Best sports moments of 2016: Part II
Last week, I revealed Part I of my favorite moments from 2016.
To recap, the community said goodbye to a legend when Ed Arciniega died in the spring. Scott Smith qualified for the Baraccuda Championship after a four-year hiatus. The Greenwave won its first state wrestling title and the girls basketball team came so close to bringing home a regional tournament crown.
Here’s Part II of my favorite moments from last year, ranging from shooting photos of an ex-Cy Young winner to cover a couple local standout athletes.
The Hall of Fame is real
Failed attempts have been made in creating a high school Hall of Fame to honor the Greenwave’s past.
Early in 2016, a group of dedicated supports of the green and white met at least monthly to discuss lifting this feat from the ground. The group amassed to nearly 30 in a summer meeting as the Greenwave Hall of Fame strives to induct the first class later this year. It’s fun to be part of the process and the fall can’t come soon enough to see the many Greenwave supporters gathered around student-athletes who made this school what it is today.
Wolf Pack basketball is back
I admit watching Wolf Pack sports was boring for a short stretch.
The football team was predictable and it was more fun popping in a disc of EA Sports. The same could be said about the basketball team as it struggled under David Carter. When Eric Musselman took over last season, though, the team changed.
Nevada was more energetic and fun to watch. It reminded fans of the NCAA Tournament days with Mark Fox and Nick Fazekas commanded the floor. The exciting season was capped off by the College Basketball Invitational victory, signaling the return of the Wolf Pack.
Girls tennis dominates fall sports
While the football and volleyball teams were having strong seasons, it was the girls tennis team that grabbed the headlines.
For the first time in program history, Fallon never lost a match as it won the regular-season title. The Lady Wave proceeded to crown singles and doubles champions in the regional tournament as Fallon held off rival Truckee for the team title. While state didn’t go in Fallon’s favor, coach Jessica Nuckolls’ senior-heavy team dominated the division from start to finish.
Leaps of faith lead to state titles
Whitney Skabelund will graduate this spring as one of the school’s greatest jumpers.
And that’s saying a lot considering the company she will join – including Olympian Aarik Wilson.
Skabelund’s calm but competitive demeanor led to the then-junior to dominate the long and triple jumps last spring. She had one of the best marks in the state out of all four divisions and ended the year with a pair of state titles. To sweeten the victories, Skabelund signed a Division I offer last fall to compete at Utah State.
CrossFit is taking over fitness
Believe it or not, CrossFit is transforming the sports landscape.
On a local level, you can thank ex-Fallon grad Sean Sweeney, who qualified for the Reebok CrossFit Games last summer. Only 50 in the Southwest region qualified for the regional competition and the top four in Sweeney’s age group advanced to this national event. About 270,000 compete in CrossFit all over the world each year.
If you haven’t visited with Sweeney or seen his gym west of town, you should. It’s the new rage in sports training or if you’re tired of how your body looks and want to cross off that New Year’s goal.
Nice guy finishes first
One of the nicest and humble people to graduate from Fallon last year, Tristen Thomson, was an unstoppable, running force.
Thomson was one of the best distance runners when he captured third in the state cross country meet and then broke the school record in the 800-meter run. If not for a late-season injury, Thomson was poised to medal in the mid- and long-distance running events at regional and state.
But Thomson’s future was still secure when he signed to run at Concordia in Irvine, Calif., where he garnered recognition in his first year. And he was also a top 10 student athlete, recognized by the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association.
World Series champs visit Reno
Big-time Timmy Jim – or Tim Lincecum – visited Reno last June after he was picked up by the Angels.
Pitching for Salt Lake before being called up to Los Angeles, Lincecum started against the Aces in front a sellout crowd. The two-time Cy Young winner and three-time World Series champion started shaky but picked it up in front of the pro-Giants crowd, giving the fans an experience never to forget.
The following month saw a few Giants on rehab, including World Series champs Travis Ishikawa, Joe Panik and Hunter Pence, who played extensively for Sacramento while the River Cats were in Reno. Who says you can’t be romantic about baseball?