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NORCAL EDITION DECEMBER 2018 VOL. 9 ISSUE 157


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Cal-Hi Sports’ Mark Tennis asks why teams would want to bother tying their fate to the flip of a coin?

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New Gilroy wrestling coach and UFC champ Daniel Cormier inherited an all-star roster

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EXCLUSIVE: SportStars’ preseason Top 20 wrestling team rankings

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EXCLUSIVE: SportStars’ preseason Top 20 wrestling weight-by-weight rankings

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Oak Ridge put together a young coaching staff that is buildying a dynasty

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Dublin’s Elijah Alonso is a double-threat whose future may lie in hoops

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Lights, Camera, Action Over the past two years at SportStars, and especially this year, we’ve put an emphasis on incorporating more video with our stories. Partly the reason for that is our commitment to enhancing our readers’ online experience. The other reason is that we’ve added some truly gifted videographers to our roster of contributors. This new wave of video caused me to look into a project I’ve always wanted to do at SportStars, a story and video combination featuring a day in the life of one of the athletes we cover. So in late October, we held a voting contest on our website to see which Bay Area and which Sac-Joaquin region athletes we should highlight. We had more than 30,000 total votes, and the people chose a pair of girls volleyball standouts. St. Francis-Sacramento junior Alexa Edwards earned more than 80 percent of the votes for Sac-Joaquin athletes. Meanwhile, Marin CatholicKentfield star hitter Kari Geissberger edged out a tight race among Bay Area options. On Friday, Dec. 7, the first story and video project will debut at SportStarsMag.com. It will be the one featuring Edwards. Writer Ike Dodson and videographer Derek Nguyen followed Alexa around on Tuesday, Nov. 6 — the day of the Troubadours’ first-round game in the CIF Division I NorCal playoffs. Ike and Derek were given full access to Alexa’s day on campus as well as intimate moments with the volleyball team. Additionally, they followed Alexa and her friends around town as they took part in their usual pregame rituals. The video also features on-camera interviews, including Alexa’s dad, Franklin Edwards. Though he undoubtedly has given interviews in the past as a former NBA Champion on the Julius Erving-led 1983 Philadelphia 76ers, we were his first interview as a volleyball dad. I’m excited to share the finished work and hope it builds anticipation for Geissberger’s video. We hope to begin planning that following the Christmas holiday break and to film it with Kari sometime in early February. If you check out the Alexa Edwards video, either on our website or on one of our social media channels, please leave us a comment and let us know what you think. We’d also be excited to hear reader suggestions on what our next video endeavors should be. Don’t be shy to drop us a line and suggest a player or team which might make for good viewing. Until then, we hope you enjoy the work done by Ike and Derek. ✪

Daddy Dodson November was quite a month for SportStars writer, Ike Dodson. Not only did he spend most of the month compiling all of the wrestling preview content in this issue, but he literally finished the last feature from the maternity ward of Kaiser Roseville following the birth of his child, Piper Lily, on the afternoon of Nov. 30. We hope you join us in good thoughts and well wishes for the Dodson family.

JOIN OUR TEAM PHONE 925.566.8500 FAX 925.566.8507 EDITORIAL Editor@SportStarsMag.com Editor Chace Bryson • Chace@SportStarsMag.com Assistant Editor Mike Wood Staff Writer Jim McCue • JimMcCue16@gmail.com Contributors Clay Kallam, Tim Rudd, Mark Tennis, James G. Kane, Harold Abend, Jill Daniels, Anthony Trucks, Erika Westhoff, Ike Dodson, Steven Wilson Copy Editor Bill Kruissink Photography James K. Leash, Phillip Walton, Doug Guler, Berry Evans III, Samuel Stringer, Jim Johnson, Dennis Lee, Dave Lawicka Interns Joshua Howser, Krishna Gomatam Marketing/Events Ryan Arter CREATIVE DEPARTMENT Art@SportStarsMag.com Production Manager Mike DeCicco • MikeD@SportStarsMag.com PUBLISHER/PRESIDENT Mike Calamusa • Mike@SportStarsMag.com ADVERTISING Sales@SportStarsMag.com, 925.566.8500 Account Executives Camps & Clinics: Ryan Arter • Camps@SportStarsMag.com Alameda County: Berry Evans • Berry@foto-pros.com READER RESOURCES/ADMINISTRATION Subscription, Calendar, Credit Services Info@SportStarsMag.com INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY John Bonilla CFO Sharon Calamusa • Sharon@SportStarsMag.com COMMUNITY SPORTSTARS™ MAGAZINE A division of Caliente! Communications, LLC PO Box 741, Clayton, CA 94517 info@SportStarsMag.com www.SportStarsMag.com

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YOUR TICKET TO CALIFORNIA SPORTS ADMIT ONE; RAIN OR SHINE This Vol. #9, December 2018 Whole No. 157 is published by Caliente! Communications, LLC, PO Box 741, Clayton, CA 94517. SportStars™© 2010-2014 by Caliente! Communications, LLC. All rights reserved. Receive FREE Digital Subscription in your inbox. Subscribe at SportStarsMag. com. To receive sample issues, please send $3 per copy, or $8 total for bulk. 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, selfaddressed envelope. SportStars™© and STARS!™© Clinics are registered trademarks of Caliente! Communications, LLC.

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je’lani clark RIORDAN-S.F. - BASKETBALL - JUNIOR Clark returns to the Crusaders after a breakout sophomore season and is one of the big reasons that Riordan began the 2018-19 season ranked No. 6 in SportStars’ Preseason NorCal Top 20. Through the team’s first three games, Clark is averaging 21.6 points. The 6-foot-2 guard scored a team-high 31 in Riordan’s 73-69 season-opening loss to Dublin at the NorCal Tip-Off Classic

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on Nov. 24. The Crusaders bounced back with two wins in their own Crusaders Classic tournament. Clark had 18 points, seven rebounds and four assists in a semifinal win over San Ramon Valley-Danville on Nov. 30.

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Coin Flip Follies T

o flip or not to flip was a question of almost Shakespearean dimensions as this year’s North Coast Section football playoffs reached the semi-

finals. The flip referred to whether any Division II through IV teams that won semifinal games wanted to flip a coin for a chance at a berth into a CIF NorCal regional bowl. Or they could opt not to flip and play for the section title — thereby giving up the possibility of a CIF state bowl title. Flipping the coin became an option for the NCS schools when two weeks of that section’s playoffs were postponed due to heavy, unhealthy smoke related to the devastating Camp Fire in Butte County. Other sections in NorCal missed one week of playoffs, but were still able to participate in NorCal regional games after the CIF pushed its bowl schedule back one week. The dreaded coin flip used to be more common in high school sports. Leagues, sections and state associations struggled with how to break three-way ties, especially when head-to-head results couldn’t break them. The most famous was depicted in the movie “Friday Night Lights” when the Permian Panthers of Texas had a season depend on their coach winning a three-way coin toss to clinch a playoff berth. If one were to put themselves in the shoes of a high school senior, the choice whether to flip or not flip would appear to be easy. Who would want that season to end on a 50-50 call of heads or tails? Players consistently say at this time of the year that they’re just happy getting to play one more week with their teammates. If that one week is guaranteed to be with the certainty of playing for a section title, the choice of most teams in the NCS was clear. They weren’t flipping. The NCS coin flips didn’t have to be utilized for the Open Division since it is a four-team bracket and was concluded in time for the CIF to choose its NorCal bowl matchups. Also, the section’s Division I bracket could play to conclusion because that division does not advance its champion to the CIF format. The four semifinalists for Division II all agreed before semifinals were played that they weren’t flipping. There also were no coin flips between NCS finalists Moreau CatholicHayward and Fortuna in Division IV, or Middletown and Salesian-Richmond in Division V. “No, none of us seniors wanted the coin flip,” said

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Bishop O’Dowd running back Austin Jones, who scored three touchdowns in a 35-14 Div. II semifinal win over Campolindo-Moraga. “All the hard work we put in just couldn’t end on something like that.” In Division III, Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa did want to flip. The Cardinals won their semifinal game 38-0 over El Cerrito and went for a NorCal bowl berth in a flip with Eureka, which improved to 12-0 by blanking previously unbeaten Las Lomas-Walnut Creek. The coin flip was held the morning of Dec. 2 in the office of NCS commissioner Gil Lemmon, who conducted the flip himself. Eureka won the toss, and a few hours later learned it would host Menlo-Atherton in the CIF NorCal Div. 3-AA bowl. Cardinal Newman had to start preparing to turn in uniforms. “It sucks with the fire and everything, but I’m fine with it,” O’Dowd senior quarterback Moe Flynn said. He will lead the Dragons in a section final on Dec. 8 against Marin Catholic-Kentfield. “As long as we’re together an extra week is all that matters.” With a head-to-head win over Marin Catholic earlier in the season, Campolindo would’ve held a tiebreaker over the Wildcats and not had to flip a coin if they’d beaten O’Dowd. Cougars coach Kevin Macy said his team would have continued on with the NCS playoffs regardless. “We were going to play it through no matter what, because that would have been the right thing to do,” Macy said. “All our kids were on board with that. It’s a little bit of an insult for what they’ve gone through for their season to come down to something like that (a coin flip). It sort of demeans the process.” This likely won’t be the last time the section faces this type of adversity, especially as environmental disasters become more rampant. All contingency plans have to be made, but one of those plans probably shouldn’t include a coin flip of any kind to determine the fate of a team’s season. ✪

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NCVA Aids Collegiate Volleyball Star Fighting Life-Threatening Blood Cancer Alyssa Cavanaugh established herself as one of the best collegiate volleyball players in the country from 2014-2017. In her decorated four-year career at Western Kentucky University, the Hilltoppers could rely on the dominant outside hitter whenever the moment called for a big play. In four seasons, Cavanaugh totaled more than 1,800 kills, 250 digs and 200 blocks. Now, the former Conference USA Player of the Year and four-time All-America honoree, is relying on others to make a big play for her. The biggest. And SportStars readers can help. Cavanaugh, 22, had her world turn upside down on September 5 of this year. Just as she was in the process of obtaining her student visa, Cavanaugh’s plans to study for her masters degree in Strength and Conditioning and play overseas for England’s Northumbria University got put on indefinite hold. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Cavanaugh’s best chance for a cure requires a bone marrow transplant. Seventy percent of all patients suffering from ALL do not have matching donors within their family, and Cavanaugh is no different. That’s where Be The Match and NCVA come in. Be The Match is a global leader in bone marrow transplantation and over the past 30 years has built the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world. The NCVA is joining forces with Be The Match to raise awareness for Cavanaugh, who is currently being treated at the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center and the Norton Cancer Center in her hometown of Louisville, Kentucky. SportStars readers within the ages of 18 to 44 can take part in this search. To do so, visit https://join.bethematch.org/ncva and register to receive a simple cheek swap kit. A kit will be mailed within 3-7 days. Upon receipt, follow the instructions for swabbing and returning to Be The Match, and then be ready if called as a match. You can also text “Cure12” to 61474 to begin the process as well. Take the time to potentially be a hero for an athlete in need. ✪ — Photos provided by NCVA and Be The Match Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

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L to R: Returning state medalists, Joseph Barnes, Ryan Reyes, Nicholas Villarreal and Chase Saldate

Dream

GILROY WRESTLI

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m Team

ING

Story By Ike Dodson Photos by Doug Stringer

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GILROY AT A GLANCE HEAD COACH: Former Olympic wrestler Daniel Cormier, currently a UFC champion in two fight divisions 2017-18 FINISH: 16-time repeat Central Coast Section champions, CIF runner-ups to Buchanan-Clovis 2017-18 KEY LOSSES: State champion and 2018 SportStars NorCal MVP Antonio Andrade (Northeastern Oklahoma A&M), Nicolas Aguilar (Rutgers), Alex Felix (Ohio State) 2018-19 ADDITIONS: Dante Lopez, Fr., Ryan Reyes (Clovis West-Fresno transfer), Sr. 2018-19 MUST-SEE EVENT: On Jan. 2 in the Gilroy gymnasium, four of the consensus top-15 prep wrestling teams in the United States will collide during a quad meet that will feature many of the nation’s best and most heavily recruited grapplers. Participating are Wyoming Seminary (Pennsylvania), Montini Catholic (Illinois), Buchanan-Clovis and Gilroy.

2018-2019 LINEUP Wgt. Name, Grade

NorCal Rank

106

Eli Castro, So.

7

113

Jayden Gomez, So.

1

120

Donte Lopez, Fr.

7

Nathan Aguilar, So.

10

126

Victor Jacinto, So.

3

132

Zeferino Oshiro, Sr. Noah Castro, Jr.

12

Leo St. John, Jr. 138

Chase Saldate, Jr.

1

145

John Fox, Sr.

1

152

Daniel Vizcarra, Sr.

1

160

Nathan Villarreal, Sr.

6

170

Joseph Barnes, Sr.

2

182

Dallas Gutierrez, Sr.

7

195

Ryan Reyes, Sr.

1

220

Ryan Enciso, Sr.

285

Nicholas Villarreal, Jr.

14

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December 2018

UFC Double-Champ And Gilroy’s First-Year Coach, Daniel Cormier, Expects The Mustangs To Contend For A State Wrestling Title

W

hen UFC officials approached Daniel Cormier to schedule his next main event pay-per-view, the first UFC twodivision champion to successfully defend both titles made his priorities clear. “I told them I was unavailable until March, because I have a state title to train and compete for,” Cormier said. Considered the best pound-for-pound mixed martial artist on the planet, Cormier is also the head coach of Gilroy High wrestling. Before he steps into the Octagon for a potential heavyweight mega-fight with UFC legend Brock Lesnar, or drops weight to avenge his only defeat to Jon Jones, Cormier will be shouting instructions to Mustang wrestlers from a folding chair inside Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield. Gilroy, runners-up at the 2017 California Interscholastic Federation State Wrestling Championships, is poised to seriously challenge three-time consecutive state champion Buchanan-Clovis. It helps that Cormier wasn’t the only addition. Clovis West-Fresno transfer Ryan Reyes, ranked No. 1 in California (The California Wrestling Newsletter) and No. 3 in the nation (InterMat) is a tournament monster, poised to score massive team points from the 195-pound weight class. With state No. 1 Nicholas Villarreal also expected to cash in at 285 and at least six more Mustangs poised to earn CIF hardware, Gilroy is aglow in 2018-19 hype. “The next step for this team is to challenge and win a state title,” Cormier said. “I’m taking every kid in that room against anybody in this country.” A coaching roster of former and current national-caliber wrestlers certainly aids the cause, and ultra-competitive battles for spots in the varsity lineup only bolster competition. “The kids are wrestling with each other to get better and wrestling with us to get better,” Cormier said. “If we do not win a state title, it won’t be for lack of hard work.” Cormier said the staff changes at Gilroy, including the additions of former All-American wrestlers Kyle Crutchmer, Shawn Bunch and Deron Winn, doesn’t mean the program routine will see sweeping changes. He attributes the program success to his predecessor, Greg Varela, now coaching at Los Gatos.

“I told (UFC) I was unavailable until March, because I have a state title to train and compete for.” — UFC Champ and Gilroy coach Daniel Cormeir

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“Coach Varela did such a great job with this group of boys,” Cormier said. “We want to add to what has been built here.” Challenge matches loom, but Cormier’s tournament lineup is loaded. Fourteen of his wrestlers are featured across the 14 weights of the SportStars NorCal wrestling rankings and six Mustangs are listed at No. 1. Returning fifth-place CIF medalist Jayden Gomez, a sophomore, dropped two matches by a combined three points at state, and overloaded his offseason regimen to aid his path up the podium at 113 pounds. Cormier said he’s already a leader in the wrestling room. Michigan State-bound Chase Saldate, coincidentally Cormier’s neighbor, will also look to build upon his fourthplace finish last season. “Chase is as good as any kid in the country,” Cormier said. “He is a coach’s dream. He does everything I ask for. “His potential is through the roof.” Cormier said John Fox, down at 145 after a disappointing 2-2 stanza at 152 last season, has re-dedicated himself to the sport. Fox has won eight CIF matches across three years, but hasn’t medaled. “Wrestling is one of the most unforgiving sports, and when you don’t love wrestling like it wants to be loved it becomes an ugly girlfriend at the worst possible time,” Cormier said. “These inconsistencies that John had are a thing of the past. “He works harder than anyone. He is committed to making sure he makes the most of his chance to get on the medal

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Jayden Gomez

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Ryan Reyes stand.” Daniel Vizcarra landed in three weight classes last season and went 3-2 at state in the 138-pound bracket. He is poised to cause major disturbances in the 152 bracket this season after placing eighth in the National High School Coaches Association Junior Nationals seven months ago. Reyes, a 195-pound Christmas present, is the addition that makes Gilroy a real challenger to Buchanan’s CIF throne. “When they told me he transferred to Gilroy I about lost my mind,” Cormier said. “That kid can wrestle, man. He is the best kid in the entire country.” Reyes lost only five matches last year, and four of them were against SportStars NorCal MVP Antonio Andrade, a Gilroy state champion, and Oakdale’s Colby Harlan, a pound-for-pound top CIF wrestler until Andrade upset him in the gold-medal match at state. With Harlan and Andrade gone, Reyes is now in that pound-forpound conversation. Villarreal, the other state No. 1 in Gilroy’s lineup, has the luxury of following the path of four-time state champion Seth Nevills, who made the heavyweight division a forgone conclusion. With Nevills now at Penn State, Villarreal can use his quickness and strength to become the new CIF heavyweight king. “Nicholas is a tough, mean Gilroy boy, and he’s being heavily recruited,” Cormier said. “He completes the lineup of what I believe is a very special team.” CIF accolades are also within reach of the 10 other wrestlers who will battle for a postseason roster spot. It’s a lineup that could win Cormier another big title, and he won’t have to get punched in the face for this one. ✪ 16

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2018-19 Preseason NorCal Wrestler Rankings

Del Oro’s Eli Blake Wrestling and rankings go together like peanut butter and jelly — though you should really stick to some lean protein, whole grain pasta and skim milk if you want to make weight. For the second year, SportStars Magazine will track Northern California’s elite wrestlers and teams as they slug through ultratough tournament brackets, league dual meets and ultimately the mad dash to Bakersfield and the 2018 California Interscholastic Federation State Championships. All year, SportStars will align the best of each weight class, and the top teams in Northern California into lists of the 15 best. These preseason rankings are a bit of trial and error, as we don’t have access to every lineup, and still await the steady flow of results via trackwrestling.com and other tournament websites. This year, our team rankings are calculated by the cumulative “power points” of each ranked wrestler, with 15 points awarded to the top wrestler in each weight and one point given to the wrestler at No. 15. Gilroy, fresh off a runner-up finish at state, has six at the top (90 points) and picked up another 68 from the scoring wrestlers in other weights. (Only one wrestler can earn “power points” in each bracket, but we will rank multiple wrestlers from the same team, if necessary). The team and individual ranks will fluctuate as the season progresses. See someone out of place? Did we spell a name wrong or miss a transfer? Let us know. To provide feedback and results relative to these rankings, email evmarketingandmedia@ gmail.com ✪ Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

1. GILROY (13 scoring, 158 power points. 2018 CIF finish-2) — The best team in Northern California only got better with the addition of state No. 1 Ryan Reyes. New coach Daniel Cormier has a dream team that will contend for the state championship. 2. OAKDALE (11-97. CIF-7) — Oakdale has top-15 NorCal wrestlers in each of the first 11 weight classes, and should get better all season as this group spars each day. Henry Porter and Gabe Martinez were CIF runner-ups last year, and will lead the team. 3. VACAVILLE (9-85. CIF-10) — The reigning SJS champions will be a bit of a mystery all season, but expect Vacaville to be favored to win another section title. This team is loaded with young talent that should emerge throughout the year. 4. DEL ORO-LOOMIS (9-83. CIF-11) — Del Oro lost JT Stinson and Dallas Stevens to the Northern Section, but have nine ranked wrestlers and should excel when freshman star Damion Elliott returns from a leg injury. Noah and Eli Blake are also elite talents. 5. DE LA SALLE-CONCORD (8-79. CIF-15) — State champion Peyton Omania departed via graduation, but the Spartans have eight wrestlers ranked among the top 10 NorCal wrestlers in their division. This program continues to impress after a stellar season in 2017-18. THE NEXT 10 6. Sutter (5-46. CIF-51); 7. Turlock (4-43. CIF-20); 8. Liberty-Brentwood (4-41. CIF-32); 9. Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills (4-38. CIF-28); 10. Franklin-Elk Grove (4-33. CIF-140); 11. PitmanTurlock (3-32. CIF-16); 12. Foothill-Palo Cedro (4-31. CIF-36); 13. Evergreen Valley-San Jose (5-30. CIF-77); 14. Elk Grove (3-29. CIF-21); T15. Folsom (3-26. CIF-30) SJS; T15. Durham (326. CIF-140); T15. El Capitan-Merced (4-26. CIF-183); T15. Windsor (3-26. CIF-52). ✪

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— Ike Dodson December 2018

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2018-19 Preseason NorCal Wrestler Rankings Section Key: CCS (Central Coast Section), NCS (North Coast Section), NS (Northern Section), OS (Oakland), SJS (Sac-Joaquin Section) and SF (San Francisco)

106 POUNDS

138 POUNDS

1. Ryan Luna, Fr., St. Francis-Mountain View (CCS) 2. Isaiah Medina, Fr., Vacaville (SJS) 3. Michael Torres, Fr., Oakdale (SJS) 4. Devin Garcia, Sr., James Logan-Union City (NCS) 5. John Valdez, So., Grace Davis-Modesto (SJS) 6. Calvin Antonio, So., Evergreen Valley-San Jose (CCS) 7. Eli Castro, So., Gilroy (CCS) 8. Bobby Cuevas Jr., Fr., De La Salle-Concord (NCS) 9. Yousuf Zigan, Jr., Durham (NS) 10. Stetson Morgan, So., Paradise (NS) 11. Ethan Rossi, Jr., San Benito-Hollister (CCS) 12. Mike Bigler, Sr., Archbishop Riordan-S.F. (CCS) 13. Joseph Pia, Jr., El Capitan-Merced (SJS) 14. Clay Browning, Jr., Del Oro-Loomis (SJS) 15. Jonathan Fredrickson, Fr., Windsor (NCS)

126 POUNDS

113 POUNDS 1. Jayden Gomez, So., Gilroy (CCS) 2. Christian Cabuag, So., Monte Vista ChristianWatsonville (CCS) 3. Blake Fredrickson, Sr., Windsor (NCS) 4. Romeo McNeal, Sr., James Logan (NCS) 5. Evan Taylor, Sr., Folsom (SJS) 6. Javier Torres, Sr., Live Oak (CCS) 7. Zachary Thompson, So., Palma-Salinas (CCS) 8. Jake Stone, Jr., Oakmont-Roseville (SJS) 9. Brayden Abell, So., Oakdale (SJS) 10. Brennen Dibble, Sr., Summerville (SJS) 11. Damion Elliott, Fr., Del Oro (SJS) 12. Andrew Calvert, Sr., Franklin-Elk Grove (SJS) 13. Christian Her, Sr., Beyer-Modesto (SJS) 14. Carter Bailey, So., Granada-Livermore (NCS) 15. Colby Cerros, Sr., Ponderosa-Shingle Springs (SJS)

132 POUNDS

120 POUNDS 1. William Giron, Sr., Turlock (SJS) 2. Izzy Tubera, Jr., Pitman-Turlock (SJS) 3. Riley Hilt, Sr., De La Salle (NCS) 4. Jimmy Heryford, Sr., Sutter (NS) 5. Callum Kremer, Jr., Chester (NS) 6. Gus Petruske, Sr., College Park-Pleasant Hill (NCS) 7. Donte Lopez, Fr., Gilroy (CCS) 8. Cole Gregerson, Sr., Liberty-Brentwood (NCS) 9. Adam Arenas, Jr., Lincoln-San Jose (CCS) 10. Nathan Aguilar, So., Gilroy (CCS) 11. TJ Ruiz, Sr., Vacaville (SJS) 12. Clayton Bashor, So., Oakdale (SJS) 13. Michael Obeid, Sr., Patterson (SJS) 14. Cesar Jaimes, Fr., Del Oro (SJS) 15. Preston Bagan, Sr., Analy-Sebastopol (NCS) 18

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1. Dakota Unpingco, Sr., Freedom-Oakley (NCS) 2. Brenden Johnson, Jr., Del Oro-Loomis (SJS) 3. Victor Jacinto, So., Gilroy (CCS) 4. Caydin Wickard, Jr., Golden Valley-Merced (SJS) 5. Andrew Wang, Sr., Palo Alto (CCS) 6. Adrian Heras, Jr., Turlock (SJS) 7. Edison Alanis, Sr., Franklin-Elk Grove (SJS) 8. Connor Shirar, Sr., Vacaville (SJS) 9. Dallas Stevens, So., Gridley (NS) 10. Jake Mora, Sr., Pleasant Valley-Chico (NS) 11. Eli Blackwell, Jr., Tracy (SJS) 12. Kai Niimi, Sr., Granite Bay (SJS) 13. Ceasar Garza, Fr., Oakdale (SJS) 14. Christian Antonio, So., Evergreen Valley-San Jose (CCS) 15. Jacob Yang, Fr., Sheldon-Sacramento (SJS)

December 2018

1. Henry Porter, above, So., Oakdale (SJS) 2. Kyle Parco, Sr., De La Salle (NCS) 3. Evan Ivaldi, So., Del Oro (SJS) 4. Noah Mirelez, Sr., Patterson (SJS) 5. Jacob Peralta, Sr., Vacaville (SJS) 6. Josiah Monjares, Sr., Las Lomas-Walnut Creek (NCS) 7. Devin Holman, Sr., El Capitan (SJS) 8. Rocky Raby, Jr. West Valley-Cottonwood (NS) 9. Billy Thornton, Jr., Sutter (NS) 10. Cole Sanchez, Jr., Northgate-Walnut Creek (NCS) 11. Kyle Botelho, Jr., Burlingame (CCS) 12. Noah Castro, Jr., Gilroy (CCS) 13. Alex Jimenez, Sr., Escalon (SJS) 14. Brayden Schumann, Fr., Orland (NS) 15. Michael Miller, Sr., Grace Davis-Modesto (SJS)

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1. Chase Saldate, Jr., Gilroy (CCS) 2. Eli Blake, Jr., Del Oro (SJS) 3. Ricky Torres, Sr., Oakdale (SJS) 4. Jared Horstman, Sr., Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills (SJS) 5. Jose Fernandez III, Sr., Upper Lake (NCS) 6. Dwayne Guerrero, Sr., De La Salle (NCS) 7. Colton Stone, Sr., Foothill-Palo Cedro (NS) 8. Kendall Frank, Sr., Elk Grove (SJS) 9. Saul Gonzalez, Sr., Palma (CCS) 10. Jonah Nascimentov, Sr., Lowell-S.F. (SF) 11. Sammy Silveria, Jr., Pitman-Turlock (SJS) 12. Thomas Grey, Sr., Oakland Tech (OS) 13. Jay Escamilla, Sr., Ukiah (NCS) 14. Estevan Sanchez, Jr., Silver Creek-San Jose (CCS) 15. Timothy Cowen, Fr., Livermore (NCS)

145 POUNDS 1. John Fox, Sr., Gilroy (CCS) 2. Alfredo Mendoza, Sr., Salinas (CCS) 3. Kendall LaRosa, Jr., Pitman-Turlock (SJS) 4. Trent Silva, So,. Windsor (NCS) 5. Zac Hancock, Sr., Sutter (NS) 6. Seth Borba, So., Oakdale (SJS) 7. Logan Sumulong, Sr., De La Salle (NCS) 8. Zane Martin, Sr., Vacaville (SJS) 9. Amman Klair, Sr., Monte Vista Christian (CCS) 10. Eric Santos, Sr., Benicia (NCS) 11. Chris Ostergren, Sr., Foothill-Palo Cedro (NS) 12. Jose Estrada, Sr., Beyer (SJS) 13. Cody Pruis, Sr., Heritage-Brentwood (NCS) 14. Michael Ryaboy, Jr., Lowell (SF) 15. James Ost, Sr., Fremont-Sunnyvale (CCS)

152 POUNDS 1. Daniel Vizcarra, Sr., Gilroy (CCS) 2. Tyee Ducharme, Sr., Vacaville (SJS) 3. Corey Williford, Sr., Foothill-Palo Cedro (NS) 4. Casey Cox, Sr., San Ramon Valley-Danville (NCS) 5. Alex Garcia, Sr., Kelseyville (NCS) 6. Hassan Khan, Jr., Franklin-Elk Grove (SJS) 7. Jed Campos, So., Del Oro (SJS 8. Nate Paulson, Sr., Liberty (NCS) 9. Zach Soto, Sr., Chico (NS) 10. Mario Franco, So., De La Salle (NCS) 11. Devin Brisco, Sr., Sonora (SJS) 12. Kristopher Darrin, Jr., Castro Valley (NCS) 13. Jake LeWallen, So., Ponderosa (SJS) 14. Jackson Ruvalcaba, Jr., Oakdale (SJS) 15. Caiden Cohen, Sr., Folsom (SJS) Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!


2018-19 Preseason NorCal Wrestler Rankings Section Key: CCS (Central Coast Section), NCS (North Coast Section), NS (Northern Section), OS (Oakland), SJS (Sac-Joaquin Section) and SF (San Francisco)

160 POUNDS 1. Noah Blake, top right, Sr., Del Oro (SJS) 2. JT Stinson, Jr., East Nicolaus (NS) 3. Marcos Jimenez, Jr., Evergreen Valley (CCS) 4. Ankhaa Enkhmandakh, Sr., De La Salle (NCS) 5. Cole Chapman, Sr., Vacaville (SJS) 6. Nathan Villarreal, Sr., Gilroy (CCS) 7. Patrick Garcia, Sr., Modesto Christian (SJS) 8. Riley Lewallen, Sr., Ponderosa (SJS) 9. Max Plotzeneder, Sr., Castro Valley (NCS) 10. Christian Antonio, Jr., North Salinas (CCS) 11. Andrew Reese, Sr., Vista del Lago-Folsom (SJS) 12. Ernest Wilson, Jr., Foothill-Palo Cedro (NS) 13. Justin Jericoff, Sr., Oakdale (SJS) 14. Kodiak Stephens, So., Bret Harte (SJS) 15. Nathan Magee, Jr., Oak Ridge (SJS)

170 POUNDS 1. Gabe Martinez, bottom right, Sr., Oakdale (SJS) 2. Joseph Barnes, Sr., Gilroy (CCS) 3. Joseph Valdez, Sr., Placer-Auburn (SJS) 4. Ben Perez, Sr., Alvarez-Salinas (CCS) 5. Nate Tyrell, Sr., Ukiah (NCS) 6. Evan Myrtue, Sr., El Capitan (SJS) 7. Hussien Abbushi, Sr., Arroyo-San Lorenzo (NCS) 8. Adam Medeiros. Sr., Fortuna (NCS) 9. Chandler Monahan, Sr., Lassen-Susanville (NS) 10. Tristen Bailey, Jr., Corning (NS) 11. Aidan Elko, Sr., Jesuit-Carmichael (SJS) 12. Lance Couchman, Sr., Turlock (SJS) 13. Josh Ballesteros, Jr., Evergreen Valley (CCS) 14. Jacob Alves, Sr., Heritage (NCS) 15. Zane Hake, Jr., Bellarmine-San Jose (CCS)

182 POUNDS 1. Jack Kilner, Sr., Granada-Livermore (NCS) 2. Elliott Houghton, Sr., Calaveras (SJS) 3. Kaden West, Jr., Oak Ridge (SJS) 4. Cody Golding, Sr., Oakdale (SJS) 5. Peter Ming, Elk Grove (SJS) 6. Malik Lewis, Sr., Franklin-Elk Grove (SJS) 7. Dallas Gutierrez, Sr., Gilroy (CCS) 8. Denzel Mabry, Sr., Castlemont-Oakland (OS) 9. Andrew Kohl, Sr., Castro Valley (NCS) 10. Carlsten Rawls, So., St. Francis-Mountain View (CCS) 11. Kevin Fernandez, Sr., El Capitan (SJS) 12. Jaron Azevedo, Sr., Pitman (SJS) 13. Bobby McCoy, Sr., Chico (NS) 14. Carlos Jimenez, Jr., Evergreen Valley (CCS) 15. Kenny Probis, Sr., Vacaville (SJS) Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

195 POUNDS 1. Ryan Reyes, Sr., Gilroy (CCS) 2. Adrian Chavez, Sr., Liberty (NCS) 3. Chris Island, Jr., Vacaville (SJS) 4. Max Gipson, Jr., Sutter (NS) 5. Robert Ochoa, Sr., Gonzales (CCS) 6. Dylan Meyers, Sr., Franklin-Elk Grove (SJS) 7. Adam Lowe, Sr., Del Oro (SJS) 8. Frankie Pomilia, Jr. Ukiah (NCS) 9. Elias Mendoza, So., Granite Bay (SJS) 10. Tucker St. Andre, Sr., Lassen (NS) 11. Branson Kirby, Sr., El Dorado-Placerville (SJS) 12. Zachary Brooks, So., Grace Davis (SJS) 13. Bradley Rankin, Jr., Casa Roble-Orangevale (SJS) 14. Gabriel Guzman Jr., Oak Ridge (SJS) 15. Kyshawn Wydermyer, Sr., Pittsburg (NCS)

220 POUNDS 1. Victor Jaquez, Sr., Bellarmine (CCS) 2. Kyle Richards, Sr., Folsom (SJS) 3. Jacob Christianson, So., Durham (NS) 4. Tyler Winslow, Sr., Sonoma Valley-Sonoma (NCS) 5. Preston Cobabe, Sr., Oak Ridge (SJS) 6. Tyree Cross, Jr., Lincoln-S.F. (SF) 7. Michael Lizaola, Sr., Palma (CCS) 8. Luke Christensen, Sr., Inderkum-Sacramento (SJS) 9. Ben Allen, Sr., Chico (NS) 10. Isaiah Chatman, Sr., Pittsburg (NCS) 11. Mark Sulzer, Sr., Red Bluff (NS) 12. Travis Tedder, Sr., Sutter (NS) 13. Isaac Davalos, Sr., Lincoln-Stockton (SJS) 14. Jack O’Connor, Jr., Pleasant Grove-Elk Grove (SJS) 15. Mondo Calderon, Sr., Fairfield (SJS)

285 POUNDS 1. Nicholas Vilarreal, Jr., Gilroy (CCS) 2. Mike Jeffus, Sr., Turlock (SJS) 3. Levi Markey, Sr., Del Campo-Fair Oaks (SJS) 4. Cole Feliciano, Sr., Fremont-Sunnyvale (CCS) 5. Wyatt Word, Sr., Liberty (NCS) 6. Justin Ramos, Sr., Vista del Lago (SJS) 7. Michael Wiley, Sr., Los Gatos (CCS) 8. Eugene Larios-Felton, Sr., Lincoln-S.F. (SF) 9. Ben Roe, Jr. De La Salle (NCS) 10. James Hyatt, Sr., Durham (NS) 11. Lucas Cook, Jr., Lincoln (SJS) 12. Jason Gallegos, Sr., West Campus-Sacramento (SJS) 13. Chris Mendoza, Sr., Central Catholic-Modesto (SJS) 14. Marcellus Eison, Jr., Serra-San Mateo (CCS) 15. Sam Kolokihakaufisi, Sr., San Mateo (CCS) ✪ Support Your Advertisers — Say You Found Them in SportStars!

December 2018

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WHERE THE W

Placer Valley Plays Host To Regional Championships In Women’s West Coast TOC Set To Invade Rocklin Here at Placer Valley Tourism we are counting down the days until the fourth annual Women’s West Coast Tournament of Champions. This twoday event is a true standout in the world of wrestling as it is the only all-female tournament that features both high school and college athletes. The WWCTOC will return to Hardwood Palace in Rocklin on Dec. 14-15 with PVT once again joining forces with Cliff Keen Wrestling and the Sacramento Area Wrestling Association. Recently the WWCTOC was honored as a Champion of Economic Impact in Sports Tourism by Sports Destination Management in the Innovations category. This event was noticed by SDM because of the rapid growth the tournament experienced in the first three years where it started small and quickly gained traction with more high schools and colleges as well as a powerhouse sponsor in Cliff Keen Wrestling. Additionally, the timing of the tournament falls during a slow tourist season and therefore provides an extra economic boost to Placer Valley hotels and restaurants. On the heels of the award, PVT is more excited than ever to host the biggest and best WWCTOC yet! Not only are more high schools and colleges participating than ever before, it was also just announced that special guest Jacque Davis will be in attendance. Davis is an alum of Menlo College, one of the first colleges to compete at the WWCTOC and is a well-known trailblazer in women’s wrestling. After her stellar college wrestling career, she spent five years in New York City working as the Girls Development Director for an incredible program, Beat the Streets. During her time at BTS she coached 47 national All-Americans, five national USA team members, three Pan-Am Team selections and two Fargo national champions. “Having Jacque on-hand to inspire, encourage and greet the competitors of the WWCTOC elevates this event to an even higher level,” PVT Director of Marketing Kim Summers said. “Her contributions to girls and women’s wrestling are phenomenal and we are so excited to welcome her to our event!” ✪ 20

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WEST IS WON

n Both Girls Wrestling And Quidditch — Yes, Quidditch Send An Owl! Quidditch Tourney Returns To Roseville

Calling all Harry Potter and quidditch fans! On Feb. 9-10 the U.S. West Regional Quidditch Championship will be taking place right here in Placer Valley at Maidu Park in Roseville. It has been nearly four years since this Quidditch Championship has been in our footprint as it is a rotating event. Placer Valley Tourism is thrilled to be teaming up with U.S. Quidditch to bring this unique and exciting event back to Roseville for 2019. For those of you wondering what quidditch is, it is a full-contact sport that has been adapted and made famous by the Harry Potter novels. Quidditch combines elements of rugby, dodgeball and tag with mixed-gender teams that are made up of seven athletes who play with brooms between their legs at all times. Although at first glance it can seem chaotic, once someone becomes familiar with the basic rules it is an exciting, fast-paced sport to watch and better yet to play! Both collegiate and club teams will be competing at the West Regional Championship this coming February coming from Arizona, Utah, Washington, Oregon and, of course, California. This regional championship is a qualifier with the teams vying for a spot at the U.S. Quidditch Cup 12 in Round Rock, Texas on April 13-14, 2019. Admission is free and open to the public. Plus, on both days of the West Regionals there will be quidditch experts on-site teaching this fun sport to elementary, middle and high school students. No advance sign-up is required, just stop by the headquarter tent at the event, have a parent sign the participation waiver and experience the ins and outs of quidditch! Make sure to mark your calendars for Feb. 9-10 and come on down to Maidu Park at 1550 Maidu Drive in Roseville. The event will start at 9 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday. If you would like more information, please email events@usquidditch. org. We hope to see you there! ✪ — All copy and photos provided by Placer Valley Tourism Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

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Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills wrestling coaches and local alumni (L-R) Josh Ploke, Andy Wagner, Drew Gaan, Kyle West, Chris Haislet, Justin Danz and Mikey DiManno are eager to show the California wrestling community that a first-year staff of former prep standouts can lead one of the most storied programs in the Sac-Joaquin Section. 22

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December 2018

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Story and Photos by Ike Dodson Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

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December 2018

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Preston Cobabe

T

he new era of Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills wrestling was built by text messages — maybe the kind of thing you should expect from a program coached by seven millennials. Kyle West, first-year head coach of the longtime Sac-Joaquin Section power, and a 2009 Oak Ridge alumnus, kick-started his hiring panel with a few group chats. “There were some rumors of (longtime Oak Ridge coach Casey Rhyan retiring), and I told him to let me know, so we didn’t let some (fool) take over the program, especially while my brother (Kaden West) and all of the other kids I had coached were still there,” West said. “When he retired and I was hired as the next head coach, I called and texted the guys who I wrestled with when I was a freshman. I also sent my boy (Justin Danz) a text, and he said he would coach with me.” Kyle and Danz combined for four California Interscholastic Federation state wrestling championship medals from 2006-08. Danz, fourth in California in 2006, is known for keeping Central Catholic-Modesto’s Louis Bland from winning four straight titles by beating him in the state finals in 2007. The Ponderosa grad is the only coach on staff who didn’t wrestle for Oak Ridge. Kyle, a three-time state qualifier, was fourth in the state in 2007. He made the finals a year later, but missed his best chance at a state title when late aggression spelled his downfall. After ending runner-up in 2008, Kyle was forced from the 2009 state championships via injury default. He is listed at CalGrappler.com as one of the best wrestlers in state history to not win CIF gold.

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Kyle, 30, and Danz, 29, bring the CIF prestige, but the rest of the staff (Drew Gaan, 30; Chris Haislet, 30; Andy Wagner, 30; Mikey DiManno, 28 and Josh Ploke, 21) contribute a wealth of youth, prep and collegiate wrestling and coaching experience. Each brings unique style and technique to the wrestling room, and the group collaborates to discuss best practice or embrace diversity. “We told the kids, ‘You might see us do things different ways and that’s OK, because there is more than one right way to do things,’” Kyle said. “We want to explain why we do everything, and that makes it a lot earlier for the kids to grasp. “We also love to bounce things off each other.” Though only Kyle coached at Oak Ridge a year ago, the full staffing overhaul isn’t a short-term effort to fill the void of departing staff. “We are building a dynasty,” Kyle said. “This isn’t a one-year thing. Everyone is here to stay.” A veteran lineup should aide the cause. Oak Ridge returns three CIF qualifiers from last season, seven upperclassman with serious postseason potential and one of the best female wrestlers in the state. Since the CIF has combined the boys and girls state championship tournament this season, Emily Se could be Oak Ridge’s top wrestler in Rabobank Arena next March. Se, a former judo practitioner, was top-12 in California’s girls state tournaments in 2016 and 2017 and missed the 2018 postseason when she was home-schooled. Now back at Oak Ridge, though unheralded because of her absence, Se is pre-

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pared to be a bracket-buster. “I want to take first at state,” Se said. “I have to go from the the bottom up, because everyone else will be seeded, but that’s fine. It will feel like a bigger accomplishment because I won’t be expected to win.” “She has made some big strides since she last wrestled at the state, and she will have a much better tournament this year,” Kyle added. Oak Ridge’s best chances to bag a boys medal at state belong to the three wrestlers who visited Rabobank last year: Kaden, Jared Horstman and Preston Cobabe. Horstman won three matches in the 132-pound CIF bracket last year, but has missed some valuable time on the preseason mat with an injury. He will look to catch up in a stacked 138-pound bracket that includes NorCal standouts Chase Saldate (fourth in in the state last year), Del Oro’s Eli Blake (seventh last year) and Oakdale’s Ricky Torres (ranked fifth in the state this year by the California Wrestling Newsletter). Horstman is currently behind all three, No. 4 in the latest SportStars NorCal ranks. Kaden is the top Oak Ridge wrestler in the SportStars rankings at No. 3 at 182 pounds. He is explosive early in matches and should benefit from a wrestling room packed with young coaches around his weight class. Cobabe (220) was 0-2 at state last year, but may be the program’s most improved grappler.

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“Preston is already in shape,” Kyle said. “He organized team runs and lifts in the offseason and works so hard.” Seniors Max McCarver (120), Grant Anderson (152) and juniors Nathan Magee (160), Gabe Guzman (195) each will be gunning for their first CIF appearance this season. Oak Ridge staff wouldn’t be surprised to see eight Trojans earn a trip to Bakersfield, though it’s not the only ambition for new coaches. “One thing I tell our wrestlers is that there is not many instances where I have someone consistently be a champion in wrestling and not be a champion in other things,” Kyle said. “Being a champion is a walk of life. “Wrestling provides an opportunity to be a part of something special, and most high school kids won’t even get that chance.” Kyle owned the growing pains of a new staff, and said he leans on his father and Kaden’s father, Benjamin West, for guidance. “We are doing our best,” Kyle said. “I am so blessed to have these coaches. We get together twice a week (away from practice) like wrestling nerds to go over each wrestlers’ goal sheets. “We teach respect and it’s working. Sometimes I stand in the back of the room watching everyone drill and work and a tear almost runs down my face.” ✪

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Kaden West

December 2018

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G

unnar Rask’s first try at football was when he went to a De La Salle High School-Concord camp when he was in third grade. He started out trying the defensive line and wide receiver.

“I could not figure out X, Y and Z to line up off and on the ball. So the next year I

was an offensive lineman,” Rask said. It all worked out. Rask is now a senior for the Spartans, playing both offensive and defensive line. “The most humbling part about the position is that you’re going to be the person that the quarterback and running back and wide receiver thank after the game,” he said. Now, the Spartans are back in the California Interscholastic Federation Open Division championship game, set to face Mater Dei-Santa Ana at Cerritos College on Dec. 8. It will be a repeat of last year’s title game when De La Salle fell to the Monarchs, 52-21. The endpoint is the same for Rask and the Spartans, but the journey has been a little different. De La Salle is now 12-0 on the season but it opened the year with several question marks. Rask, the right tackle, was the only returning starter on the offensive line. That line was expected to protect sophomore quarterback Dorian Hale, the first sophomore to start a season at quarterback for De La Salle in 20 years. Rask said it wouldn’t be a problem. “This offensive line definitely grinded over the offseason,” he said. “I knew (Hale) would be ready from the get go.” The 6-foot-2, 277-pound Rask added that its the work he and the other linemen have put in every year that instills that confidence. “It goes back to freshman year,” he said. “How many times have I hit that blocking sled, working on perfecting my footwork.” De La Salle coach Justin Alumbaugh called Rask an anchor on the line. “We talked to our line at the beginning of the year that they’re going to have to be real solid,” Alumbaugh said. “We have a 15-year old quarterback coming in. They’ve done a good job of that. He’s the captain on that line. He’s the brightest one we’ve got up there. He’s helping everybody out making sure everybody knows

Story By Damin Esper Photos By Dennis Lee 28

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December 2018

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what they’re doing.” In that opener, the Spartans offense struggled to get going, getting shut out in the first half for the first time since 2013. However, the De La Salle defense, led in part by Rask, was just as tough, shutting out Folsom, a team that averaged over 48 points per game in 2017 when it went 16-0. Rask was right in the middle of a key sequence that turned the game early in the third quarter. Folsom was facing a third-and-13 at its own 17. Rask broke through and sacked quarterback Kaiden Bennett for a 6-yard loss, forcing a punt. Shamar Garrett returned the punt to the Folsom 28, setting up De La Salle for its first touchdown. The Spartans ended up winning 14-0. The season has continued as such. The offense averaged over 40 points and 400 yards per game in the regular season. The defense has held opponents to 4.3 yards per play and shut out three regular-season opponents plus Pittsburg in the opening round of the North Coast Section playoffs. In four games of East Bay Athletic League play, De La Salle allowed an average of 1.3 yards per rushing attempt. Rask has been in the thick of it. He has eight solo tackles, 20 total and three sacks on the season from his position on the interior line. De La Salle completed its first undefeated regular season since 2014. Now, it’s looking for its first state title since 2015. The Spartans are 7-5 in CIF bowl games since they were instituted in 2006. Rask knows all about De La Salle’s history. An an only child, Rask grew up in Brentwood. His name means “Norse Warrior.” “I got it from the book “35,000 Baby Names” and it was the only name my mom and dad could agree on,” he said. Four of his cousins preceded him on the Spartans roster: lineman Kyle Miller (2009-10 teams), linebacker Ryan Miller (2011), lineman Tyler Miller (2013) and receiver Blaine Bumbaca (2016-17). Rask played soccer and baseball as a kid but his love was football. De La Salle football. The high level of competition. The ability to compete for a state title every season. “I wanted to go to De La Salle,” he said. “When I got accepted into the school, we moved from Brentwood to two blocks away.” Rask worked hard as a freshman and made the varsity as a sophomore. He moved into the starting lineup at right tackle as a junior and also was in the defensive line rotation. Said Alumbaugh,“He’s selfless. He cares about others. Those are two great qualities to start with. He’s a team captain voted on by his teammates. “When we need something done, I just text Gunnar. Even little things like a teacher needs a desk moved. He’s a bright kid, he’s going to work hard, he’s going to play hard.” He has embraced the team. He said he really doesn’t have any hobbies or outside interests. “Outside of football, I’m usually focusing on school,” Rask said. “Hanging out with my teammates. They usually hang out at my house because I live so close.” Now, Rask is enjoying his final weeks as a football player at De La Salle. The final team weight-lifting sessions, the final conditioning sessions, the final film room sessions, the final team dinners. Rask is a level-headed guy but it’s still an emotional time. “Just looking back on this stuff, my four years at De La Salle, they went by fast,” he said. Did anything surprise him about being in the Spartans Brotherhood? “I knew what I was getting myself into,” Rask said. “I knew what I was going to be expected to do. I thought it was awesome.” ✪ Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

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December 2018

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Visit Concord Takes Teamwork Approach To Supporting Youth Sports Tournament

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J

ust 29 miles east of San Francisco, overlooking the East Bay is a true Northern California original — Concord. It’s not hard to convince people to attend sports events in Concord. With a mild Mediterranean climate, majestic views from the summit of Mt. Diablo, a family-friendly food and entertainment scene and a genuine sense of community, Concord is a place that offers sports tournament planners a plethora of exciting possibilities. Making A Sports Tournament Planner’s Life Easy With nine hotels and 1,300 comfortable guest rooms, Concord is constantly surprising sports tournament planners with its ability to accommodate events with unique and flexible options. What’s even more surprising is how easy it is to get here. Concord is remarkably accessible with four airports — Oakland International, San Francisco International, San Jose International, and Buchanan Field — and a robust transit system making it easy to get to and from here. Put it all together and Concord is a perfect location for your next sports tournament. Family-Friendly Adventure Abounds At the end of the day, after all the games are done — the adventure is just beginning for families. Concord is packed with family-friendly restaurants, adventures and recreational activities just waiting to be discovered. The players and their families can enjoy a variety of different burger spots, watch a movie at three unique venues, or try fun activities such as laser tag, rock climbing and more. A Team Dedicated To Your Success The team at Visit Concord understands that your success is determined by the experience your players and their families have. As such, they work diligently with you to make sure every aspect of the experience meets your standards. We’re sure that after one event, you will look forward to a return trip. Let us help you plan your next sports tournament in Concord. Learn more at VisitConordCA.com or contact us at info@visitconcordca.com. ✪

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November 15, 2018

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s ’ n i l b Du

L B U O D a e r h t o s n o l A h a j i l E d r a Junior Small Forw he T o T n o r i d i r G m o r Carries Impact F s l e a G d e k n a R h Hardwood For Hig

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s

LE at story by Tony hicks Photos by jean-paul toshiro Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

Boosters Heather Whiting/Dublin

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nso) “I think (elijah Alo hance to has an excellent c etball. play college bask rted He just really sta enth playing in the sev so much grade and there is l in him. untapped potentia ry year He gets better eve me. He’s and adds to his ga a hard worker and mate — a tremendous team two things coaches love.” llo — Coach tom Coste 34

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W

atching Elijah Alonso drive to the rim in basketball isn’t much different than seeing him lower his shoulder and slice through defenses on his way to the end zone as a wide receiver for the Dublin High football team.

But raining 3-pointers like he did Nov. 24 against San Francisco’s Archbishop Riordan at the

2018 NorCal Tip Off Classic at Newark Memorial High School was almost unfair. “That’s what he does,” said Dublin coach Tom Costello. “He’s strong, and he’s really worked on that part of his game. He’s really developed.” The 6-foot-2 junior small forward hit all seven of his first-half shots — including 5-for-5 from 3-point range — in Dublin’s 73-69 victory over the Crusaders. The game’s MVP finished with 24 points in 27 minutes. “During the offseason, you have to keep your shot going,” said Alonso, who also spent that time playing free safety and catching 45 passes, seven for touchdowns, for Dublin’s football team. “I can also rebound and play defense as well.” Both squads have high hopes with the season just getting underway. Going into their matchup, Dublin was ranked No. 4 in Sportstars’ Preseason NorCal rankings and Riordan No. 6. Riordan went 4-10 in the WCAL last season, but 17-12 overall. Dublin returns seven players from its undefeated 2017-18 EBAL season (26-6 overall), that also saw a postseason run with a double-overtime 100-98 loss in the North Coast Division I semifinals to Heritage- Brentwood and then a first-round win in the CIF regionals. The Gaels played Riordan without junior star Robby Beasley, who was held out of the season opener with an ankle injury. Dublin also got a tenacious 15 points from guard Jaden Saunders, 11 from Anthony Roy and 10 from Grant Manning off the bench. Riordan star Je’Lani Clark led Riordan with 31 points, including a three-point play prompting

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a Dublin timeout after being fouled while cutting through the key for a left-handed lay-up. Clark, a firstteam All-West Catholic League selection, finished 11 of 13 from the line. The game started slowly with multiple turnovers on both sides, resulting in Riordan leading 12-10 after the first quarter. Dublin started pulling away during the second, as Alonso cut through the defense for a lay-up, then came back on the next possession to hit a jumper. Riordan’s 6-foot-9 big man Riiny Riiny drained a 3 and hit a runner from the left side of the key on the next possession to close the gap to single digits. That was before Alonso came back with two more catch-and-shoot 3s to give the Gaels a 42-30 halftime lead. “Our fast-pace game is all Coach Costello,” said Alonso. “It’s faster to set up.” After Alonso’s acrobatic, spinning lay-up off the board in the third to give Dublin a 48-35 lead, Riordan went to a full-court press. The move swung momentum as the swarming defense forced Dublin into a couple traveling calls and a sudden cold streak. Riordan chipped away, and Clark’s lay-up and subsequent free throw closed the gap to 66-59 with less than three minutes left. “Yeah, they’re good,” Costello said, of Riordan’s

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Anthony Roy

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second-half comeback that fell just short. “But, overall, I think our defensive effort was pretty good today. It’s good to get that out in November.”

the rest to the football experts. “I think he has an excellent chance to play college basketball. He just really started playing in the seventh

Riordan got within one with 30 seconds left, before

grade and there is so much untapped potential in him.

Saunders drained a pair of free throws, icing the game

He gets better every year and adds to his game. He’s

for the Gaels.

a hard worker and a tremendous teammate — two

Costello said he’s seen “significant growth” in

things coaches love.”

Alonso “as a player and a person from last year to this year.”

Alonso, whose bulk and athleticism suggests he could slide inside and be a nightmare of a matchup

“I’m not sure I can speak intelligently on his football

as a tight end at the next level, knows he may have

prospects,” Costello said. “I know I really like to watch

a choice few athletes get. Right now, he’s leaning

him play and he makes plays and is tough. I’ll leave

toward basketball, though he laughs and admits that

Grant Manning

once his senior football season rolls around, he’ll probably change his mind. The dedication to football in the south makes him think he’d like to play somewhere like Texas. Work ethic clearly matters in his family. Alonso calls two of his six brothers (and stepbrothers) and Costello his biggest influences, as well as his mother, who used to raise money to send him to tournaments by getting to work at home before the sun came up. “She’d get up at 4 or 5 in the morning to make food to sell,” says Alonso, who lives in Pleasanton and whose mom works in development for the city. “I couldn’t thank her enough. My mother is the hardest working woman I know.” He also can’t say enough about Costello, who kept an eye on him as a ninth grader, even before Alonso was one of his varsity players. “Coach Costello would give me rides to school,” says Alonso, who added Costello’s wife, Jen, “was a big factor in me doing well in school. She makes sure I do everything I’m supposed to do.” Alonso knows all that support only increases his chances of perhaps playing both sports in college. “It’s definitely something I think about a lot,” he said. “Everything is happening so fast.” ✪

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movement

MECHANICS How We Move Is Important When Overcoming Injuries

health watch: caron bush

K

nee injuries are the most common injuries we see in our Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes. Our physical therapists will focus on the joints and muscles above and below the knee to get to the root cause of why the injury occurred. Recently, UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland hosted Dr. Christopher Powers, PhD, PT, FACSM, FAPTA, to present on the “Functional Biomechanics of the Lower Quarter: Implications for Movement Dysfunction and Musculoskeletal Injury.” Dr. Powers’ research focused on the sports specific movement patterns that are associated with many foot, knee and ankle injuries. His research reveals that these lower body injuries are a result of poor movement mechanics. Physical therapists are experts in understanding movement and correcting these mechanics. Faulty mechanics of the lower quarter are more likely to occur in girls and wom-

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en due to their bony anatomy and pelvis. Males can also have knee pain, but may not be as susceptible as females. Based on evidence, females use a knee strategy which can lead to overuse of the quadriceps muscles, whereas males tend to use a hip strategy where they use their gluteals and are less likely to have knee pain. What is the difference between a knee strategy and a hip strategy? Knee strategy = Decreased gluteal activation = Increased knee pain/injuries ›› Knees come forward over toes ›› Knees move towards each other ›› Decrease forward trunk lean ›› Hips over ankles Hip strategy = Increased gluteal activation = hip, pelvis, trunk stability with active shock absorption ›› Knees stay behind toes ›› Knees stay aligned over the ankles ›› Forward trunk lean ›› Hips moving back like sitting in a chair CASE SCENARIO: To help understand how a physical therapy rehabilitation program can correct for a patient presenting with a knee injury diagnosis and who demonstrates a knee strategy when squatting. A 15-year-old female soccer athlete with knee pain comes with her family for a new patient evaluation. The physical therapist will meet with the patient and family and take a background history, perform a biomechanical assessment, perform a clinical exam of the joints and muscles and come to a conclusion with the primary biomechanical (movement dysfunction) limitation causing the symptom of pain. From there, the physical therapist will develop a treatment plan. The best way to understand why the athlete got injured is by analyzing their movement patterns, and it is also the best way to prevent the likelihood of getting re-injured. To focus on how a young athlete goes through movement tests, the physical therapist will perform a biomechanical assessment. This means that they will observe how the patient moves and what their preferred patterns are. Some of the observed movements could be walking, double-leg squats, single-leg squats, running, step-down or a jump drop. When observing these movements, the physical therapist is seeing if the patient is using a knee strategy or hip strategy. The clinician will also do a clinical exam of the lower quarter to assess strength and range of motion of the knee, hip and ankle. The clinician may send the patient to have motion analysis completed at our Walnut Creek location. Motion analysis uses force plates, cameras and special software to analyze angles, strength and shock absorption to assist with the assessment of this patient’s biomechanics. Once the biomechanical limitations are found, neuromuscular re-education, strengthening and stretching are used to retrain the body and brain on how to move again. Relearning how to move is difficult, but our physical therapists can help an athlete return with a significantly decreased risk for injury. ✪

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sleepSTARVED nutrition: jill daniels

S

leep is a crucial part of helping an athlete perform his or her best. Getting adequate sleep can lead to improvements in speed, accuracy, energy levels, alertness and mood. It can also help you have faster reaction times. If you’re not getting enough sleep, you increase your chances of experiencing fatigue, poor focus, slower recovery time, increased irritability, and a compromised immune system. Most teenagers need between 8-10 hours of sleep each night, and they typically get about 7. Our eating habits can be affected by sleep. There are two hunger hormones, ghrelin and leptin, that are directly affected. Ghrelin signals your brain that it’s time to eat. If you are sleepdeprived, your body makes more ghrelin. Leptin lets your brain know when you are full. If you are sleep-deprived, leptin levels decrease so that you don’t feel satisfied when you eat your normal amount of food. Overall, lack of adequate sleep signals your brain to eat more than your body actually needs, which can affect how you feel throughout the day and also your ability to reach and maintain a healthy weight. Most people think about preparing for sleep right before they go to bed. However, if you implement strategies all throughout the day, you’ll have a better chance at getting a good night’s rest. ›› Sleep schedule. Wake up at a consistent time, even on weekends. ›› Hydrate. Drink water throughout the day so you don’t wake up thirsty in the middle of the night. Also, know what time in the evening to stop drinking water so that you can avoid numerous nighttime bathroom trips. ›› Fuel your body. Eat multiple meals and snacks throughout the day to keep blood sugar and energy levels in a healthy range. This will also help you avoid overeating late in the day, which can interrupt sleep. ›› Caffeine cut-off. The body takes about 6-8 hours to metabolize caffeine, so if you eat or drink it too close to bedtime, it could postpone your sleep. This includes coffee, energy drinks, tea, soda and chocolate. ›› Journal. Help your mind settle down by writing your thoughts and concerns before you go to sleep. Process the day and make to-do lists for tomorrow. ›› Bedtime routine. Create a relaxing routine to help your body and mind get ready to sleep, including shutting down your screen at least an hour before bed. ›› Environment. Make sure your room is dark, cool, quiet and comfortable. Get new pillows, earplugs, eye mask as needed. ✪ Maximize your athletic performance by seeking personalized advice from Nutrition Coach Jill Daniels, MS, RD, CSSD, Certified Specialist in Sports Dietetics. www.JillDanielsRD.com Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

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kidsCOMBO

training time: tim rudd

I

n the last Issue I spoke about the importance of the long-term development of young athletes and how the microwave mentality with the support of overwhelming research clearly shows the detriment to early sport specialization among our youth. Today I will continue this conversation by sharing the IYCA guidelines and practical tips that you can apply, starting with 8-11 years old. These are not set in stone (developmental age is more important), but they give you a framework. Under 8 years old: For athletes under about 8 (every kid is an athlete at that age), parents should expose them to as many different activities as possible. This is a critical time to “lay down the circuit board” for an athlete and develop a large movement repertoire. Practice is what we call “Fundamental Motor Skills” like hopping, skipping, throwing, catching, climbing, tumbling, balancing, etc. Make up fun games or obstacle courses and get kids to learn what their bodies can do. 8-11 years old: For kids 8-11 (who have decent motor development), it’s time to expand their “physical literacy.” Physical literacy is the new term for “all-around athleticism,” and it’s basically about enhancing those fundamental motor skills by adding speed and complexity while sport-specific skills start to take shape. At this age, athletes should still participate in multiple sports/activities, and overall athleticism should be the focus. Teach athletes how to run, jump, catch, kick, throw, etc. with more power and accuracy, and begin to develop strength and speed by teaching mechanics and body weight exercises. Exercises like push-ups, pull-ups, lunges and jumping should gradually be incorporated into a routine, but not so much that the athlete dreads them. Two to three days a week of 20-60 minutes are more than enough to supplement what is probably not being addressed in gym class or sports practices. Have athletes practice sports skills they show interest in, but encourage work in multiple sports throughout the year. Allow kids to concentrate on a sport while they’re in-season but move on to a different sport to keep things fresh. Allowing kids to play on teams with their friends and coaches they like is very important at this age because it makes sports more fun. Igniting an inner desire to play and improve is important at this age, and fun is an ingredient you can’t use too much of. The most important goal at this age is to make each season or experience enjoyable enough that they want to come back for more. Try not to get sucked into too much seriousness yet – there’s plenty of time for that later. ✪ Tim Rudd is an IYCA specialist in youth conditioning and owner of Fit2TheCore.

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don’tWEIGHT powered by trucks: anthony trucks

W

hen should my athlete/child start lifting weights? That’s a question I get almost weekly from parents who know their kid needs to add strength to get better at their sport, but they don’t know when they should get them to start lifting. The short answer is, “Don’t wait. Get them going as soon as they WANT to.” The key word being “want,” because it has to be fun or they’ll hate it and it will hinder their ability to be great later. The sooner they start strength training the better off they are at increasing their strength and power output. Not to mention the stamina they’ll gain that will go a long way to helping them perform better and, in turn, increase their personal confidence exponentially. So strength training is incredibly important, but the strength training pro athletes do is different from what youth athletes do. Youth athletes can get more than enough resistance from just their own body weight, which is what you should have your athlete begin with as soon as possible. This is where many people are confused because they don’t think it’s enough. Let me tell you. You’re wrong. What you don’t see are all the little changes happening under the skin and in the brain. The coordination and body control being developed. The stability of the joints and mobility that’s increasing. The overall athleticism that’s being built little by little. This is paramount if you want your kid to walk into an actual weight room in a few years and be ahead of every other athlete in there simply because he knows his body and how to put in hard physical work because of the prior years of preparations. Weights don’t have to be metal and clank around. Weight is just a greater resistance on a muscle. Something that your kid’s own body can provide. ✪ Anthony Trucks is an IYCA-certified trainer who covers strength training for SportStars.

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December 2018

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Behind the Clipboard by Clay Kallam

Timely Questions: Approaching Playing Time I just don’t get it. I do better in practice than the starter, and the coach always talks about how important practice is. But then I only get a couple minutes at a time in the game, and just when I start to feel comfortable, the starter comes back in. He’s a good player, sure, but doesn’t practice count? If I play better in practice, but can’t get more minutes, what else am I supposed to do? —D.Y., El Cerrito

feels the starter is the starter. A question framed something

T

of course, some coaches don’t want to talk about these

here’s a lot to talk about here, but let’s start with this fact of life: We all tend to think we’re better than we actually are. I always thought I was as good a reporter as the writers for the New York Times, but I’m pretty sure my self-assessment back in the day might not have been as spot-on as I hoped. So it’s possible that you think you’re clearly doing better in practice than the starter, but really, you might only be even with him, or conceivably not as good. And of course that all depends on what you mean by “good” — and the coach may be using criteria that you haven’t considered. Maybe he’s more concerned with being in the right place than making shots; or more focused on precise execution than pure skill. So, as is almost always the best course of action in these situations, you need to talk to the coach. And don’t start the conversation with “I deserve to play more,” or “I beat him in practice every day so why don’t I get more minutes?” The first question always should be “What do I need to do to get more playing time?,” and the tone should not be aggressive or demanding. It should come across as a legitimate question, with you looking for answers from the coach’s perspective (which after all, is the only one that matters). If the conversation goes reasonably well, you can consider asking the coach why he

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like this might work: “Jason is obviously a good player, which is why he starts. What things that he does should I be doing more of?” The combination of these two questions gives the coach an avenue to answer as honestly as he feels he can — and kinds of things at all, so you may not get any really satisfying answers. But you have to try this first, as that’s how any worker in any situation needs to proceed. Most of the time, though, you’re going to get some answers that will help you figure things out. Maybe you’ll find out that the coach doesn’t feel you know the plays, which means you can work on demonstrating that you do; or maybe he’ll say he likes the way Jason gets to the basket, which again points out what direction you should go in. And as for playing better when you get more time, that’s basically true for everyone, and that’s a big advantage for starters. Coming off the bench is difficult because your margin for error is less, and it is harder to get in the flow of the game. Yes, it’s unfair, but as some annoying adults are fond of mentioning, life isn’t fair — so all you can do is the best you can do, and hope that gets you more time on the court. ✪ Clay Kallam has been an assistant athletic director and has coached numerous sports at a handful of high schools throughout the Bay Area. To submit a question for Behind the Clipboard, email him at claykallam@gmail.com.

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December 2018

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Profile for Caliente! Communications

NorCal Issue 157, December 2018  

NorCal Issue 157, December 2018  

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