Skabelund soars to second at state
LAS VEGAS — It was an up-and-down two days for the Fallon track programs.
On the up side, Whitney Skabelund and the boys 4×400-meter relay team set personal and school records, respectively, at Del Sol High School.
On the flip side, senior sensation Nathan Heck was disqualified from the 100 and took second in the pole vault for the third straight year. Heck, however, took second in the 110 hurdles (15.35 seconds) nipping Sparks’ Nick Van Patten (15.43) at the line as both came in behind Moapa Valley’s RJ Hubert (14.84).
As a result of Skabelund’s efforts, Fallon finished 15th in the team standings with 17 points. Faith Lutheran ran away with the girls team title with 125.
The boys, meanwhile, finished fifth with 45 as Faith Lutheran claimed the crown with 95.5. Elko was second at 75, Dayton third with 67 and Desert Pines fourth with 61.
In the pole vault, Heck and Moapa Valley’s Caleb Witsken came in as the two top vaulters in the state, regardless of classification. Heck, though, was unable to get above 14 feet, while Witsken won the event with a height of 16-0.25. Witsken became just the seventh pole vaulter in state history to clear 16 feet, according to records from UCS Spirit.
Heck was also sixth in the long jump at 21-5.75, while Jake Ernst took seventh in the triple jump at 40-2.
“He PR’d (personal record) in the long jump and the hurdles,” Fallon boys coach Steve Heck said. “Day 2 didn’t pan out, but we knew that kid (Witsken) was good. It was still a good day in the vault, really. The false start in the 100 was just not what we wanted. It’s not a call you can protest.”
The 4×400 team of Cameron Kissick, Charles Fulks, Tristen Thomson and Jordan Schultz had its best race of the season finishing neck-and-neck with Cheyenne, but was unable to squeak past the Desert Shield. Fallon finished in 3:26.92, while Cheyenne came in at 3:26.4.
“All four of them ran great splits,” Heck said. “That was a fast race, and if we would’ve ran our usual time we wouldn’t have medaled.”
Skabelund, the lone Lady Wave representative, went big in the triple jump. After working hard all season to redefine her technique, the patience paid off as she landed a personal-best jump of 36 feet, 1.75 inches to take an early lead.
In fact, five of her sixth jumps were longer than 35 feet, more than 1 foot better than her previous season-best jump.
However, Faith Lutheran’s Hailey Vinson landed a jump of 36-9.75 late in the event to take the title.
Skabelund, however, didn’t give in, but an awkward approach on her fifth jump left her shaken.
“That would’ve been my furthest jump,” she said. “I put some much into it, my body couldn’t take it. I’m going to work extra hard (next season) and maybe come out a month earlier.”
She came down the runway and as she was pushing off to land in the pit, her ankle rolled, but she avoided a serious injury. It was the jump she felt would have been the winner and would’ve been the longest jump in the DI-A this season, coach Paul Orong said.
Nevertheless, Skabelund scratched and settled for second place for the second straight year as she was the runner-up in the event in New Mexico last year.
“I was super excited to be at state again,” she said. “Thank goodness I came out hot. My series of jumps was better than it has been all season. Every single jump was farther than every jump I had this season.”
“She deserved to win,” Fallon girls coach Paul Orong added. “That jump where she turned her ankle would’ve been around 38 feet and puts her as the state champ and the triple jump record holder.”
She also took fourth in the long jump with a leap of 15-7 behind winner Cayla Nikodemus of Faith Lutheran (16-11.25).
In addition, Skabelund was fifth in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 49.03 seconds as Maya Brosch of South Tahoe won the event in 45.18.
Fulks, meanwhile, came into the 400 seeded second, but a strong head wind and a loaded field took its tool. Kenric Davis of Western charged out of the blocks, while Fulks was in good position through the first 250 meters.
Around the final turn, however, Davis, Dayton’s Dallon Mendoza, Spring Creek’s Camden Mauer and Clark’s Semaj Taylor forged ahead.
Fulks finished fifth crossing the line in 51.37, while Davis won with a time of 49.04 followed by Mendoza (50.52), Mauer (50.57) and Taylor (51.16).
The 4×200 team of Fulks, Kissick, Schultz and Ernst was nipped at the finish line by Faith Lutheran as the Wave came in at 1:32.05 and the Crusaders crossed at 1:31.91.
“We medaled and that was our goal,” Kissick said.
“They had great handoffs,” Heck added.
Kissick placed fifth in the 200 (23.28), while Fulks was eighth (23.78) behind Davis, who won the event in 22.31.
In the 800, Tristen Thomson set a personal-best time of 1:59.59 to finish sixth in a crowded field. The 4×800 team of Thomson, Sean Cordes, Ethan Smith and Trevor Davis took seventh in 8:36.8.