What to look for in 2014
As the New Year is upon us, the sports calendar is prepped with numerous storylines.
The Fallon faithful have plenty of room for optimism continuing with the ongoing basketball season. The girls and boys basketball programs each filed competitive teams and will be in the playoff hunt.
The Lady Wave, though, has an opportunity to make a state run. Coming off last year’s disappointment, Fallon has the talent to win the Northern Division I-A and secure its second state berth in four years.
With powerhouse Spring Creek struggling, the time is now for the Lady Wave to make their move. The state run hinges on three aspects: breaking the full-court press, moving on defense and hitting free throws.
If Fallon does that, it will be a tough out.
The boys, meanwhile, are poised for another playoff appearance, but the route to the state tournament runs through Northern powers Elko and Lowry. Those clubs are strong and disciplined, which makes Fallon’s journey decidedly tougher.
Looking forward, though, the spring will bring other state races including softball and boys track, as each club aims for a third title in four years.
I expect another Fallon-Fernley title game unless a team from the south gets hot. Don’t bet on that, as the two fierce cross-valley rivals are too good and experienced.
As for the track team, they must perform better at the state meet. With the addition of the southern talent and speed, the Wave must consistently crack the top four in their events to capture another title.
And can someone please break coach Steve Heck’s school records in the 100- and 200-meter races? It’s been nearly 30 years since he set those marks. Perhaps the mustache will come off if the record should fall.
Back on the diamond, Fallon native Sara Parsons wraps up her career at the University of Nevada. She’s been a monster between the lines the past two season and aims for a Mountain West title and NCAA Tournament appearance to cap her career.
While the Pack softball team aims for a title, the baseball club looks to reverse their losing ways with new coach Jay Johnson. The basketball programs, meanwhile, are stuck in a rut and changes must be made to keep them competitive.
On the football field, Brian Polian enters his second season as coach and must improve on a 4-8 record in 2013. He’s laid the groundwork, now the team must get back to a bowl game.
The summer months, meanwhile, will feature Octane Fest, which keeps on growing. Last year’s event nearly packed the Churchill County Fairgrounds and brings out thousands of fans each year.
For the race fans, another gripping season at Top Gun and Rattlesnake raceways are a great way to indulge the need for speed.
The Rural Rumble, however, should be back in place for its seventh year. The event is a great opportunity for fight fans to witness great action on the cheap.
Once school returns, most eyes will be focused on how the Greenwave football teams responds to its loss in the state title game. With most of its core returning, Fallon should be a favorite for the league and state crowns.
Questions loom at quarterback and running back, but there is no question the talent and athleticism is there.
As for an encore, how will the tennis, cross country and soccer teams respond.
The Lady Wave tennis team is on a roll, numbers are up and spirits high even after being thumped at the state tournament.
John and Julie Moore have built a contender in the North, but now they have eyes on a bigger prize.
The cross country team loses two valuable seniors, but returns three strong runners. A second straight state berth appears in the cards, but time will tell.
Finally, the Lady Wave soccer team fell short yet again of a state berth. They must clear that mental hurdle in the regional tournament and find a way to score.
With a young nucleus returning, last year’s experience should toughen this crop and finally push Fallon into the race for a state crown.
Steve Puterski is the sports editor for the Lahontan Valley News and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.