CARSON CITY — Like a pack of infantry soldiers treading carefully in enemy territory, four determined young men were on the verge of making history over the weekend.
There was no gun fire or bombs dropping from the skies above. No, this band of brothers did the unthinkable, twice, in the Northern 3A Regional track and field meet.
Colton Peterson, Drake Copley, Broder Thurston and Reid Clyburn pulled off not one, but two flawless relay races as the sprinting quartet won both the 4×100 and 4×200, breaking the meet record in both and the school record in the latter.
“I think that was the best we’ve ever run as a team,” Thurston said after the 4×100 race. “We’ve been running this team for two years in a row. Our handoffs were smooth. It couldn’t have gone better. That was a great way to cap it off. “
Copley started the 4×100, handing off to Thurston who found Clyburn on the final turn. Peterson created distance on the last 100, pumping his fist as he crossed the finish line. Fallon won the race in 43.91 seconds.
“There was a little pressure,” Copley said about being first. “Once I knew that I got those blocks, I was thinking we prepare for this all season. We’ve got this.”
For an encore, the same four ran the 4×200 race even better, finishing it in 1:31.63, and helping the Greenwave finish in second, two points behind Elko on Saturday. Fallon edged Truckee (117-114) for second thanks to placing in the top eight 22 times.
“What a miraculous day,” Fallon boys coach Steve Heck said. “I have been to a lot of regional and state meets over the years and it is a rare occurrence when everything goes right. Two weeks ago, on paper, we were supposed to get fifth place, almost 30 points out of first. After the region trials, we looked to place fourth, 28 points behind the leader, Elko — really an insurmountable amount of points.”
In addition to the relay teams, T.J. Mauga won the discus at 162 feet, 6 inches, and took second in the shot put at 47-7.75, both season bests.
“I’m happy that I made it. I just get to fine-tune my form and peak at the end,” Mauga said.
Peterson finished second in both the 100 and 200 to qualify for state, while Thurston (200), Clyburn (300 hurdles) and Bryan Duenas (long and triple jumps) also advanced to this week’s state meet.
“We preach constantly to the kids about every point counting, and they really took it to heart,” Heck said. “Kids were scoring points that were not even supposed to place and others were moving up the ranks. All meet I kept waiting for something to go wrong, but it never did. I felt like I was watching a Rocky movie. Elko, Truckee and Fernley would hit us with some big blows and then we would hit them with three small jabs — bap, bap, bap — and we were right back in it. It was the epitome of a team effort.”
Because of the improved performances, Fallon picked up extra placing points in the 200, 400, 800, 110 hurdles, triple jump, discus and the 4×100 and 4×400 relay teams.
Peterson ran the 100 in 11.39 and the 200 in 23.30 with Thurston coming in 0.10 seconds behind him in the 200. Peterson said he focused all week on his starts but he ended up with a bad start in Friday’s 100. He more than made up for it by punching his ticket to state.
“I was feeling good,” he said. “During practice, I was working on my starts and getting better at that. It didn’t work out because I had a bad start but I pulled through at the end.”
Duenas scratched on his first four jumps, leaving him two more attempts to make his mark in the triple jump. But the sophomore came through with a 41-0.5 leap in the triple and then posted a 19-5.25 in the long.
“I was pretty scared that I wasn’t going to get any jumps in,” Duenas said. “I was just trying to accelerate faster down the runway. Last year, I was slated second in the north and they said I had a definite chance of going to state and then I end up taking sixth. I was really striving to get to go to state.”
Clyburn experienced Duenas’ scare in the trials in Fallon, except the scare turned into a reality when he false-started in the 110 hurdles. He advanced to the regional finals in the 300 hurdles and needed a comeback in the final 100 meters to secure his trip to state with a 41.28 time. Trevor East finished sixth at 43.83.
“When I missed out on the 110s at pre-region, I was actually disappointed in myself but I wasn’t going to let that drive me down. I don’t think it pushed me,” he said. “What pushed me was my 4×1 earlier (Friday). Just that feeling that I could do something here and being able to do that was amazing.”
Only the top three qualified and Fallon had a handful of near-misses.
East placed fourth in the triple jump at 40-4-.50 followed by John Kirkland in sixth at 38-6.5. Ben Dooley finished fifth in the shot put at 133-11 and Joe Terry was fourth in the 800 at 2:03.92. The 4×400 team of Thurston, Terry, Copley and East finished fourth in 3:38.39, and the 4×800 team of J.R. Demillo, Justin Cathey, Bryan Ugalde and Terry was fifth in 8:52.14.
Demillo finished seventh in the 800 at 2:10.88, Cathey was seventh in the high jump at 5-6, Jacob Weber took eighth in the 400 in 55.05 and Kirkland was ninth in the long jump at 17-4. Garrett Tognazzini was 23rd in the 3200 at 11:55.67.