Tracksters ready to run to state | NevadaAppeal.com

Tracksters ready to run to state

Steve Puterski
sputerski@lahontanvalleynews.com
Fallon senior Nathan Heck is the favorite to win the pole vault during today and Saturday's Northern Division I-A regional track meet at Fernley High School.
Steve Puterski / LVN | LVN

Northern DI-A track meet

The Northern Division I-A track meet is today and Saturday at Fernley High School.

Today’s meet starts at 2 p.m. and Saturday’s action begins at 9 a.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and $3 for seniors 62 and older. Children 8 and under are free.

A three-way fight for the regional title may come down to those athletes on the cusp of a state qualification.

The Fallon boys track team expects to be in the mix for the Northern Division I-A championship along with Elko and Dayton today and Saturday at the regional track and field meet in Fernley.

The Lady Wave, meanwhile, has a tougher hill to climb especially since losing their top sprinter, Jordan Beyer, to a season-ending knee injury several weeks ago.

For the boys, though, the usual cast of characters — Nathan Heck, T.J. Mauga, Cameron Kissick, Charles Fulks, Tristen Thomson and Jake Ernst — lead the way.

“It’s going to be close between us, Dayton and Elko,” Fallon boys coach Steve Heck said. “They are all focused and know what they need to do to move up. Of course, the big thing is qualify (for state).”

But athletes such as Jordan Schultz and Miguel Lebron may have a bigger impact on the chase for the regional title and their own state qualifications than expected.

Schultz ranks seventh in the North in the 300-meter hurdles and fifth in the pole vault. Two solid performances in each event would not only qualify Schultz for next week’s state meet, but give Fallon several additional points.

Likewise for Lebron, who is ranked ninth in the high jump and seventh in the triple jump. In a meet such as today’s, it only takes one attempt to crack into the top four and earn a state berth.

“You have kids like Jordan Schultz who is sitting right on the cusp,” Steve Heck said. “He’s a kid who can make a big difference. He can help our 4×100 and 4×200 teams get in. Lebron can sneak in. He’s not ranked in the top four or five … but all it takes is one (jump).”

As for the usual cast, Heck has had a banner year and ranks in the top 10 in six events. Too bad for the Wave he can only compete in four, which will be the pole vault, 100, 300 hurdles and long jump.

Nevertheless, Fallon still has plenty of talent to rely on.

Mauga, a sophomore, is yet another standout racing up the mountain in the discus and is ranked second after a personal-best throw of 159 feet, 8 inches several weeks ago. He also sits in fourth in the shot put.

Thomson is Fallon’s best hope in the distance races as the junior is sixth in the 800 and seventh in the 1,600, while Ernst is first in the triple jump and eighth in the long jump.

Fulks, meanwhile, has been a force in the 400 ranking third, while Kissick is on his teammates heels in fourth. Kissick also is second in the 200 despite only running the race twice this season, while Fulks is eighth.

If both finish in the top four in both events, it would only bolster Fallon’s chances of a regional title.

“I’ve just been watching how I train and I know my limits,” Kissick said.

Kissick, though, has had a tough career constantly fighting through injuries. He suffered a pulled hamstring to begin the season, but has been able to run through the pain thanks to stretching and pulling back when necessary. Still, he has run the 200 in 23.07 seconds and the 400 in 51.93.

In addition, he also runs in the 4×200 and 4×400 relays, which are also primed to qualify for state.

“I’m injury-free right now,” Kissick said. “This Friday I will have four races (including one preliminary race), and the 4×400 on Saturday. I’ve been stretching a lot more lately.”

The Lady Wave, meanwhile, lost a budding star in Beyer, who was their best sprinter. As a result, the gap between Truckee, Elko and Spring Creek is that much larger, but with a few surprise outcomes standings can change.

“We really push ourselves,” Misaki Clare said. “It’s not only a competition between the other teams, but our own team.”

As per tradition, the Lady Wave typically have a number of solid jumpers and this year isn’t any different.

“I expect everybody to step up,” Fallon girls coach Paul Orong said. “We are so young, for three-fourths of our team it will be their first time (at regionals). We are stressing to work hard on what got them here. I hope these kids understand now it’s for real.”

Sophomore standout Whitney Skabelund leads the charge as she has begun to peak. Skabelund ranks first in the triple jump, second in the long jump and is sixth in the hurdles.

Brynlee Shults is also poised to qualify in the triple and long jumps and possibly high jump depending on how many relays the freshman runs.

Joining Shults in the jumps are Cassidy East, who is eighth in high jump, and Sierra Hickox and Clare, who rank fourth and 10th, respectively, in the triple jump.

Clare will also compete in the long jump and shot put, and like Schultz and Lebron, is another athlete on the cusp of a state bid.

“I’m really thinking about how I am eating this week and keeping myself hydrated,” Clare said. “I’m working on my form more. Last year was getting all the basics down. This year I am forcing to get my form better.”