regional, missing state by one spot.
Sophomore Jordan Beyer leads the sprinters after leading the region before tearing her ACL last season. Beyer, who suffered the injury during a ski competition, was No. 1 in the north in both the 100 and 200.
“She’s a world class skier and she tore her ACL last year so she didn’t get to compete in regionals,” Orong said. “She’s also one of the best pole vaulters in the north.”
Joining Beyer in the sprints are juniors Melyssa Williams and Mahal Moon, and freshman Allie Lister, who will also pole vault, jump and run in the relays. In the hurdles, junior CC Ramos is back along with Skabelund, who took fourth in the 300 hurdle race at state. Sophomores Cienna Dennis and Shelby Hickox and freshman Elizabeth Ebner give Fallon depth in hurdles.
“We have some depth in the hurdles that we usually don’t,” Orong said.
The relays look to be open and Orong said he won’t have the teams set until after a few meets. But Fallon will have experience as everyone returns plus the addition of the freshman group.
“I have 28 girls and the versatility for our team is great,” he said. “For our relays, we’ll match them up. Some of our girls will already have experience.”
Rounding out the track category are the distance runners, which include juniors Melanie Nuckolls and Amanda Pursley, and sophomores Chloe Overlie, Jeanne Anderson and Mary Grace Young.
The throws — shot and discus — include juniors Clare, LeAnn Stands and Lillie Wohle, sophomores Allie Marrujo and Grace Lisanti, and freshmen Glenda Lee and Kiana Nelson.
“They just work hard,” Orong said about the team. “The fun thing about this is they just don’t know any better. We’re going to do some great things.”
The Division I-A North doesn’t look much different with the top teams as Elko remains the team to beat, followed by Spring Creek and Lowry. But Orong likes it this way.
“We’re going to be the ones under the radar,” Orong said. “They’re always the top teams. Dayton’s always got some great athletes and so does Fernley. That could benefit us. That could split some points.”
Fallon begins the season on Saturday with a conference meet at the Ed Arciniega Athletic Complex.
“We get really good help with the parents and community volunteering,” Orong said. “It’s going to be a real exciting year for us to see where kids will be at the end.”