Best sports moments of 2016: Part I
The year comes to an on Saturday and what a year it’s been for this community. Fallon dominated the winter sports, Octane Fest returned with a big bang over the summer and the city paid respects to a Greenwave legend.
It’s been a great year for the Greenwave and there were some pleasant surprises, including the wrestling team’s state title and the girls tennis team going undefeated.
Here’s Part I of my favorite moments from 2016. Part II will be revealed in next week’s column.
Saying goodbye to a legend who shaped greenwave sports
Ed Arciniega left behind quite an impressive legacy when he died earlier this year.
He was a pillar to Greenwave athletics as a coach and administrator. The athletic complex is named after the Greenwave legend and he would come to every football game, even during the school’s struggles in the 4A.
It was amazing hearing the stories from several members of the community about how Arciniega changed their lives. Not only was he a great influence with the Greenwave, but he was also a remarkable Spanish teacher who cared about his students.
Winning Arciniega’s foreign language scholarship — although I took French – and speaking with him and my father over lunch will remain as my favorite memory of El Senor. He will be missed but his leadership and caring attitude about his players and students still go on in today’s coaches.
FALLON GRADUATE FINDS his big break on the links
Fallon won its first state team golf title 10 years ago because of a strong nucleus led by Scott Smith.
The Fallon grad competed at the University of Nevada and then went pro, competing in several tournaments each year, including the Barracuda Championships (formerly known as the Reno-Tahoe Open). The PGA tournament isn’t as glamorous as the major events but it’s still competitive and opens a path for the next breakout star.
Smith qualified for the tournament this summer but struggled on his second day after making the cut.
Smith is passionate about the sport and lends a hand in Reno with lessons and is still learning the game. The great thing about golf is age isn’t a factor unlike football or baseball.
Smith will get his chance to shine and he’ll continue to make the Fallon community proud.
Lady Wave hoops: A step above the rest
The Lady Wave basketball team was scary good last season.
Fallon was a legitimate contender to win the state title but a buzzer-beating 3-pointer in the regional title game prevented Fallon from being the top seed. Fallon couldn’t change its fortune at state, losing in the semifinals, but on the bright side, it lost only one senior from the starting rotation.
Fallon didn’t lose to any 4A schools last season and a pair of freshmen showed how bright Fallon’s future is for the next year years, which brings up the current season. Fallon’s stronger and has dominated the league after a month of competition.
Don’t be surprised when this team returns to state.
Fallon grapples TO first state title IN FEBRUARY TOURNAMENT
Fallon’s wrestling team was on the rise last season.
The talk was whether Spring Creek or Lowry would win the state title in February but Fallon benefited from a perfect storm after taking third at regionals. Everything went wrong for the Spartans and Buckaroos. Everything went right for Fallon. The Greenwave was nearly immortal in the first two rounds at state and had the title won before the championship bouts.
When I saw how well Fallon did in the morning, I looked for bargain plane tickets to Las Vegas so I could catch the rest of the tournament. Instead, I was at a friend’s house, staring at my laptop for three hours while I watched the state tournament being streamed online. It was exciting to witness Fallon’s first state wrestling title, talk with first-year coach Trevor de Braga and the wrestlers afterward and then cover the parade and ceremony the following month as Fallon honored its newest group.
FALLON’S hall of fame TO HONOR GREENWAVE greats
Many, many great athletes and coaches have been with the Greenwave, but there’s nothing to show for it aside from the banners and plaques.
The Greenwave Hall of Fame is gearing toward inducting its first class in 2017, ending a long debate of why Fallon doesn’t have a hall of fame. Many other schools in the region, including Elko and Fernley of the 3A, have shrines to honor their past.
Fallon, on the other hand, has been able to retire jerseys but name athletic complexes and gyms after prominent coaches.
The hall of fame will be able to honor the greats who stood out and made the Greenwave relevant. Why a couple of NFL stars, an Olympian and national collegiate champions are not in a high school hall of fame is a burning question that will be answered next year during the first induction.
And while it will be great to recognize the past, it will also help connect today’s Greenwave athletes and contributors with the school’s history.
Thomas Ranson can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.