Friends, family and fans were treated to rare spectacle Saturday in Fallon athletics history.
Six of the most accomplished athletes in the town’s history were greeted by more than 100 people at the Edward Arciniega Complex as part of the Hometown Heroes celebration.
The event was designed to raise funds for the Mayor’s Youth Fund to assist Fallon’s youth with expenses associated with sports. One primary target is the cost for student-athletes to tryout and participate in athletics at Churchill County High School.
The school requires a fee for athletes to compete, and the money raised is for students who struggle with coming up with the necessary funds.
We raised a decent amount of money for the kids, which was the ultimate goal,” said event organizer Tim Mitchell. “We don’t want anybody not to tryout because of finances.”
Aarik Wilson, Jennifer Hucke, Josh Mauga, Scott Smith, Jodi Dolan and Paige Sauer returned to their roots to mingle, sign autographs and pose for photos with those in attendance.
All excelled in their journeys to national and global prominence. Wilson (triple jump) qualified for the 2008 Summer Olympics in Bejing, Hucke (volleyball) won a pair of national titles at Stanford, Mauga (football) played for the New York Jets, Dolan (softball) played for Ohio State and professionally for two years and Sauer own a national championship at Connecticut and played four years in the WNBA and in Europe.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Tim Mitchell, who organized the event. “We had over 100 runners. I thought all the athletes were happy and had a good time.
The day, though, kicked off with a 5K/10K run, and numerous runners braved the hot weather in the 10K (six miles) race. A DJ was also in attendance blasting music, while attendees were treated to free water and snacks.
“We had almost 60-65 volunteers and they were out on the course handing out water and directing the runners where to go,” Mitchell said. “All the runners I talked to thought it went of well and enjoyed the course.”
In addition, sailors from Naval Air Station Fallon were present with robots and bomb suits.
The athletes, meanwhile, showed some of their skills throughout the day. Smith worked with children on their golf swings, Wilson provided tips for the long and triple jumps, Mauga tossed the football and Dolan gave pointers on how to swing a bat.
Wilson also showed off his basketball skills and threw down dunks for the fans.
“That was really cool and got some of the kids out on the court,” Mitchell added.
The next goal, however, is to continue the event on an annual basis. Mitchell said he learned how to operate and organize, although there were growing pains.
If the timing works, Mitchell would like to hold the event during the school year to attract more children.
“Just a higher participation,” he said. “With any event, it grows every year. From all the feedback I’ve got, it was a really good event.”