Fallon’s Christian Nemeth overcomes adversity in competing in 3 sports in senior season
Things were looking good for Christian Nemeth as his junior year began.
He was No. 1 on the depth chart at quarterback and helped lead Fallon to an opening-season victory on the road against cross-valley rival Fernley. He completed more than half his passes and threw two touchdowns but also two interceptions. Then came a 16-point loss at Truckee that saw Nemeth struggle, failing to complete 40 percent of his passes, and what looked to be a lopsided loss at South Tahoe two weeks later.
Fallon coach Brooke Hill made a change, opting for senior Conner Nelson to lead the offense, making it the final time Nemeth would be the starter for the rest of his career. The news, as expected, was tough to take.
“I had played quarterback throughout my entire high school and FYFL years prior to this happening, so it was certainly challenging,” Nemeth said. “I decided whatever decision the coaches had instilled was the best for our football team.”
Nemeth switched to receiver after the South Tahoe game but he wasn’t targeted much. Just twice for the rest of the season: one grab for 68 yards in a six-point loss to Elko and one for 3 yards in a 35-0 win over Sparks.
But what Nemeth did for the team as a junior didn’t reflect under his name in the stats column. He started developing into one of Fallon’s key blockers as the Greenwave rushed for more than 2,500 yards in 2016.
“When you go from being the quarterback to another position, there’s going to be some disappointment. He moved on from that,” Hill said. “He was pretty productive for us last year. This year, understanding his role, he did a really good job for us.”
Forward the clock to 2017 and Nemeth was even more productive for Hill’s offense, which saw two new quarterbacks guide the team. Sophomore Elijah Jackson was electrifying on the ground and in the air before an injury ended his season. Junior Sean McCormick came in and the offense didn’t lose a step. Nemeth, though, was still positioned on the outside as a receiver.
“Being a wide receiver my senior year was a bit different than I had anticipated; however, I set goals for myself and reached those goals,” Nemeth said. “I decided that scoring was not the only way to impact a football team. Blocking had always been a key aspect for me this year because I knew that blocking was needed in order for some of our players to bust out long plays and potential touchdowns.”
But as much as he enjoyed celebrating his teammates’ touchdowns, Nemeth wanted to score, too. And he did. He hauled in one touchdown against South Tahoe, one against Spring Creek and two against Lowry.
Ultimately, though, Nemeth embraced his role with the team and wanted the team to succeed.
“I learned that scoring the ball wasn’t everything and that blocking sometimes deemed more recognizable than scoring,” he said. “Blocking became second nature and I knew that I could move guys the way I needed to, in order to get our wide receivers a good pathway to a touchdown. I am beyond glad that I played this season because it was one crazy and eventful season to remember.”
On the sideline, and even during the action, Nemeth’s excitement could be seen. He admits letting emotions get the best of him, which has resulted in penalties in both football and basketball, but he wanted his teammates to “seize the moment.”
“I definitely play with my heart on my sleeve, despite what sport I am in,” Nemeth said. “I have so much passion and love for sports that it is certainly reflected in my game. I make sure no matter what team I am on, that I establish a sense of purpose and intensity going into a game. My energy is one of my notable qualities about my athletic career, but I have learned to control it. I have had instances where my energy has gotten me carried away, but growing and learning as a player has helped me to control this notable asset.”
In fact, being the only senior on the basketball team, Nemeth felt it was even more important to keep the team energized. While he didn’t lead Chelle Dalager’s team in the major stats categories, his passion helped the Greenwave to a second-place finish in the 3A North.
“Unfortunately, no one is going to play sports for their entire lives, which is why it is so crucial for my teammates to truly embrace everything that is ahead of them at the moment,” said Nemeth, who credits his mother, Ana Henry, for being his biggest influence. “I make sure to get my team ready for battle, whether it may be getting them pumped up or by going out there and fighting right alongside them. Playing with great amounts of energy in sports is something I will not ever give up.”
After helping Fallon‘s basketball team in the winter, Nemeth excelled in the pool as the Greenwave also placed second in the regional meet two weeks ago. Nemeth qualified for state in the 200-yard medley and free relays, and the 50 and 100 free events.
Obtaining varsity letters in three sports as a senior stood out to Hill, who’s seen a decrease in the number of student-athletes competing in all three seasons. Nemeth was the only senior male student-athlete to compete in three sports this year.
“He’s a good overall athlete,” Hill said. “You ask a lot of kids nowadays to be three-sport athletes. There are not a lot of kids who do it. What high school coaches ask of their players and offseason work, it can be tough. We need those guys in our school. We’re not that big. We need as many athletes as we can. To do that, it says a lot about a young man or woman.”
When he exited the pool at UNLV on Saturday, it was the final time Nemeth would compete as a Greenwave. It was also the end of his playing career as he will attend the University of Nevada, Reno, and pursue a degree in neuroscience and eventually become a neurosurgeon.
“Although I am graduating this year and leaving Greenwave athletics, I will not ever forget the memories it has brought me the past four years,” said Nemeth, who graduates on Friday with a perfect attendance record. “Being a Greenwave athlete is something I hold so true to and something I take great amounts of pride in. I will be taking valuable life lessons and unforgettable memories with me. Playing for the Greenwave was one of the best things I have ever experienced in my life. Showing out in front of people who not only believed in me, but had supported me through anything I set my mind to, cannot be explained through words. I have so much gratitude and respect for the people who have helped and watched me get to where I have become.”