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DOUGHERTY VALLEY ANNOUNCES ITS ARRIVAL Pg. 22

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Soccer team’s unbeaten streak reaches 23 months. Pg. 20


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bigger than ever before, the norcal hs cycling league gears up for 11th season. Page 16 First Pitch ................................................. 6 Game Day ................................................ 7 Locker Room ...................................... 8-9 SportStar of the Week ........................10 Wally’s World ........................................11 Behind the Clipboard ..........................12 Training Time .........................................13 Club Scene .............................................14 Health Watch ........................................19 Tee2Green .............................................25 Twenty-four7 .........................................27 Impulse .............................................28-29 Photo Finish...........................................30 4

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January 27, 2011

in the paint

ON THE COVER Contra Costa Composite’s Travis Lyons (Northgate). Photo by Bob Larson (LarsonPic@aol.com)

Jackie Taylor (right) and the dougherty valley wildcats prove they belong. Page 22 Upload photos and team stats! www.SportStarsMag.com

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com

Despite plenty of close calls, sabrina alvaro and castro valley have gone 23 months without a loss. Page 20

mike gragnani 1960-2011

longtime basketball coach’s passing is felt throughout the bay area. Page 15

spring sports buyer’s guide: it’s sunny again. enjoy it. Page 28 Support Your Local Business • Say You Found Them In SportStars™

January 27, 2011

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Bruce Dickinson called: He needs more ping pong

F

irst things first. I am not an avid cyclist. My intimate relationship with bikes ended in the Summer of ’95 when I reached the driving threshold. I flirted with a return to biking when a former colleague handed down a nice mountain bike to me, but it ended abruptly when that same bike was stolen from a storage closet. Boo crime! Anyway, while working on this week’s cover story involving the NorCal High School Cycling League, I couldn’t help growing a bit nostalgic for my time on two wheels. But as much as delving into the world of competitive high school mountain biking made me wish for a good bike ride, it also made me wonder if I might have become an avid cyclist if a competitive high school cycling league had been available when I was 15. I think there’s a good chance. There was a time when I really did enjoy riding my bike — and wasn’t just using it because it was my only means of independent transportation. And I’m sure my parents can remember the Christmas when I HAD to have that one specific Mongoose BMX bike and no substitute would suffice. (As it turned out, I did accept a very worthy Huffy Racing substitute after seemingly every bike retailer throughout Tehama County had been scoured and the right Mongoose remained elusive.) The bottom line was that at one point in my life, biking WAS a big deal. I think if I was afforded the opportunity to visit picturesque settings and race bikes with my friends, I probably would’ve done so. As a bonus, it would’ve provided some really good cross-training for my other passion — basketball. Another thing that occurred to me as I talked to folks and discovered the sheer size of the NCHSCL: Nine months ago, I didn’t even know this league existed — and I’d been covering high school sports in the East Bay for more than eight years! It should also be underscored that I was also unaware of the Tieni Duro junior cycling club that offers competitive road racing opportunities to teens. (Shameless plug alert: I learned about Tieni Duro last July when SportStars agreed to be one of the team’s supporting sponsors). In fact, Travis Lyons, our cover athlete this issue, is a road racer for Tieni Duro and races mountain bikes in the NCHSCL for Contra Costa Composite. So, in the nine months I’ve spent working for SportStars I’ve learned of the pres6

SportStars™

January 27, 2011

FIRST PITCH Chace Bryson Editor

Chace@ SportStarsMag.com (925) 566-8503

ence of competitive high school leagues in two different sports, cycling and bowling. I’d like to add that if my high school had a bowling team, I might’ve thought about getting in on that, as well. This got me thinking about what other lesser-profile sports would I have jumped at the chance to play in my high school days? Here are my top choices. Wiffle Ball — Tell me this wouldn’t be an absolute blast. Real leagues exist for this, though I’m not aware of any which are interscholastic in nature. I have heard rumors that De La Salle has it’s own intramural Wiffle Ball league, and I’m supremely jealous. Table Tennis — A high school pingpong league. Can we make this happen? Even if I couldn’t play in one, I’m pretty sure I would get a massive kick out of simply attending and reporting on the doubles final of the East Bay High School Ping Pong Championships. The North Coast Section already has badminton championships. It’s not a giant step from there. Also, I should note that this sport would be pretty cost effective for schools and its participants. Who’s with me on this? We’ll put it on the cover of the magazine. Bruce Dickinson wanted more cowbell. I want more ping pong. Flag football — With how footballcrazed the East Bay is, I’m actually a little surprised there isn’t a high school club league for the folks that enjoy football but would prefer it without double-day practices and the occasional concussion. Maybe there is one. As I’ve clearly been shown, my breadth of knowledge of the high school sporting scene still has room to grow. I’m sure that I could’ve put my slow first step to use on the flag football field. Sure of it. Kayaking — I’ve never kayaked. But it looks fun, and I like rivers and the great outdoors. So, I’m thinking that in the right hypothetical scenario, I might have taken the chance to climb into a Red Bluff High kayak and done my best to paddle past the competition. Or, maybe I just would’ve focused on basketball and writing. OOPS: A quick correction to note from our last issue, we mentioned that Sabine Silva of the girls U12 Heritage Pride soccer team scored the final goal in its 3-0 win over the Walnut Creek Fury in the Nor Cal State Cup on Dec. 18. We’ve been informed that Julie Rossi scored the final goal, which was assisted by Silva. Way to go, Julie! ✪

PHone 925.566.8500 faX 925.566.8507 eDitorial Editor@SportStarsMag.com editor Chace Bryson. Ext. 104 • Chace@SportStarsMag.com Contributors Bill Kolb, Erik Stordahl, Mike Wolcott, Jim Mannion, Mitch Stephens, Dave DeLong, Gary Xavier, Doug Gardner, Matt Smith, Clay Kallam Photography Butch Noble, Bob Larson, Jonathan Hawthorne CreatiVe DePartment Art@SportStarsMag.com Production manager Mike DeCicco. Ext. 103 • MikeD@SportStarsMag.com PUBlisHer/PresiDent Mike Calamusa. Ext. 106 • Mike@SportStarsMag.com aDVertisinG & CalenDar/ClassifieD sales Sales@SportStarsMag.com account executives Mike Wolcott Ext. 109 • MikeW@SportStarsMag.com; Patrick McCormick Ext. 102 • Patrick@SportStarsMag.com; Erik Stordahl • ErikS@Sport StarsMag.com (Special Sections, Calendar, Marketplace sales) reaDer resoUrCes/aDministration Ad Traffic, Subscription, Calendar & Classified Listings info@SportStarsMag.com • Deb Hollinger. Ext. 101 • DistriBUtion/DeliVery Mags@SportStarsMag.com Distribution manager Butch Noble. Ext. 107 • Butch@SportStarsMag.com information teCHnoloGy John Bonilla Cfo Sharon Calamusa • Sharon@SportStarsMag.com Office Manager/Credit Services Deb Hollinger. Ext. 101 • Deb@SportStarsMag.com BoarD of DireCtors Dennis Erokan, CEO, Placemaking Group Roland Roos, CPA, Roland Roos & Co Susan Bonilla, State Assembly Drew Lawler, Managing Director, AJ Lawler Partners CommUnity sPortstars™ maGaZine A division of Caliente! Communications, LLC 5356 Clayton Rd., Ste. 222 • Concord, CA • 94521 info@SportStarsMag.com www.SportStarsMag.com

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YOUR TICKET TO BAY AREA SPORTS ADMIT ONE; RAIN OR SHINE This Vol. #2, January 2011 Whole No. 16 is published by Caliente! Communications, LLC, 5356 Clayton Rd, Ste. 222, Concord, CA 94521. SportStars™© 2010 by Caliente! Communications, LLC. All rights reserved. Subscription rates: 24 issues, U.S. 3rd class $42 (allow 3 weeks for delivery). 1st class $55. To receive sample issues, please send $3 to cover postage. Back issues are $4 each. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission of Publisher is strictly prohibited. The staff and management, including Board of Directors, of SportStars™© does not advocate or encourage the use of any product or service advertised herein for illegal purposes. Editorial contributions, photos and letters to the editor are welcome and should be addressed to the Editor. All material should be typed, double-spaced on disk or email and will be handled with reasonable care. For materials return, please enclose a stamped, self-addressed envelope. SportStars™© and STARS!™© Clinics are registered trademarks of Caliente! Communications, LLC.

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game day

GIRLS BASKETBALL

BOYS BASKETBALL

feb. 1 San Ramon Valley at De La Salle, 7 p.m. Matchups between the Wolves and Spartans never seem to disappoint these days. In the team’s first meeting on Jan. 7, Julian Giusti (pictured) and San Ramon Valley led De La Salle by four at halftime, and by one after three quarters. But the Spartans rallied to outscore the Wolves 28-16 in the final period and hand them their first loss of the season. Bob Larson San Ramon Valley will need to pull off an upset on De La Salle’s home floor if it hopes to stay in the East Bay Athletic League title hunt.

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Jonathan Hawthorne

Jan. 28 Campolindo at Dougherty Valley, 7 p.m. The top two teams in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League square off once again in a battle that is likely to go along way in determining the league champ. As of Jan. 24, the Wildcats and Cougars had a combined record of 31-6 on the season. Dougherty Valley got the best of Campolindo 71-52 in the teams’ first meeting on Jan. 4. However, Annie Ward (pictured, with ball) and her Cougars teammates are undoubtedly confident they can turn the tables and stay right with the Wildcats in the DFAL title race.

January 27, 2011

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Toughest place to play

Who do you listen to before tip-off?

Piedmont

Craziest stat achieved

Favorite beverage

None

Powerade

Eight 3’s in a game

Gatorade

Lil’ Wayne

Funniest thought at the foul line

‘What’s for dinner?’

Super Bowl champion

(All picks made before championship games)

Shannon Mauldin St. Mary’s-Berkeley

Misson San Jose J Cole

Yusuf Farouqi Newark Memorial

25 rebounds in a game

RodriguezFairfield

Eight 3’s in a game

McClatchySacramento

SportStars™

January 27, 2011

Gatorade

‘Doesn’t matter if you miss, as long as it looks good

‘No airballs’

T.I.

Aaron Cameron Sacramento

8

Vitamin Water

DB Da General

Freddie Tagaloa Salesian

Travis Pacos De La Salle

None

San Ramon Valley

35 points in a game

Water

I’ve thought about my girlfriend

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HE SAID WHAT?!? Top 5 reasons (completely unrelated to football) why the Super Bowl doesn’t disappoint 1. It’s February. There aren’t really any ‘major’ holidays (take that, Valentine’s Day!). It’s been over a month since we gorged

ourselves on the Christmas Roast Beast. Super Bowl Sunday is carte blanche to grossly over-graze on randomly assorted

snack foods. It’s an American tradition. Side note: Did you know that it is possible to eat six gallons of 7-layer dip and an entire bag of tortilla chips at one sitting? It’s true. That happens. Only on Super Bowl Sunday.

2.Yes, yes. We know that, after much over-hyping, the commercials have jumped the shark in recent years. Still, you can’t

see Betty White getting sacked in a pick-up football game any other day. Oh wait, that commercial still runs occasionally. You know what we mean, though.

3. There’s always the halftime extravaganza, which features the Black Eyed Peas this year — the first time since 2003 that

the performer wasn’t recording music before every athlete in this magazine was born.

4. Head for the hills. If you really don’t care about the two teams in the game, and you really aren’t much of a football fan,

the lift-lines in Tahoe are delightfully short.

5. Prop bets. Not that we’re endorsing gambling or anything remotely of the sort (this is a family publication, people), but

even if you don’t give a snort about the game, it’s fun to get together with friends, root for the completely improbable and inane to occur, and place friendly wagers. F’rinstance: I will bet you 14 Pringles and a Mountain Dew right now that, at some point

during the game, the umpire will get slobberknocked by a receiver running a crossing route and his hat will go farther than the ball, and the referee (in an unrelated event) will utter the words “illegal touching.”

— Bill Kolb

“There’s nobody on our team that plays harder than (Kyle Grant, below) does. That doesn’t mean the other guys don’t play hard, but he gives us so much more than he should be capable of giving us. And he knows that. And he plays his butt off.”

Heritage High boys basketball coach Pat Cruickshank describing Patriots’ forward Grant after the senior’s 11-point, 4-rebound fourth quarter helped lift his team to a 74-61 Bay Valley Athletic League win over visiting Freedom on Jan. 14. Grant finished the game with 17 points and 10 boards.

Chatter is a feature in which we respond to the emails or Facebook comments of our readers. Join the conversation whenever you feel like it by emailing us at editor@sportstarsmag.com or posting to our Facebook page — after you officially “Like us,” of course. ■ “(We at Saint Mary’s High) recently noticed your note about Saint Mary’s High’s address in the Jan. 13 issue. While the Berkeley/Albany issue can be confusing given the geography of the campus, you can be assured we are in Berkeley and our address is in Berkeley rather than Albany. It has been such since the school’s move here from Oakland in 1927. The Christian Brothers (Saint Mary’s High, SM College, De La Salle High, Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep S.F.) have taught here since 1903. Anyway, yes, we are in Berkeley. Thanks and thanks for the SportStars Panther press! Much appreciated!” — E-mail, Jan. 20. SportStars: In truth, we were being a bit tongue-and-cheek with it all. We realize that it’s been referred to as St. Mary’sBerkeley for quite some time. Still, the unique campus setting can make for good conversation at parties. Thanks for giving us the final word, though. And the bonus facts!

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of the week

t

ashley allen

powered by:

clayton valley . basketball . sophomore

10

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January 27, 2011

The crowd at the Clayton Valley girls basketball game on Jan. 18 witnessed a passing of the torch for supremacy in the Diablo Valley Athletic League when the Eagles topped Northgate 75-60 to snap its 28-game league winning streak. After playing second fiddle to the Broncos all last season, Clayton Valley usurped the league throne and it looks like they’re not giving it up for a while. Ashley Allen leads an Eagles squad that’s currently 18-2 (5-0 DVAL). She paced her team past Northgate by pouring in 28 points along with seven rebounds, four assists and three blocks. She followed that effort with a 10-point showing in a 55-37 win over Berean Christian on Jan. 21. Not too far ahead is a Feb. 11 rematch against the Broncos at Northgate. sportstars: What does this win against Northgate signify? Ashley Allen: People don’t give us enough credit. We deserve to be a top seed. We’re proving them wrong one game at a time. We all really want to have this league title. Last year, we felt like we gave it away and we’re not going to do that this year. sportstars: Why is your team off to a hot start? aa: We’ve bonded as a team. We work hard in practice and it’s paying off. We’re all best friends; we love being with each other. sportstars: What needs to happen to make a big run in NCS? aa: We need to keep up the defensive intensity that we’ve been having in our games. Our offense will come, but stopping teams (defensively) is No. 1. sportstars: How do you handle leadership since you’re just a sophomore? aa: Me and Gina Del Bene — we’re the go-to people. There is pressure, but I deal with it pretty good and show it on the court. asHley’s QUiCk Hits Super Bowl champ: Steelers. on your iPod right now: ‘No Hands’ by Lil Wayne Best postgame meal: Ed’s Mudville Grill favorite subject: English

honorable mention

Jackie Taylor The junior guard had ice in her veins during crunch time as her clutch free throws propelled Dougherty Valley past Archbishop Mitty 61-60 at the Campolindo Shootout on Jan. 22. Taylor finished the game with 23 points, 3 assists, and 3 steals.

zack wiley The Freedom senior wrestler pinned all of his opponents in the 130-pound class at the Clayton Valley Invitational on Jan. 15, include a 5-0 win in the final against Woodland’s Jeremy Newman. Wiley took home a Most Valuable Wrestler award.

zach williams A game-high 23 points, including three 3’s, from the senior helped Richmond top International Studies Academy-S.F. 80-61 on Jan. 22. One night earlier, Williams drained three more 3-pointers en route to posting 16 points in the Oilers’ ACCAL loss to Pinole Valley.

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Two days of hoops and heart inside Haas Pavilion

S

me play in anything (with the exception of ometimes, the best things in life really are worth waiting for. my above-mentioned nationally televised I’ve lived in the Bay Area for 21 celebration of Dwight Clark’s 500th catch, years. During this time, most of which has but let’s not go there). been spent as a sports journalist, I’ve been If the kids were nervous, they didn’t show fortunate to witness more than my share of it. The 12 Warriors lined up in the runway sports history. as the final seconds of the first half clicked Joe Montana’s final game as a 49er? I was away, listening intently to instructions from there. Rickey Henderson’s record-breaking coaches and Cal officials. stolen base? Check. The Brian Johnson “Remember, lots of passes,” said coach home run-win over the Dodgers? AbsoluteJohn Campagna. “Lots of passes.” ly. Kenny Lofton’s single that scored David No one listened more closely than Logan Bell for the 2002 pennant? Oh yeah. Dahora, the tallest of the Warriors. Dwight Clark’s 500th catch? Yes, and “I’m nervous, but excited,” he said, I was standing right next to the endzone seconds before running onto the court. He when he caught it (and my nationally added: “I’m the tallest one here but when televised celebration, in the words of my they (the Washington players) ran in, I felt boss, “Set sports journalism back 50 years,” short.” but that’s another story. I was young and He looked tall on the court, however. exuberant, OK?) It started with lots of passes. Then the But for all the things I’ve seen, there ball ended up in Dahora’s hands, about 12 was something missing — a Cal basketball feet from the basket on the right side. game. For whatever reason, I’d never even The crowd, restless from a disappointing made it into the arena. first half of Cal basketball, was silent. The That changed in a big way Jan. 16-17, players watched with great anticipation as when I made my first trip to Haas PavilDahora paused, took aim and fired up the ion — and liked it so much I went back the game’s first shot — a perfect swish. next day to watch three games in the Martin Suddenly, the fans roared. A loud, happy, Luther King Classic. “Welcome to Cal!” roar. It was just about The prep games lived up to their billing. the first thing they had to cheer about since On one memorable afternoon, I saw: the opening minute of the Cal game. ■ Castro Valley’s Juan Anderson — a Now, thanks to Dahora’s shot, they were 6-foot-7, Marquette-bound senior — dunk into this game. Every shot, every rebound, three times in a half (including twice in every big-as-life, contagious smile on the a 10-second span) and drain a 3-pointer faces of the players was greeted with anen route to a 20-point performance in the other ovation. Trojans’ narrow loss to Freddie Tagaloa and For anyone there, this wasn’t just an then-unbeaten Salesian. exhibition. It was a celebration of life. The ■ Yusuf Farouqi hit five 3-pointers in players ran, hustled, exchanged high-fives Newark Memorial’s 46-39 victory over St. and never stopped smiling. They heard the Mary’s, in a game that saw 27 (!) fourthcrowd and, rather than feeling nervous, MikeW@ quarter free throws. they were feeding off of it. SportStarsMag.com ■ Bishop O’Dowd’s Anders Haas (yes … Ask the parent of any special-needs child Haas) open his team’s game with Sacramenand you’ll get the same answer: All the kids (925) 566-8500 to by draining a 17-footer — and how he want is to be involved and to be accepted. Ext. 109 managed not to stop and yell, “This is MY On this night, they were treated like chamhouse!,” is beyond me. pions. Then, there was Sunday — the real high“This was the best they’ve played this light of my weekend, all because of a game year,” Campagna said after the game. at Haas that wasn’t even on most people’s When a ball bounced Alex’s way and she schedules. got the rebound, I immediately got a text At halftime of the Cal-Washington from a friend in the stands: “She’s in the game, the Mount Diablo Warriors, a boxscore!” I smiled a big, happy parent’s Special Olympics basketball team, put on a smile. 5-minute exhibition in front of 9,000 fans, Seemingly as soon as it had started, the and to say they stole the show would be an halftime exhibition was over. The Warriors understatement. left the court to a rousing ovation and in A disclaimer: My stepdaughter, Alex, no time, we were back on the streets of participates in Special Olympics basketBerkeley. ball and other such activities year-round. “Have a nice night,” a security guard said Watching these games is a blessing that I honestly wish as we left. everyone could experience, and this night was a perfect “I played basketball!” Alex replied, beaming a smile that example why. wouldn’t disappear for a week. First . 9,000 people? I did the math in my head and figured She sure did. At Haas Pavilion. In front of 9,000 people. that was right around 8,850 more people than had ever seen And for me, it was definitely worth the wait.

WALLY’S WORLD

Mike Wolcott

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January 27, 2011

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T

Asking about playing time can be tricky; key is to listen

his week’s question: Clay, I don’t understand why I’m not playing and I want to talk to the coach about it — but I’m afraid he’ll just get mad and I’ll play less. I’m better than a couple guys but he just doesn’t give me the same chance he gives them. My dad says I should talk to him, but I don’t know what to say. Any advice? D.O., El Cerrito D.O.: Here’s the most important thing to remember: The coach wants to win, and if he thinks you give him a better chance to win than someone else, he’ll play you. But at this point, he clearly thinks other players give the

team a better chance than you, so what you really want to find out is why he thinks that way. In other words, what you really want to do is listen. You definitely don’t want to say anything negative about other players, and in fact, if you never mention another player’s name, the conversation will go a lot better. So here’s how I’d start the conversation: “Coach, what do I need to improve on? What can I do to make myself better and help the team win?” Most coaches will respond very well to those two questions, and the answers will tell you exactly what areas the coach thinks you need to work on. He might say “You need

to handle the ball better — you’ve had too many turnovers lately,” or he might say “You need to be more aggressive when you get the ball.” What’s important at this point is to just nod your head. Don’t say, “That big dummy we have at center dropped three of my perfect passes and that’s why I have so many turnovers,” or “How can I be aggressive when the other guards never pass the ball?” Don’t be defensive and don’t make excuses — just listen. Remember, it’s not important what you think, and you’re not having this conversation to convince anyone of anything. You want to find out what the coach thinks, and whatever he tells you is what you need to work on. You may not agree with what he says, but that’s not the point. You’re not coaching the team, he is, and if he thinks you need to dribble up the court while singing “California Gurls”, go home and learn the lyrics. And if you go out the next day in practice and try to improve in the areas he told you to improve in, I guarantee he’ll notice. I know that I notice. If I tell one of my players that she needs to get more rebounds, and the next practice she’s crashing the boards, I know she’s listening to me, and that she’s trying. That alone might earn her a couple more minutes, even if she doesn’t actually get more rebounds. Coaches want their players to get better, because that wins them games, and people usually become coaches because they want to teach the game. If you give the coach a chance to point the way to getting better, and help him win more games, he will — and if you do as he asks, sooner or later, you’ll get more playing time.

Behind the Clipboard Clay Kallam

To submit a question for Behind the Clipboard, email Coach Kallam at clayk@fullcourt.com.

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It’s just a hop, skip and a jump to a good plyometric workout

T

he major mistake that many trainers and coaches make when implementing plyometrics is that they focus almost exclusively on jumps with no emphasis on bounds or hops. The reality is that the mechanism of an ACL tear and most sporting movement occurs in a single-leg hop or bound action, not a double-leg jump. Young athletes must perform a balance of jumps, hops and bounds. In addition, hops must be done both forward and side-to-side. Also, it must be understood that hopping medially (toward midline of body) and laterally (toward outside of body) are entirely different in both the muscles stressed and the injury prevention potential. Medial hops are more difficult and provide much needed stress to the hip stabilizers for injury reduction. One other major issue is that plyometric drills that shorten the transition phase from lengthening to shortening (picture an athlete that transitions out of a cut quickly) of the stretch shortening cycle are prescribed too soon and often in the initial phase of the training program. The goal of a progressive plyometric program is to safely and effectively prepare your young athletes various tissues and nervous system to eventually handle the force absorption and production required for power development (the speed in which strength is produced). This way they can effectively reduce injury potential and translate the strength and speed

developed in the weight room on to the field or court of play. It must be understood that it takes time to prepare the body to handle the loads of acceleration. Your young athletes must first train force reduction rather than force production. The ability to absorb force (eccentric strength) is the limiting factor in force production — the more force that can be absorbed, the better able your young athletes will be able to produce force (power). Below is what a progressive plyometric program should look like, but first let me quickly go over some terminology for better understanding of these strategies: Jumps are done on two legs. Hops are done on one leg (forward, medial and lateral). Bounds are hopping from one leg to the other laterally at first, then at 45 degree angles in phase 3 and 4. Phase 1: Jump, bound or hop up to a box. The goal is to reduce gravity so the quality of the landing can be focused on without too much accelerative forces. Phase 2: Jump, bound or hop over something. Now we increase gravity and absorption forces, still focusing on landing mechanics. Phase 3: Jump, bound or hop over something and land with a bounce. Here we introduce power development by adding a double foot contact between hurdles. Phase 4: Jump, bound or hop over something continu-

Training Time Tim Rudd for IYCA

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ously spending as little time on the ground between hurdles as possible. This is when plyometrics (power development) is appropriately applied. If the quality of the landing decreases when the young athlete progresses to the next stage then eccentric strength is an issue. They must return back to the previous phase until they develop the appropriate eccentric strength to move forward. A progressive developmental model for plyometrics that focuses on quality is vital for injury reduction and improving sport performance in your young athletes. Tim Rudd is an International Youth Conditioning Association specialist in youth conditioning (level 3), speed and agility (level 2), and nutrition specialist (level 1). You can contact him with questions or feedback at tim@fit2thecore.com. Go to www.fasteryoungathletes.com for the video that accompanies this article.

January 27, 2011

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club scene

Livermore cheer gym notches the trifecta Number one with a bullet! Or, in this case, it’s “Bullets,” plural. The Bullets cheer squad, which competes out of the California All-Stars gym in Livermore, wrapped up a “three-peat.” In just the past two months, the Level 4 Bullets have: ■ Placed first in the Jamz Slam City championships at the Cow Palace in San Francisco on Dec. 4-5, finishing with the highest score for any team in the event. ■ Finished first at the American Championships in Las Vegas on Dec. 19. ■ Most recently, won the American National Championships in San Jose on Jan. 15-16. The Bullets will try to make it four in a row when they travel to Palm Springs for the ‘Duel in the Desert’ on Feb. 4-5. For more information on the cheer squad, you can call (925) 455-1475, or visit http://livermore.californiaallstars.com.

Youth programs get a boost with Super Bowl benefit The Big C Athletic Club is hosting the 13th annual “Beer and Brats” Super Bowl party on Feb. 6 at their facility on Galaxy Way in Concord. “This will benefit three separate

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January 27, 2011

charities,” explains shannon Grosenheider, Administrative Director of the Juvenile Youth Auxiliary. “The Juvenile Hall Auxiliary, Community Youth Center and the Sheriff Law Enforcement Explorers program.” All three programs have helped give troubled and at-risk youths a second chance. The proceeds will directly benefit the Juvenile Hall Auxiliary through creating scholarships for college and vocational schooling. CYC’s Academic Excellence program will be benefited as well as the Sheriff’s Law Enforcement Explorers program which gives young men and women first-hand experience and training of becoming a sheriff. Entrants receive the royal treatment as they can view the game on multiple big screens, including one that spans an entire wall. The food is all-you-can-eat and includes seafood and bratwurst from Milwaukee. The event begins at 2 p.m. Admission is $75 for adults and $25 for children under the age of 16. There will also be a raffle and silent auction. To acquire tickets please call Grosenheider at (925) 957-2718 or go to www.reachingouryouth.org. Tickets can also be purchased at the door on the day of the Super Bowl. ✪ — SportStars

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Bay Area basketball mourns the loss of coach, mentor By mitCH stePHens | Contributor

When San Francisco Section commissioner Don Collins is after something, he gets it. But after searching his office high and low for a photo of late Lincoln High School boys basketball coach Mike Gragnani, he finally relented. There were several celebratory shots of Lincoln over the past five seasons when Gragnani led the Mustangs to an 89-61 record, including back-to-back 25-win seasons starting in 2007. But not a one of them featured Gragnani, who died at his home on Jan. 4 of a heart attack. He was 50. “That definitely speaks of the man,” Collins said. “He gave so incredibly much, but it was always about the kids. Especially in their moment of glory. It was never about him.” Make no mistake, Gragnani was not quiet or meek or behind-the-scenes in his quest to push players to the limit. His foot stomping on the court and impassioned Knute Rocknetype speeches in the locker room were legendary. But never did he boast about his immeasurable contributions to teenage kids or the game he loved so dearly, which far exceeded his 287 wins as head coach in 15 seasons.   Considered an ambassador of the game and a confidant for coaches throughout the Bay Area, Gragnani made his mark not only at his four coaching stops — St. Ignatius-San Francisco, Redwood-Larkspur, Berkeley and Lincoln — but all points in between. Since his passing, there has been an outpouring of love and stories for this stockbroker by early morning and husband, father and basketball junkie 24 hours a day. He is survived by wife Vera, son Aron, 22; daughter Jeana, 20; and parents, Al and Diane. “Mike always had a tremendous competitive zeal,” Wallenberg coach Pat Mulligan said. “His teams were always well prepared and classy. His competitive fire transcended to his teams.”

“Like a dad to me” His current squad anguished openly the afternoon Gragnani’s body was discovered. “They obviously took it very, very hard,” assistant and now interim Lincoln coach Matt Jackson said. “There were lots of emotions but by the end we talked about moving forward and carrying on Mike’s legacy. “He stressed the maximum effort on and off the court. As long as we did that, he was proud of them, no matter the result. That’s how he approached his life. He gave it his all.” Lincoln played just three days following Gragnani’s death and after an understandable slow start, the Mustangs defeated June Jordan-San Francisco 64-30. The players, who wore black socks and

Mike Gragnani | (August 26, 1960-Jan. 4, 2011)

“Coach Mike was like a dad to me. I don’t really have a dad and coach meant so much to me. He cared about me and talked to me about things besides basketball. He made me a leader and now that he’s gone I have to lead.”

Gragnani

Lincoln senior Anthony Henderson black ribbons attached to their jerseys, trailed 9-8 after the first quarter before finding their emotional bearings. A moment of silence before the game was tough to overcome. They scored 20 straight points in the second quarter before rolling to the emotional victory. “We weren’t ready to play and I wasn’t ready to coach,” Jackson told San Francisco Chronicle correspondent Harold Abend. “The moment of silence turned into a quarter of silence.” Afterward, the Mustangs echoed what previous players from Gragnani’s teams have said. “Coach Mike was like a dad to me,” Lincoln senior Anthony Henderson said. “I don’t really have a dad and coach meant so much to me. He cared about me and talked to me about things besides basketball. He made me a leader, and now that he’s gone, I have to lead.” One of his closest coaching comrades, Drake-San Anselmo head coach Doug Donnellan, told the Marin Independent Journal that Gragnani wasn’t nearly the gruff, intense competitor everyone saw on the sideline. “He was just the most caring person,” Donnellan said. “Anyone can look at his career and say, ‘Wow, he made a difference on the court.’ But I don’t know if I knew a coach who cared more about his kids and did more for them.” His own son Aron, a recent graduate from Santa Clara University, could certainly attest to that.

around really quick,” Aron said. “He did so much more than the coaching part. He organized a tutoring program. Drove a lot of the kids home. He made sure the kids that needed it were cared for. “That was just kind of who my dad was. He didn’t do it to bring on attention. He did it because he just cared for people.” All that knew Gragnani noted he was much more about substance than style. And that made him quite hip. Lowell-San Francisco coach Robert Ray called him a mentor, an inspiration and a friend. “Every time we take the court, it will

never be the same,” he said. Said former Riordan-San Francisco coach Rich Forslund: “He was a great coaching colleague, who was generous with his insights, knowledge, humor and passion.” Aron said one of the most touching correspondence he’s received since his father’s death came from an anonymous player from Gragnani’s first team at Redwood many years ago, who blogged the following on the Internet. “Mike Gragnani made me believe I could run through walls if I wanted to. There are few people in the world who choose to help others for truly selfless reasons like coach did. … His passion, compassion and tireless drive for growth and learning, not to mention his love of competition are all traits I draw inspiration from on a daily basis. “I’d always planned on swinging by the gym and catching up with coach Gragnani but as things came up, as they often do, I figured I’d catch him next time. I’m heartbroken that I won’t get the chance to express my gratitude for everything he gave me.” Said Aron: “I think my dad can feel all the love and gratitude people are feeling and expressing. I know my family and I can feel it all. And we can’t express all our gratitude for it.” ✪

Running through walls He watched his father turn around an under-achieving Berkeley program to go 13634 and lead the Yellowjackets to four league crowns and its first North Coast Section Division I title in 2005. Gragnani left Berkeley a season later in order to be closer to his home in San Francisco. He was a 1978 graduate of St. Ignatius. “When my dad took over (at Berkeley) it was really disorganized and he turned it

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January 27, 2011

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Singletrack state of mind Growing at a downhill pace, the NorCal High School Cycling League is a lot bigger than you probably think By CHaCe Bryson | Editor

Travis Lyons hadn’t had a bike-riding experience like this before. It was a cold and cloudy February day near Fort Ord and Monterey Bay. He’d only been on his bike for approximately 20 minutes, but he was convinced that every single muscle he had was cramping. And he was staring at his first big hill. “Most of the time when you start cramping up, you’re already on the hill,” Lyons said. “So you get off the bike and start walking it up.” On this occasion, Lyons didn’t view that as an option for two reasons. The first being that the cramps made it just as painful to walk as it would to ride. And the second being that the Northgate High sophomore was in a race. This was Lyons’ introduction to the NorCal High School Cycling League, a competitive mountain biking circuit — one that goes widely unnoticed among the general high school sports fan public, but is a really big deal to the people who like to spend their time on two wheels.

Taking off Since being conceived and developed by then-Berkeley High math teacher Matt Fritzinger in 2001, the NCHSCL has grown exponentially. The league consisted of just eight teams in that first year of existence. When it begins its 11th season on Feb. 27, as many as 40 teams are likely to be competing. “With over 600 riders, we’re actually facing the problem of being too big,” said league executive director, Vanessa Hauswald. “Our challenge this year will be to figure out how we can continue to grow, but do so in a sustainable fashion.” The league already competes on four levels across two divisions. Schools or teams with 12 riders or more compete in Bob Larson

Northgate High senior Stephanie Harrison is about to begin just her second year of mountain bike racing in the NorCal High School Cycling League. Racing for Contra Costa Composite, she earned a Top 15 finish in her very first JV race a year ago. 16

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On track ■ Feb. 27 North-NorCal Prologue, Granite Bay, CA; SouthNorCal Prologue, East Garrison (near Monterey) ■ march 13 Granite Bay Challenge, Granite Bay ■ March 27 TBD (near Monterey) ■ April 10 Central Coast Invitational, East Garrison (near Monterey) ■ may 1 Boggs Mountain Classic, near Cobb ■ may 15 State Championships, Los Olivos

Rear-view mirror A look back at the 2010 season with the Top 10 teams from Division I, plus notable East Bay teams in Division II. DiVision 1 team ............................. Points....top varsity rider ........Pts 1 Drake-San Anselmo .. 16,353 ...Sofia Hamilton......... 1,678 2 Salinas ....................... 15,802 ...Bryan Duke.............. 1,650 3 San Rafael ................. 15,206 ...Will Curtis ................ 1,725 4 Redwood-Larkspur.... 15,117 ....Davis Bentley .......... 1,504 5 Nev. Union-Grass Vlly .. 14,846 ...Christine Weir .......... 1,656 6 San Ramon Valley..... 14,696 ...Morganne Endicott.. 1,489 7 Folsom ....................... 14,660 ...Karli Haugen ........... 1,605 8 Berkeley ..................... 14,372 ...Alex Stevenson ....... 1,354 9 El Cerrito .................... 12,950 ...Chris Bennett .......... 1,653 10 Albany ...................... 12,832 ...C. Perry-Houts ........ 1,431 DiVision ii (east Bay notaBles) 11 C. C. Composite ...... 6,841......Travis Lyons (JV) .... 1,413 12 Miramonte................ 6,704......Ben Sukys ............... 1,140 13 Oakland Composite.. 6,648......Emily Breslin............ 1,426 18 Orinda Academy ..... 4,477......Alex Brown (JV) ...... 1,239 19 Monte Vista.............. 4,147......Shane Boyle (JV) .... 1,329

Division I while the rest compete at Division II. There are four racing levels, frosh, sophomore, JV and varsity. Hauswald is in her first year as the league’s executive director, taking over for Fritzinger who after building the SoCal counterpart to the league in 2008, founded the National Interscholastic Cycling Association in 2009. The goal of the NICA is to have leagues just like the NCHSCL in each state by 2020. The first league to grow outside of California began its first season of competition last year in Colorado. Three more are attempting to form in Texas, Washington and Minnesota. For Hauswald, the growth isn’t all that surprising. Her rise to the league’s big seat was almost like a calling. An avid cyclist in her home state of Colorado, she moved to California to take an English teaching position at Casa Grande High in Petaluma. Not long after, she had founded the school’s team within NCHSCL. “I really, really loved my teaching job,” Hauswald said. “But I found when I’d go out to coach and be out with the team, I loved that more than being in the classroom. I could really make a real connection, and there are so many things that can be taught through the bike that can be even more rewarding than what can be accomplished in the classroom.” And perhaps if there is any person with the ability to understand what’s driving more and more kids into the sport, it would be Paul Chourre. Chourre works in telecommunications and structured home wiring by day, but on evenings and weekends he coaches Sir Francis Drake-San Anselmo, the NCHSCL’s largest team with 54 riders on the roster for the upcoming season. “I think that in every other sport there’s a lot of drilling and repetitive stuff taking place,” Chourre said. “But with us, you just go out and ride your bike. It’s not like we don’t have a training structure, but my whole thing is that you get out of the program what you put into it. “Once they finally get a feel for what it’s like, the light goes

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on and they want to train.”

Catching the fever Chourre’s analysis fits the story of Stephanie Harrison to a T. Harrison had always been a recreational rider with her dad. When her dad began assisting with Contra Costa Composite — the team that Lyons also pedals for, along with nine other student-riders from Northgate, College Park, Ygnacio Valley, Las Lomas and Pleasant Hill Academy — he encouraged her to join up. Harrison was the first girl to join CC Composite, and came in with very clear goals. “I came in thinking that I’m going to hold my own,” she said. “Just (so the boys) couldn’t say, ‘Hey, girls can’t ride,’ anymore.” And if she didn’t truly believe that when she joined up, she did after her first race. Competing at the JV level, Harrison’s most vivid memory from her first race was passing a race chaperone toward the end of her first lap. “He yelled to me, ‘Hey, you’re in 15th!’ And I couldn’t imagine being that far ahead in my first race,” said Harrison, who actually held on to finish in 15th. “I also remember that first sprint to the finish, and finally being done and being amazed at what I’d just done.” Harrison was immediately hooked. But her transition from recreational rider to competitive cyclist didn’t come without its bumps and bruises — especially the bruises. Her biggest adjustment came in learning how to navigate with her feet clipped into the pedals. When to clip in and out was a bit of a struggle at first, but Harrison learned quickly. “I learned how to fall really well,” joked the Northgate senior.

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Her quick ascent didn’t really surprise many of her teammates. Lyons didn’t hesitate to point out that she was athlete long before she climbed on a bike. “I don’t think I’m all too surprised,” he said. “She was an athlete who had played water polo, so she had the fitness for it. She had her first crash and decided she didn’t like crashing anymore. She picked it up really fast.”

Ahead of the pack

Heading into ’11 With Lyons, now a senior, and Harrison prepared to break into the varsity level, Contra Costa Composite could be poised to have its best season to date. The third leading rider for the team is Andrew Taylor of Pleasant Hill Academy. Taylor was the Division II JV champion in 2009 and finished 16th in the final point standings in his first year of varsity competition a year ago. CC Composite’s head coach Joseph Lyons (Travis’ dad) is also excited about new sophomore rider Kyle Heuerman of College Park. “He’s a very athletic and talented kid,” the coach said. The team is aiming to crack the Top 10 in the Division II overall point standing this year, after missing it by one slot last year. The team finished 11th, just 120 points back of Terra Linda-San Rafael. The top spot in Division II could once again be ticketed for Marin Catholic-Kentfield. The Wildcats return a pair of Top 5 varsity riders from a year ago. Victoria Yoham took third in the overall varsity girls point standings, and was the highestplacing Division II rider. Tony Smith finished fourth among all varsity boys, missing the out on a Top 3 finish by a mere six points. Another team expected to do well in Division II is BransonRoss, which finished third overall last year and returns two

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Robert Lowe/ NorCal HS Cycling League

champion riders from a year ago in Kate Courtney (JV girls champ) and Eliel Anttila (Soph boys champ). In Division I, Chourre’s Drake Pirates will look for a threepeat behind female talent Sofia Hamilton. Hamilton finished second in the overall girls point standings a year ago, and earned an invite to compete for the U.S. junior cross country team at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships last September in Mont-Sainte-Anne, Canada. “She’s a natural athlete,” Chourre said Hamilton. “She’s a strong climber. She needs a little more work on her technical skills, but one thing she really has going for her is her attitude. There’s always a smile on her face.” San Ramon Valley, which took a sixth-place finish overall

Some of the top riders to watch for in 2011 Boys Sven Beer.......................................Branson-Ross Roman Brockley.............................Drake-San Anselmo Travis Lyons....................................Contra Costa Composite Roman Brockley.............................Drake-San Anselmo Tony Smith......................................Marin Catholic-Kentfield Ben Sukys.......................................Miramonte Luke Watry......................................Berkeley Girls Erica Bilodeau.................................San Ramon Valley Kate Courtney.................................Branson Morganne Endicott.........................San Ramon Valley Sofia Hamilton (left)t..........Drake-San Anselmo Stephanie Harrison.........................Contra Costa Composite Julia Martien....................................El Cerrito Victoria Yoham................................Marin Catholic

last year, should make a jump into the Top 5, and possibly even the Top 3 this season. The Wolves probably have a deeper collection of female talent than any other team. They return five Top 20 riders from 2010, including Morganne Endicott (10th), Erica Bilodeau (12th), Jacqueline Kabel (15th), Jessica Lawrence (17th) and Caity Dickson (19th). A sixth rider, Laura Leach, finished 22nd in the overall standings. All are seniors this year. “When I started riding mountain bikes they were called cruisers,” Joseph Lyons said. “They didn’t have gears and we just used to go down the trails in Redwood Regional Park. A lot of those trails have been closed down since then. “It’s certainly come a long way.” ✪

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Cheerleading: How to keep raising spirit while lowering injuries Get Mental D id you know that in our area we have some of the best cheerleaders in the country? No longer are halftimes just about pom-poms and miniskirts, but actually about athletes who are performing team stunts, gymnastics, and tricks that were once reserved for trapeze artists. Cheerleaders at Alhambra High, Northgate, Clayton Valley and College Park, as well as many other Bay Area schools are competing at national levels and practicing more than 20 hours a week. New acrobatic maneuvers have turned cheerleaders into daredevils. And while the sport has retained its sense of glamour, at dozens of competitions around the country, knee braces and ice bags affixed to ankles and wrists have become accessories as common as mascara. Most common injuries are to the legs, knees, and ankles (62%), the spine (28.5%), and lastly the upper arm, elbow, and wrist (9.5%). A study of 9,022 cheerleaders reported 83% of injuries occurred during practice

with 52% of injuries occurring while performing a stunt. A stunt is a common part of cheer where tricks are done atop pyramids or in mid-air, performing twists and flips 20 feet above ground. If all goes well, an airborne cheerleader — known as a flier — is caught by other cheerleaders, but this is not always the case. Of the injuries caused from stunting, 96% were from concussions and closed head injuries. So what can be done to prevent some of the injuries while continuing with highlevel performances? First and foremost, have a plan in case of emergencies. At The National Cheer Safety Federation, www. nationalcheersafety.com, you can find sample emergency plans. Fatigue was noted as one of the predictors for increased injury rate. Make sure to alert your coaches if you are sick or feeling tired. Finally, technique is paramount. Like any other sport, proper squatting, landing, and jumping techniques are imperative to safety. Below are some tips to

Health Watch Robin Bousquet

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Dr. Doug Gardner, SportStars’ official sports psychologist, has delivered another edition of his “Get Mental” column in which he tackles the challenges athletes face in finding motivation for self-improvement. You can read it online. Right now, even! (Assuming your computer is with you). Go to www.SportStarsMag.com and click on ‘Highlights.’

improve your cheerleading safety and reduce injuries per the National Athletic Trainers Association. ■ Proper conditioning: Physically prepare and maintain your strength, flexibility, and stamina for stunting and tumbling. Strengthen your core muscles along with the upper and lower body and include aerobic (running, jogging, cycling, swimming) and anaerobic (wind sprints, circuit training) activities. ■ Proper equipment: Practice on mats until your routines are perfected. Make sure the mats are adequately sized and sufficient for the activities you’re performing. ■ Spotting: Have trained spotters present and engaged at all times. ■ Communication: Request that your coaches review safety precautions, rules and regulations with the squad on a regular basis, and that they establish and implement an

emergency action plan. ■ Know your limits: Be aware of your (cheerleaders) ability level and do not attempt advanced-level gymnastic or stunting skills before mastering less-advanced skills. Always have a supervisor present. ■ Treatment of injuries: Promptly attend to any injuries you sustain. Your school or organization’s athletic trainer can assist in the proper treatment and prevention of such injuries. ✪ Alhambra High cheer coach Carol Herndon contributed to this column. Robin Bousquet is a physical therapist for the staff of Sports Medicine For Young Athletes, a division of Children’s Hospital Oakland with a facility also located in Walnut Creek. If you have questions or comments regarding the “Health Watch” column, write the Sports Medicine For Young Athletes staff at Health@SportStarsMag.com.

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Castro Valley tries to take a 23-month unbeaten streak into February 20

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C

By erik storDaHl | SportStars

oach Paul McCallion wasn’t joking. Indeed, the coach of the Castro Valley girls soccer team was serious when asked how his team is currently battling the pressures of keeping a 43-game unbeaten streak intact. “If I’m being honest, 98 percent of (the girls) don’t even know we have a streak going,” explained McCallion after his team’s 11th victory of the season on Jan. 19. “It doesn’t come up. It’s the last thing on their minds.” When a team hasn’t lost a game since Feb. 25, 2009, such a streak grabs the attention of more than a few people. The expectations soon mount, the pressure builds into an avalanche and the team finally crumbles. But will the Trojans ever get cold feet? Will the enormity of this streak ever latch on to them and not let go like it would for any other team? Right now, there’s no reason to believe so. This team has been through more than its fair share of setbacks this season. It’s surprising the streak is still going. The life of the streak took on its first attack back in June when the program graduated five top players to the NCAA ranks, including three to Washington State. Among the three was All-American standout Micaela Castain, who with 52 goals and 16 assists, was the catalyst for a Dragons squad that took home the NCS Div. I championship last season. It was the program’s first section title. “It was a huge blow losing the quality that we had from last year with five players moving on to play in the NCAAs,” McCallion confesses. “But the rest of the kids have stepped up.” Needless to say, the Trojans have a giant bullseye on their backs this season. Teams are gunning for the prestige of snapping one of the longest unbeaten streaks in recent memory. “Last year we won NCS, finished first in the state and third in the nation,” explains junior fullback Sophia Barnhart. “This year we had to come out against all the odds and try to duplicate that.” Senior fullback Kaelyn Stiving thinks her team has quieted doubters. “(Teams) all want to take us down and I think a lot of people doubted us … but we’re coming through … and we still have a chance for first seed in NCS.” Extending the unbeaten streak despite losing five players from last season was one thing. Then came the second blow. The one many figured would claim the life of the streak. By the second game of the season, McCallion’s club had lost its three best players to season-ending injuries. “We lost Danielle (Torres) during club season,” says Barnhart. “Then we lost Joanna (Lopez) and Celeste (Martore) during the (Dec. 10) Bishop O’Dowd game — both with (them having torn) their ACLs.” Having their winning streak snapped with those circumstances would surely garner sympathy. Yet, there was none to be handed out as the Trojans refuse to throw in the towel. “It’s been a tough loss,” says Barnhart. “But other players have stepped up a lot and I think our team has become closer because of it. We all pick each other up and work through it.” When teams are faced with many injuries, the coach will often single out one or two players to elevate their game and carry the workload for the rest. That’s not the case here. “We tell them everybody is important on the team, whether they play zero minutes or 80 minutes,” says McCallion. “There are no superstars out here.” That this is truly a team effort was evidenced in the Trojans’ nonleague game against Redwood Christian on Jan. 19. They extended the streak by routing the Eagles 7-0 with goals scored by seven different players. Senior starters Sabrina Alvaro, Morgan Wildeman, Marisa Schneider and Stiving all scored in the first 20 minutes of the match. They gave way to reserves the rest of the game as senior forward Carolyn Gilcriese, sophomore midfielder Taylor Keenan

Butch Noble (left), WSU Sports Information

at left: Morgan Wildeman pushes the ball upfield during a 7-0 Trojans win Jan. 19. aBoVe: Castro Valley 2010 graduate, Micaela Castain, earned Washington State’s offensive MVP honors in her freshman season.

and senior midfielder Eli Dedari capped off the scoring frenzy. It’s games like this that cause teams to look ahead to stiffer competition down the road. That included a Jan. 26 rematch with Hayward Area Athletic League rival Bishop O’Dowd. “(That) week is going to be a huge test for us when we play

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O’Dowd,” says McCallion. Led by Ryan Walker-Hartshorn, the Dragons boast an unbeaten streak of their own. Ever since losing 1-0 to Castro Valley on Dec. 10, Bishop O’Dowd has gone 11-0-2. If there’s a team that can dethrone the Trojans, it might be O’Dowd. Though that’s not to say other teams haven’t come close. After all, Castro Valley does have four ties and four one-goal victories this season. The Trojans’ latest close call came against Mt. Eden on Jan. 21 when the Trojans escaped with a 1-0 win on the lone goal coming from Schneider in the first half. Yet, the simple-minded Trojans aren’t concerned with streaks and immortality; they just want the next win. “You focus on one game at a time,” says Barnhart. “We’ve got to focus on each and every game, but just the thought that you’re in preparation for NCS also adds to the tension and the anxiety.” She’s right. At this point in the season, it doesn’t matter if a team loses. What’s imperative is ironing out mistakes and differences in the regular season before the playoffs start in February. This is the time when teams can mess up and the only aspect that will be affected is its seeding in the playoffs. If the NCS playoffs were to begin today, Castro Valley would most likely enter as the No. 1 seed. But they’re certainly not taking things lightly. “Liberty, San Ramon (Valley) and Carondelet all lost (on Jan. 18),” explains McCallion. “The ball is round. On any given day, anything can happen. We don’t take anybody for granted. We don’t overlook anyone.” The last month of the season will be the most grueling no doubt. As the streak continues, all eyes will slowly shift to Castro Valley and their elephant in the room. Can they win NCS and extend this streak into next season despite the growing pressure and tension? “We’re going to have to work hard for it,” says Stiving. “But if we keep our minds to it like we think we can win it, we’re going to be able to. We just have to work and practice hard, and stay together as a team.” ✪

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in the paint

Wildcats prove they can run with the big girls By Clay kallam | Contributor Dougherty Valley is an unknown quantity no longer. The Wildcats have simmered beneath the surface in the crowded Bay Area basketball scene, primarily because the new school in San Ramon has had a varsity team for only three years. But Dougherty Valley did go 26-4 last season before getting knocked off in the NorCal playoffs by Del OroLoomis. That semi-upset led many to discount the Wildcats, who hadn’t played in a lot of high-profile events and simply hadn’t been seen by a lot of the girls’ basketball cognoscenti. What was needed was a signature win — and Dougherty Valley got just that in the Campolindo Shootout by knocking off four-time state champion Archbishop Mitty-San Jose 61-60 in the best game of the seven played on Jan. 22. “Now more people will understand the level we play at,” said coach Doug VanderHorst, who took over the program last year and after that win, had a 41-6 record in San Ramon. They also understand that Dougherty Valley is more than just senior star rayven Brooks, who transferred to San Ramon after spending her first two years at then-national power Sacred Heart Cathedral-San Francisco. Brooks, the 5-11 leading scorer, whose talent has major college programs eager to sign her, was a complete nonfactor in the Saturday event due to foul trouble. She played fewer than five minutes, took one shot, and scored no points before fouling out. Yet the Wildcats still managed to gut out a win. The key player, though, wasn’t even treyvonna Brooks (Rayven’s 6-1 junior sibling), Carolyn Hughes (a 6-2 junior wing), or Jasmine Jenkins (a 6-2 sophomore post) — all of whom are D1 prospects. Instead, the hero’s mantle fell on 5-6 junior point guard Jackie Taylor, who has started since her freshman season but has never been given the credit she showed she deserved. Taylor exploded for 23 points — “That’s at least 10 points more than my career high,” she said afterward — and buried a series of clutch shots after Rayven Brooks fouled out with 5:36 in the game. “It was in the back of mind that if I were to step up, this would be the game,” she said. “I was looking to be less passive.” So instead of utilizing her usual precise passing to get the ball to Treyvonna Brooks and Jenkins in the post, Thomas looked to score — while handling Mitty’s intense pressure with aplomb. “Jackie Taylor was just ridiculous,” said VanderHorst. But she was far from the only one on the floor making big

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NorCal Girls Top 15 Records are through Jan. 22. Teams from the Central Section are not considered. Rank, prev. School .................................record 1 (3) Berkeley ................................................ 16-1 2 (2) St. Mary’s-Stockton .............................. 10-2 3 (1) Carondelet............................................. 15-3 4 (4) St. Mary’s-Berkeley............................... 16-4 5 (5) Dougherty Valley................................... 16-2 6 (10) Presentation-San Jose ....................... 14-4 7 (9) Archbishop Mitty-San Jose......................11-6 8 (12) Pinewood-Los Altos Hills ..................... 13-4 9 (11) Deer Valley .............................................9-6 10 (13) Estsde Coll. Prp-Palo Alto..........................12-6 11 (7) St. Ignatius-S.F. ................................... 13-4 12 (15) Bishop O’Dowd..................................11-7 13 (nr) Del Oro-Loomis ................................. 15-3 14 (nr) St. Francis-Sacramento...................... 13-4 15 (8) Sacramento ........................................ 14-4 plays down the stretch. With Dougherty clinging to a 55-54 lead in the last minute, junior Krista Flores was fouled and sent to the line in as pressure-packed situation as a high school player is likely to face — and yet Flores hardly expected to even be on the court in that situation. Not only was Rayven Brooks fouled out and on the bench, junior guard (Brooks’ likely replacement) was in street clothes after hurting her knee against Las Lomas the night before.

Flores, however, drained both free throws to make it 57-54 with 51 seconds left. Mitty, though, sporting a roster filled with 3-point shooters, got several good looks. The Monarchs missed the first but after Hughes got the rebound, she turned it over – and what followed was a mad scramble. Dougherty Valley would get close to gaining possession, and a Mitty player would tip it away. Bodies would hit the floor and the ball would squirt from player to player with no one able to gain control until Desirae sanchez got the ball on the wing with 12 seconds left. As seniors do, she came through, burying the 3 to tie the game. The Wildcats pushed the ball down the floor, and yet another unsung hero made a play: Briana Gaines, who played soccer last winter instead of basketball, knifed through the lane and finished strong at the rim to break the tie with eight seconds to go, and after a Mitty turnover and foul with 1.03 seconds left, it looked to be all over. Taylor stepped to the line with a two-point lead with, as she said, “a ton of adrenaline. But I knew I needed to be composed.” Composed she was, and dropped through two free throws that just seemed like icing on the cake, as Dougherty now led 61-57. But when Ashley Watson tossed in a three-quarter court desperation heave at the buzzer, Taylor’s two free throws proved to be much more a main course than dessert as the Wildcats survived, 61-60. “This meant something to our school,” said Taylor after the win — and it had to mean more than a little to her as well.

Shootout snippets There were several other interesting results at the Shootout, now in its 13th year. St. Francis of Sacramento forced 36 Campolindo turnovers en route to erasing a 10-point secondhalf deficit and knocking off the hosts, 75-68. Annie Ward had 24 for the Cougars, hitting seven 3’s, but the Troubadours’ pressure and balanced scoring proved to be too much for

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in the paint

Sac High boys won’t let drama derail them By CHaCe Bryson | Editor

Butch Noble

Dougherty Valley junior forward Caroline Hughes drives past Vanessa Leo of Archbishop Mitty-San Jose during the Wildcats 61-60 at the Campolindo Shootout on Jan. 22. The win propelled Dougherty Valley to a 16-2 record on the season. Campolindo. Berkeley affirmed its No. 1 ranking by rolling over Bishop O’Dowd 65-44, and St. Mary’s of Berkeley held on to handle gritty Pinewood-Los Altos Hills 66-57. In the other games, Kayla Galanter’s seven 3-points led Northgate past Alameda,

75-49 – and gave her a total of 18 3’s in the last two Shootouts. McClatchy-Sacramento got two clutch hoops from Courtney Lee down the stretch to slip past Pittsburg 58-56, and El Camino-Sacramento rolled over injury-plagued Lincoln-San Francisco 90-31. ✪

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By the time the Sacramento High boys basketball team arrived at Berkeley’s Haas Pavilion on Martin Luther King Day, every member of the Dragons was tired of the questions. A two-week saga centered around star player, Arizona-bound Josiah turner, and whether he was going to remain with the team or even stay enrolled at the school, finally came to a head two days earlier after a Jan. 15 loss to Sheldon-Sacramento. Coach Derek swafford told various media after the game that Turner’s playing days with the Dragons was over. Turner would announce a few days later that he was leaving Sacramento to attend a prep school in North Carolina. So when the Dragons took the court against Bishop O’Dowd in the Martin Luther King Classic showcase — a rematch of the 2010 California Interscholastic Federation Division III Northern regional championship — they did so with a chip on their shoulder. Which is why a 19-point early-half deficit wasn’t enough to keep Sacramento from rallying for an 86-85 win in double overtime. “This is our No. 1 win this year,” said senior center robert Garrett, who sank the gamewinning basket with 6.5 seconds remaining in the second OT. “The fact that everything that went on throughout this whole week, for us to come together made this our best win of the season.” The win was particularly satisfying for Garrett — who finished the game with 16 points and 12 rebounds — because it justified what the senior leader had been saying throughout the Turner drama. “This is what I’ve been saying the whole time,” Garrett said. “We’re always going to be a team no matter what. So this means a lot.” Garrett’s double-double was complemented by the coming-out-party-effort of sopho-

NorCal Boys Top 15 Records are through Jan. 22. Teams from the Central Section are not considered.

Rank, prev. School ............. record

1 (1) Archbishop Mitty-San Jose...15-2 2 (2) Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland...15-3 3 (3) Castro Valley ......................17-1 4 (6) De La Salle-Concord .........15-2 5 (5) Sacramento........................15-4 6 (9) Oakland ..............................12-5 7 (11) Newark Mem.-Newark.....14-5 8 (4) Salesian-Richmond ......... 2-17* 9 (13) Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills ..19-0 10 (12) Berkeley .........................14-3 11 (nr) Woodcreek-Roseville .....17-3 12 (7) Granite Bay ......................17-3 13 (nr) El Cerrito .........................14-5 14 (15) Sheldon-Sacramento ....13-7 15 (nr) Chico ...............................17-1 *Forfeited 16 games (ineligible player), under appeal

more guard aaron Cameron. Cameron made a career-high eight 3-pointers en route to a 33-point day. Cameron came up with big shot after big shot as Sacramento slowly made its way back into a game that looked as though it was headed to being a lopsided affair. “Hitting eight 3’s was indescribable,”

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in the paint Cameron said. “I just thought, ‘You know this is a big stage, but I’m just going to think about it as a regular gym. And that hoop, it’s just a hoop in front of my house.” Both teams finished the week with 15-3 records and appear likely to be on another collision course for a postseason meeting on the road to the Division III NorCal final. Sacramento already knows it won’t need Turner to win that game.

Upset Friday Maybe something was in the water, but Jan. 22 turned out to be a night of upsets across the East Bay. In the Bay Valley Athletic League, Pittsburg picked up just its seventh win of the season by handing Deer Valley just its fifth loss of the season. The Pirates got 25 points from kris manning in a 74-71 victory. Further proving that the BVAL will be a jumbled mess until the end, Heritage — which looked awfully good in a league-opening win against Freedom — was knocked off at home by a feisty Antioch squad. Dougherty Valley proved it belongs in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League title race conversation by dealing Las Lomas just its third loss of the season 51-48. But maybe the biggest upset of the night came in Danville as the visiting California Grizzlies — which went into the night with a 10-7 record — shocked San Ramon Valley (who began the night 16-1 on the season) by one point, 57-56. They did so with balance, as three different players reached double figures in scoring. ✪

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Butch Noble

Robert Garrett, the senior center for Sacramento High, is mobbed by teammates after his basket with 6.5 seconds remaining won the team’s double-overtime thriller against Bishop O’Dowd on Jan. 17.

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tee2green

Golf can be a game of inches, or even millimeters I was recently watching a Tony Robbins video clip and he was discussing the increasing frustration he was experiencing with his golf game and his instructor. Robbins couldn’t seem to grasp why one day he could be so good and the next day he was so terrible. I know this situation is something all of us have experienced at least once. I also know that many of us become discouraged with golf because it seems as though you are making no progress at all even though you spend hours practicing. The solution to this frustration came from Robbin’s instructor, who told him that he was only a few “millimeters” off. Since Robbins was consistently hitting his ball in the water that day, this reasoning had no place in the results-driven mind of Robbins. However, Robbins began to see the instructor’s point: If you tilt the club face just a degree or two, that translates to yards off your objective. Just a few degrees or millimeters is all it takes to send your ball a whole new direction. I typically don’t talk about instruction in my column; how-

Gary Xavier

notes from the pros ever, I’d like to touch on the importance of understanding the point of impact in golf. This moment of dynamic motion creates everything that is to come from the shot intended. It won’t matter how the club was taken back, or how refined your follow through is, as long as your club face arrives at the ball the same way it started. The situation I mentioned above could easily be construed as another example of why golf is so difficult. However, I would ask you to think of it in this light, you are most likely only a few millimeters away from success. You’re just a little bit off. Whether you are a junior golfer or a parent of a junior golfer, try to instill a patience in yourself or your player because sometimes the difference between success and failure in a tournament is just a few millimeters. So many golfers get caught up in mechanics when they have all the tools to make the ball go where they want it to go. Now, fundamentals are important to maximizing your core strength and swing potential, but as long as you arrive at the ball the same way you started, Mr. Longball will most likely be congratulating you at the end of the round.

ncga junior rankings Following are the Top 10 boys and girls points leaders for the 2010-11 NCGA season, as of Jan. 21. For up-to-date rankings, visit www.ncga.org/juniors. Boys Rank Player (hometown).. Points 1 Scott Raber (El Macero) ....... 130 2 Tharusyan Pillay (San Jose)..110 T3 Eric Ash (Loomis) ................ 100 T3 Kraig McLeod (Pbble Bch)... 100

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5 Nicolas Noya (So. S.F.) ........... 85 6 Shotaro Ban (San Jose) ......... 82 T7 Eric Ash (Loomis) .................. 75 T7 Thomas Crowther (Sac.) ...... 75 9 Nicolo Galletti (Clayton) .......... 70 10 Patrick Grimes (Palo Alto)..... 53

Girls Rank Player (hometown).. Points 1 Grace Na (Alameda) ............. 900 2 Hannah Suh (San Jose) ....... 430 3 Briana Mao (Folsom) ............ 355 4 Paige Lee (Folsom)............... 245

5 Betty Chen (Castro Valley) ... 200 6 Casie Cathrea (Livermore) ... 190 7 Ashley Noda (Roseville)........ 125 8 Tiffany Lim (San Jose) .......... 100 T9 Annie Bowlsby (Monterey).... 85 T9 Marissa Hinchman (Lodi) ..... 85

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tee2green Don’t let the cold cool your game The season is closing in fast and you are making your way back out to practice areas in search for your swing and feel. You quickly realize that you’re rusty, but surprisingly you also hit some pretty good shots. I covered in the last article how to get your game back by working with your long and short game. Sooner or later you will need to get out on the course and see what’s going on. Players often make a mistake when they begin playing in January. Just a few months ago the course was drier, the air was warmer and you had been playing on more of a regular base. At that time, a shot from your 7-iron flew a certain distance. That’s where a mistake is made. Course stratagy, game management and your perspective needs an adjustment. Too often we try to use the same clubs for certain yardages we did before we had taken a few months off. Soon, you will be swinging too hard and too fast, and your timing and balance will be off. Why? Because you did not adjust to the climate change and how it affects how far the ball will travel. I figure we lose approximately 10 percent of our distance due to the cold. We are wearing more clothes and unable to swing the club as fast You have to add one to two clubs this time of the year. Once you understand that, you will find your swing and control your ball flight more quickly.

Dave De Long

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twenty-four7 BaseBall Jan. 29: Concord — Clayton Valley Little League 11- and 12-Year-Old Tryouts. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. @ Clayton Valley High School. Visit www.cvll.org. Feb. 5: Concord — Clayton Valley Little League Make-up tryouts. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. @ Clayton Valley High School. Visit www. cvll.org. Feb. 7: Concord — Clayton Valley Little League Draft. 5-9 p.m. @ TBD. Visit www.cvll.org. Feb. 22: Concord — Clayton Valley Little League Parent Night Majors Baseball & Peanuts. 6-7 p.m. @ TBD. Visit www.cvll.org. Feb. 23: Concord — Clayton Valley Little League Parent Night farm & minors. 6-7 p.m. @ TBD. Visit www.cvll.org. march 12: antioch — antioch Little League Spring 2011 season opening Day Ceremonies. 10-11:30 a.m. at Antioch High School. 925-431-8478, www. antiochlittleleague.com. BOWLING through march 29: Concord — Special Recreation Bowling. Ages 16+ at Clayton Valley Bowl. Info: 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. weekdays, 925-671-3404, www. cityofconcord.org. Registration: www.concordreg.org; by fax or at drop-off sites. through may 16: Brentwood — 2011 Winter Youth Leagues. Tues., Wed. and Fri.-Sun. @ Harvest Park Bowl. Natalie Paris, youth director. 925-516-1221, http://

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harvestparkbowl.com/contact.html; www.harvestparkbowl.com. ongoing: Concord — Parties for kids at Clayton Valley Bowl. 925689-4631, BowlClayton@Astound. net; www.claytonvalleybowl.com. footBall Ongoing: Walnut Creek — WCYF marauders. Open for registration in the Midget division. Art Thoms, thoms3@ifn.net, 925-786-0721; www.wcyfmarauders.com. Jan. 28-30: Oakley — Runnin’ Deep Flag Football. At Freedom Basin. Ages 6-16; 5 on 5, 7 on 7. Contact Mike Weisenberg, 925625-2222, DiabloFootball@hotmail. com; www.DiabloFootball.com. fUnDraisers March 12: Walnut Creek — Walnut Creek Pony League’s 7th Annual Crab Bash & Auction. 6-10 p.m. @ Shadelands Art Center. Contact Margarita Zeglin, mzeglin@berkeley.edu. April 29-May 1: Williams, AZ — Hike for Shelter, Inc.: Conquer the Canyon. 16-week training begins in January. Karen Leffler, 925-323-2996, hike@shelterincofccc.org; www.shelterincofccc.org/ hike.htm. Golf feb. 28: Concord — the first Tee of Contra Costa Golf/Life Skills Program begins. Boys & Girls 7-18. Continues for 12 weeks @ Diablo Creek Golf Course. Volunteers needed. 925-686-6262, Ext. 0, angela@thefirstteecontracosta.org; www.thefirstteecontracosta.org.

Ongoing: Berkeley — Junior academy. Ages 5U at Tilden Park Golf Course. 510-848-7373, doi@ tildenparkgc.com; www.thegolflearningcenters.com/tildenpark. rUGBy Through Jan. 31: Walnut Creek — Diablo Youth Rugby. Practice 6-8 p.m. Mon./Wed. at Heather Farm Park. Call hotline if raining, 925-256-3574. First game Feb. 19. http://diabloyouthrugby.clubspaces. com. soCCer Jan. 27, 30: Concord — Diablo FC’s 2011 Season Tryouts. U8U11 in Concord. 925-779-2101, www.diablofc.org. feb. 12-march 6: Brentwood — eDysl impact Competitive soccer tryouts. Free pre-tryout clinics. For U9-U14 session times & dates, www.edysl.net. Feb. 20, 24, 27: Concord — Diablo FC’s 2011 Season Tryouts. U12-U14 in Concord. 925-7792101, www.diablofc.org. March 26-27: Pleasant Hill — Girls SoccerFest. Pleasant Hill - Martinez Soccer Association, PHMSA, AYSO Region 281. 925686-2824, www.phmsa.org. April 2-3: Pleasant Hill — Boys soccerfest. Pleasant Hill - Martinez Soccer Association, PHMSA, AYSO Region 281. 925-686-2824, www.phmsa.org. softBall Jan. 29: Concord — Clayton Valley Little League 11- and 12-Year-Old Tryouts. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. @ Clayton Valley High School.

Visit www.cvll.org. Feb. 5: Concord — Clayton Valley Little League Make-up tryouts. 9 a.m.-3 p.m. @ Clayton Valley High School. www.cvll.org. Feb. 9: Concord — Clayton Valley Little League Draft. 5-9 p.m. @ TBD. Visit www.cvll.org. Feb. 23: Concord — Clayton Valley Little League Parent Night Softball. 6-7 p.m. @ TBD. www. cvll.org. SWIM Through Feb. 4: Pleasant Hill — High School Pre-Season i.Open to all high school swimmers. At PH Education Center pool. Registration: 925-682-0896, www. pleasanthillrec.com. Through Feb. 4: Pleasant Hill — High School Pre-Season II. Open to all high school swimmers. At PH Education Center pool. Registration: 925-682-0896, www. pleasanthillrec.com. May 7 or 28 or June 4: Concord — lifeguard review. 15+, at Concord Community Pool. Prerequisite applies. Info: 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. weekdays, 925-671-3404, www.cityofconcord.org. Registration: www.concordreg.org; by fax or at drop-off sites. may 25-28 or June 2-28: Concord — Lifeguard Clinic. 15+, at Concord Community Pool. Prerequisites apply. Info: 10 a.m.-noon and 1-3 p.m. weekdays, 925-671-3404, www.cityofconcord.org. Registration: www.concordreg.org; by fax or at drop-off sites. ongoing: Concord — swim

Classes in Heated Outdoor Pool for all ages at In-shape. Fees and registration: 925-602-5600, www. inshapeclubs.com. tennis Through March 26: Walnut Creek — Lifetime Tennis Winter Youth tennis lessons. Junior Development Teams, ages 8-17, at Walnut Creek Tennis Center. Sessions: Mon./Fri./Sat. 925-945-0105. ongoing: Pleasanton — Youth Lessons. Bronze Team, ages 7-18; Silver Team, ages 9-16; Gold Team, ages 12-18. 925-931-3449, www. lifetimetennis.com. Danville — USTA Adaptive Tennis: Just Another Tennis Clinic. Meets twice week, assisted by high school students. www.norcal.usta.com. Walnut Creek — Youth Lessons. Beginning to intermediate lessons,

ages 7-15. 925-931-3449, www. lifetimetennis.com. richmond — tennis instruction for youth. Classes Mon.-Thur. @ Nichol Park. Recreation Department, 510-620-6793; www. ci.richmond.ca.us. Fresno — Break The Barriers, inc. Offering lessons to students @ their 32,000-square-foot Ability Center. Funded by USTA’s adaptive tennis program. Schedule: 559432-6292. www.norcal.usta.com. fresno — Usta adaptive tennis: Fit-4-All. Programs @ Fresno Pacific University. For people who utilize wheelchairs or have special needs. www.norcal.usta.com. sacramento — Usta adaptive Tennis: Paralympics Sport Sacramento Club program. Open to adults and children with disabilities. www.norcal.usta.com.

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IMPULSE

Spring has sprung

While the winter days and nights continue on, we look forward to the spring season. Soon we’ll be soaked up with sunshine, leaves growing back on trees and, of course, spring sports. Baseball, softball, tennis, golf and swimming are all right around the corner. So to give you a head start on the spring season, schmooze around our Spring Sports Buyer’s Guide for ideas on what to purchase this year. Enjoy.

Make a splash this season Calling all swim coaches. The season’s almost here and it’s high time to look into some new gear for your team. Hit up NorCal Swim Shop for 20 percent discounts on suits and warmups for the 2011 season. A swimmer’s shopping paradise, NorCal Swim Shop has everything else too: goggles, caps, fins, zoomers, starting blocks, clocks & timers and more. Find your nearest NorCal Swim Shop or call 1-800-752-7946 to learn more. You can also find them on the interwebs at www.swimshop.com

Fly your way to the top prize Nike’s done it again with their latest and greatest in high-tech shoe razzle-dazzleness with Flywire. This tech innovation gives you the best of both worlds: lightness and strength. Put on these shoes and you’ll become the speed demon on campus. Hold down the anchor leg in the 400 meter relay, dash for gold in the 100 meter sprint, or kick it into high gear so you won’t be late for class. Go to www.nike.com for pricing info.

Snag a web gem or two with Rawlings Some ball players dread playing defense. They long for their next at-bat which is only a few short innings away where they dream of belting the game-winning hit and getting carried off the field. You, on the other hand, relish in the opportunity to play the spoiler by robbing a homer at the fence or diving for a Texas leaguer. You don’t mind diving, sliding or getting your uniform dirty so long as your team comes out on top. Pick up the new line of Rawlings gloves at your nearest Big 5 Sporting Goods retailer or reach ‘em at www.Big5SportingGoods.com

Go where the pros are, let Prince take you there With another tennis season upon us, it’s probably wise to invest in a new racket. The Prince TT Attack Lite OS tennis racket goes where others won’t. Like Centre Court at Wimbledon. Or the clay in Roland Garros. Or the sweltering January heat in Melbourne. Picture yourself serving up ace after ace, slicing backhand winners and hoisting that Grand Slam trophy. It makes sense to use what the pros use since, you know... you might become one after all. Go to your nearest Big 5 Sporting Goods to pick one up or check out www.Big5SportingGoods.com for more info.

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Sup


om

Batter up! Step up to the plate with the Fastpitch Xeno softball bat from Louisville Slugger and start lacing doubles down the left field line or launching a homer over the scoreboard to win the championship. Just remember: you can never hit too many dingers, so keep raising that batting average with the help of Louisville Slugger. Visit www.slugger.com for more info. ■ Grab all your gear and bag it. It’s probably a good idea to get a bag for all of your equipment. There’s so much stuff needed for baseball and softball, it’s easy enough to lose something. Seriously, it’s frustrating enough trying to keep track of your own stats. So pick up the Ballistic Oversized gear bag and never lose your bat, balls, mitt or batting gloves ever again. Check out www.slugger.com for more info and where to find one of these lifesavers.

TaylorMade R11 Driver — In stores 2.4.11. Raise your hand if you want to hit the ball farther without doing anything different. All you have to do is pick up the out-ofthis-world R11 driver from TaylorMade and you’ll pick up 5-10 yards on your drives instantly. Who can say “no” to that? Kiss the water hazards and sand traps goodbye with the R11 and welcome the fairways, greens and lower scores. Pre-order the R11 at www.rdgolf.com now and get $50 off!

Go deep this season with Easton and Sport Chalet Last issue, we looked at the Sport Chalet ad on the back cover and read about BBCOR. What’s BBCOR? A quick Google search tells us it means Batted Ball Coefficient of Restitution. Huh? We put our research caps on and after some digging we found out it’s the new standard for high school baseball. It basically makes sure you’re not gaining an unfair advantage when you’re at the plate. Well, now that you need a bat that’s BBCOR certified, make sure you pick the right one. Let Sport Chalet help. Do you want a bat that eliminates sting and vibration? One that’s lighter but doesn’t compromise strength and power? Or one that has a longer barrel? Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a bat that had all these attributes? Well ... there are two. Introducing the Surge & Rival THT100 bats from Easton. These bats add pop while increasing your hitting surface, plate presence and bat speed. The Easton Surge and Rival bats are BBCOR certified so they’re legal to play at the high school ranks. Where can you find ’em? Hit up your local Sport Chalet and take home one of the best bats of 2011. Learn more at www.sportchalet.com or visit your nearest store. Price: $299.99 (Surge), $199.99 (Rival).

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photo finish GO STRONG Or don’t go at all, they say. Terrance King Jr. takes that message to heart as he glides toward the basket for a layup attempt during the second overtime of his team’s thrilling showdown with Sacramento at the Martin Luther King Classic on Jan. 17 at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley. King scored the layup and was fouled by Sacramento’s Erik Kinney. He scored five of his team’s nine points in the second OT, but it wasn’t enough to keep Bishop O’Dowd from falling 86-85. King, who finished the game with 13 points, was recently pointed to by Bishop O’Dowd coach Doug Vierra as a major reason for the team’s 15-3 start to the season. “He’s a senior, three-sport guy who came out from football and stepped in really quickly when (starting center Brandon Ashley) got hurt,” Vierra told SportStars in early January. “He’s played well for us. He’s just very competitive, and plays a lot bigger than he looks.” PHoto By BoB larson larsonPiC@aol.Com

Want to submit your pic for Photo Finish? Send it to us at editor@SportStarsMag.com Photos must be 300 dpi and at least 10 inches wide in the jpeg format. Please identify every person in the photo and include your contact information. 30

SportStars™

January 27, 2011

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Issue 16, 01.27.2011