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Ushering in winter with a high school sports Thanksgiving

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hanksgiving is always a reality-check holiday for me. It has a tendency to catch me by surprise. Most likely this occurs because the months that span August and November often go by in a blur of high school football. Thanksgiving though is a landmark holiday when it comes to prep sports, as it basically acts as the official change-of-season date from Fall to Winter sports. Sure, football and girls volleyball roll on for a few more weeks, but by now only a handful of local teams are still competing. After turkey is served, the prep sporting world begins to center around basketball, soccer and wrestling. So as the seasons begin to change, we felt it was natural to take a look back. And we thought we’d do so Thanksgiving-style. Here’s a list of a few schools and what they might find themselves thankful for this month. Alameda: Grace Na’s steady putting stroke — Anytime your school can raise a state championship banner in your school’s gym, it’s an awfully good thing. That’s exactly what Na gave Alameda when she made a birdie on the 18th hole of Red Hill Country Club and claimed the CIF/WSCGA individual state title on Nov. 16. Antioch: The arrival of the Winter sports season — That 44-0 loss to Pittsburg in the Big Little Game football rivalry was pretty much the exclamation point on a tough fall season for Panthers athletics (with the exception of Kelsey Cast’s sterling golf effort against yours truly). However, we expect things to pick up for Antioch when hoops, soccer and wrestling get underway over the next few months. Concord: Ricky Lloyd’s right arm — School pride has to be through the roof right now as the Minutemen football team charges toward championship dreams behind an air attack masterfully maintained by quarterback Lloyd and his receiving corps. Concord’s North Coast Section Division II first-round playoff defeat of Tennyson on Nov. 19 was the program’s first postseason victory in 21 years. The one and only Minutemen team to reach a section championship was led by Dave Barr (of Cal fame) in 1989. That team lost 16-12 to Marin Catholic-Kentfield. Freedom: That Kendall Markham was tired of riding horses — After four to five years of competitive horseback riding, the Freedom senior decided she wanted to play tennis for the Falcons — her first varsity sport. She won 13 doubles matches with Amanda Weaver as the Falcons won their 6

SportStars™

November 25, 2010

FIRST PITCH Chace Bryson Editor

Chace@ SportStarsMag.com (925) 566-8503

first Bay Valley Athletic League championship and became the school’s first girls team (other than softball) to win a league crown. Miramonte: Wacky time limits — This predates the Fall season actually, and takes us back to early June and the conclusion of the 2009-10 Spring sporting season when the Matadors baseball team squared off against El Cerrito in the NCS Division III final. Miramonte couldn’t shake the gritty Gauchos through 10 innings, and the momentum hung in the balance when NCS officials stopped the game because it had reached its 2-1/2 hour time limit. The game resumed two days later and the Matadors won 3-0. We’re not saying the break directly benefited Miramonte — they deserved the crown — but it sure didn’t help a team like El Cerrito which thrived on putting pressure on heavily-favored teams like the Matadors. Northgate: Lights! — Of course, we realize that the credit for the Broncos landmark football season should go to the on-field efforts of senior standouts like Matt Butler and Cameron Stover. However, we can’t help but feel there was a little magic in the long-awaited arrival of permanent lights to Northgate’s football stadium. Sometime teams just need a little extra, and maybe that was it. Pinole Valley: SportStars’ poor football forecasting skills — We touched on this last week, but ever since we picked the Spartans to finish fourth in the Alameda Contra Costa Athletic League, the team has played with a chip on its shoulder. It won the league and was unbeaten over its first 11 games. If this sounds like we’re suddenly taking credit for Pinole Valley’s success, well... San Ramon Valley: That Monte Vista’s Maggie Steffens is graduating — We feel pretty safe in saying that every other East Bay Athletic League water polo program is thankful the heavily-talented Steffens’ run finally ended after lifting the Mustangs to their fifth straight NCS title. But it’s the Wolves who have the freshest Steffens-inflicted wounds after she burned them for five goals in a 13-3 NCS Division I finals victory. In fact, it was the second time in three years that Steffens led Monte Vista past her school’s rival in a championship setting. Happy Thanksgiving, from SportStars’ families to yours. ✪

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Issue 12, 11.25.2010  

An even dozen and the football playoffs are here!

Issue 12, 11.25.2010  

An even dozen and the football playoffs are here!

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