Storied legends of Greenwave athletics
The Greenwave Hall of Fame became of labor of love for a small committee wanting to preserve the legacy of Churchill County High School athletes who reached the pinnacle of success.
While noble, the idea for having a Hall of Fame floated for years but nothing emerged until two years ago. Longtime coach Paul Orong thought the time was now to preserve those memories of athletes who put Fallon on the map. He assembled a committee he thought could start immediately, identify Greenwave legends and executed the plan.
The two years of monthly meetings, hundreds of emails and numerous hours of research produced a list — a very long list — of athletes worthy of induction. First, a research committee comprised of Bunny Corkill, Nancy Stewart, Yvonne Sutherland and Dave Lumos researched volumes of old yearbooks and newspaper clippings to find athletes from the 1920s to mid-to-late 1980s. Sportscaster Larry Barker, the play-by-play announcer for Greenwave sports, and the sports department of the Lahontan Valley News provided a wealth of information from the current crop of athletes eligible to be considered.
Then, like mom’s recipe for making an elaborate dish, the ingredients fell into place, and a Greenwave Hall of Fame announced its first class of inductees in June.
We, along with the community, appreciate the dedication and focus the committee took to make a Greenwave Hall of Fame a reality, not another dream. On Saturday, 35 inductees and two state championship teams received recognition. What our residents learned during the past six months was the rich legacies left behind. Many Fallon high-school athletes advanced their careers to the next level – some beyond that – to continue their quest to be the best.
Just some tidbits – Jim Bailey, a three-sport athlete from 1921-1924, became one of the greatest football players at the University of Nevada and later served 17 years in the state Legislature; football coach Wes Goodner played football at Nevada with Marion Motley, who later became an NFL Hall of Fame player; Val York played on many championship teams both at Fallon and Nevada, and he served in the U.S. Army for 20 years where he flew helicopters during two tours in Vietnam; Ellen Townsend emerged as one of the best female athletes out of Fallon, was later named Athlete of the Decade for her endeavors in the 1970s and played three sports at Nevada; football coach Tony Klenakis, Sr. guided Fallon to three consecutive state AA titles in the mid-1970s, and his 1976 team, which was honored Saturday, had an undefeated season; and Jennifer Hucke played on two state championship volleyball teams in 1999 and 2000 and later attended Stanford University, which won two national titles.
Iconic coaches Ed Arciniega and Elmo Dericco, both World War II veterans, guided the Greenwave to numerous regional and state titles in the 1950s and then continued to serve the students and community for four more decades.
Not to mention … Harvey Dahl and Josh Mauga played in the NFL; Jodi Dolan pitched in the Women’s Professional Fastpitch League; Aarik Wilson triple jumped in the 2008 Beijing Olympics; and Leonard Allen, who won a boxing championship in the U.S. Army, coached two Olympic boxers and competed in the Reno Rodeo.
Additional information on all the athletes and teams may be found at https://www.nevadaappeal.com/news/lahontan-valley/recognizing-past-achievements/.
We enthusiastically applaud our community for coming together to support the inaugural Hall of Fame. Although this first event had some glitches, they eventually will work themselves out, and we know the 2018 Hall of Fame class will be just as good and rich with history as this year’s.
Without the selflessness of the Hall of Fame committee members, Saturday would have been just another pretty autumn day in Fallon.
Editorials, the voice of the LVN, appear on Wednesdays.