The tops in sports | NevadaAppeal.com

The tops in sports

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com
Greenwave third baseman Riley Williams throws to first base for an out during the Wave's 9-2 loss to Faith Lutheran in the Division I-A state title game in May.
Steve Puterski / sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com | LVN

Editor’s note: The top 2014 sports stories will run in two parts. Stories Nos. 6-10 today and 1-5 on Friday.

6. Short at state

The Fallon football, baseball and girls tennis teams made a run, but in the end could not capture the hardware.

All three clubs qualified for their respective state tournaments, yet none was able to pull away from their opponents.

The tennis team was drilled, 15-3, to Faith Lutheran in the semifinals, the football team was shut out, 16-0, by Desert Pines, also in the semis, and the baseball team was dropped 9-2 by Faith Lutheran in the title game.

The football team was anchored by seven all-state selections (Dylan Jabines, Nathan Heck, Justin Hatfield, Hunter Holcombe, Joe Pyle, Cody Stadtman and Riley Williams) to a 10-2 overall record and the outright Northern Division I-A title.

The baseball team, meanwhile, won the Northern DI-A crown with a 13-3 win over South Tahoe.

Fallon’s state run began with a 6-5 win over Chaparral and then an 11-0 loss to the Crusaders. The Wave rebounded with an 11-1 win over South Tahoe.

Brandon Beeghly hit two home runs, while Tyler Bagby added one for Fallon in the tournament. Fallon finished the season 24-10-1.

The Lady Wave made its second straight appearance in the team tournament, led by the doubles tandems of Debra Beyer and Kali Strong and Izzy Martinez and Melanie Nuckolls.

7. Heck of a year

Perhaps Fallon’s best all-around athlete, Nathan Heck, signed his National Letter of Intent last month to compete in track and field with Idaho State University.

Heck is a two-time state runner-up in the pole vault and is tied for the school record at 15 feet.

After a short recruiting process, Heck inked his letter with the Bengals and joins a program led by one of the best pole vaulting coaches in the country, Dave Nielsen.

Heck also received interest from the University of Washington, a Pac-12 school, but decided to stay with ISU and its scholarship offer. Coaches from Washington told Heck he must clear 16 feet before a serious offer would be made.

In addition to Heck moving onto to the track, he also had a breakout season leading the Fallon football team in rushing with 1,553 yards and 19 touchdowns.

He was named first-team all-state by the Division I-A coaches in addition to being selected the North’s Most Valuable Player.

He helped lead the Greenwave to the state semifinals

8. Harvey Dahl retires from the NFL

Fallon’s first NFL player retired in the summer due to a string of injuries.

Harvey Dahl was released by the St. Louis Rams in the offseason, but injuries to his back and ankle were too much to overcome. He tallied 82 starts as a guard and tackle in eight seasons for three teams (San Francisco, Atlanta and St. Louis).

After a standout high school career, Dahl earned a scholarship to the University of Nevada. There, he started as a true freshman and went on to be named team captain and All-WAC honors twice.

After graduating from Nevada, Dahl’s road to the NFL was a choppy one. He went undrafted and then signed with Dallas. The Cowboys, though, released him and Dahl signed with the 49ers and earned a spot on the practice squad.

In 2007, though, Dahl was signed by Atlanta off San Francisco’s practice squad and placed on the active roster.

He started the next three years for the Falcons, although one season was cut short due to an injury. In 2011, the Falcons opted not to resign Dahl, who then landed a deal with the Rams.

He started the next three years for Jeff Fisher’s club and started nine games in his last year before a knee injury ended his season.

Dahl was renown for his work ethic and physical play. He was named one of the NFL’s dirtiest players, although Dahl always played until he heard the whistle.

9. ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” comes to Fallon

The city of Fallon, Dynasty Boxing and ESPN made history for the seventh annual Rural Rumble on Aug. 8.

The boxing event drew the bright lights and cameras of ESPN’s “Friday Night Fights” in addition to numerous top-ranked fighters battling the elements and each other in an international event.

In addition, the city also produced a commercial that ran on air and generated a lively social media reaction.

With Evander Holyfield as a Chinese ambassador for Dynasty Boxing and in attendance, the fights started with a thud but rebounded for some of the best action in the event’s history.

Rain fell about 30 minutes before showtime, but managed to subside in time for the event to air live throughout the country.

ESPN’s on-air talent of Teddy Atlas and Todd Grisham called the action, while Atlas filmed a segment for the main event at Naval Air Station Fallon.

As for the fights, Willie Nelson, who was ranked No. 5 by the World Boxing Council, dispatch Mexico’s Luis Grajeda, while Reno’s Osacar Vasquez, making his fourth trip to the Rural Rumble, scored a unanimous decision over Las Vegas’ Sergio Lopez.

The thud, though, came in the opening bout when Dynasty’s newest fighter, Zhang Zhilei, won by TKO over Curtis Lee Tate seconds into the first round.

On replay, it appeared Tate went down after Zhilei’s arm or elbow skimmed his face. Atlas was furious on the broadcast calling Tate’s performance one of the worst he’d ever seen.

10. Parsons caps career at Nevada

Sara Parsons, a 2010 Churchill County High School grad, hit .276 with two home runs, five doubles and 21 RBIs in 52 games in her final season for the Wolf Pack. In the outfield, Parsons committed three errors and tallied four assists.

She ended her career in Nevada’s record books as No. 3 in hit by a pitch (23), fifth in doubles (37) and stolen bases (26), sixth in on-base percentage (.399) and walks (69), eighth in runs scored (102) and RBIs (85).

Parsons’ single-season marks include third in hit by a pitch (nine in 2012), fourth in RBIs (41 in 2013), sixth in doubles (17 in 2012), eighth in walks (26 in 2012), ninth in runs scored (38 in 2013),

Her career started slow, as she Parsons hit .050 (1-for20) in 21 games and committed six errors as a freshman in the Western Athletic Conference in 2011.

She bounced between third base and the outfield, but eventually settled in as the Pack’s starting centerfielder in 2012. Her offseason, though, consisted of work in the gym and offseason drills to improve.

Parsons crushed opposing pitching her sophomore season. She started in all 57 games, hit .294 with 29 runs scored, three home runs, 23 RBIs and was the Pack’s only selection for first-team All-WAC and a two-time Academic All-WAC honoree.

As a junior, she hit .317, led the team with 41 RBIs, was second on the club with six home runs, scored 38 runs and tallied six assists in Nevada’s first season in the Mountain West Conference.

Parsons chose the Wolf Pack over offers from Minnesota and Idaho State.