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SAC-JOAQUIN EDITION SEPTEMBER 2019 VOL. 10 ISSUE 170


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More Than Football C

ontrary to what some may try to claim, we don’t just write about football here. Well, except for that four-week stretch that ended in the successful launch of our 10th Annual Football Preview Special Edition. However, it’s not hard for us to turn the page to the rest of the fall sports calendar. We have a lot to dig into throughout NorCal these next two to three months. That started this issue with our annual girls volleyball primer. We have cover features on two of the top teams in NorCal, plus a list of 20 teams to watch and more than 35 players to keep your eye on. In addition to football and volleyball, here’s a few other storylines we’ll be checking into across the rest of the fall sporting landscape. WATER POLO: Acalanes-Lafayette has one of the top girls players in the country in Jewel Roemer. She spent time with the U.S. Senior National Team this past July. There should also be plenty of competition for the CIF Northern Regional boys and girls championships this November. Something we missed last year when the tournaments were cancelled due to poor air quality. CROSS COUNTRY: The Sac-Joaquin Section has a pair of defending CIF State Champions in Del Oro-Loomis sophomore Riley Chamberlain (Div. III girls) and Jesuit-Carmichael senior Matt Strangio (Div. I boys).

What can they do for an encore? GIRLS TENNIS: Speaking of encores, the Los Gatos girls tennis team has been exceptionally good at them in recent years. The Wildcats enter the season as the threetime defending Central Coast Section champions, and the two-time defending CIF NorCal champions. However, will Los Gatos be able to maintain its momentum in 2019 after the graduation of its top two singles players: Ashley Yeah (Illinois) and Yana Gurevich (UC Davis)? If not, who is ready to step in and take the Wildcats’ place? GIRLS GOLF: It should be quite a race in the East Bay Athletic League this season. The league has provided each of the last six North Coast Section champions, and five of those have gone to either Dougherty Valley-San Ramon or Carondelet-Concord. Dougherty Valley is the defending NCS and NorCal champion. However, Carondelet returns senior Carissa Wu (pictured above) — the top medalist from the 2018 NorCal Championship. Amador Valley-Pleasanton, also in the EBAL, returns the top NCS medalist in junior Charlotte Ryoo. We’ll be keeping an eye on all of that, plus beginning a new 10-year anniversary project celebrating SportStars turning a decade old. More on that in the next issue. Until then, join us in trying to keep up with another year of NorCal sports. ✪

YOUR TICKET TO CALIFORNIA SPORTS ADMIT ONE; RAIN OR SHINE This Vol. #10, September 2019 Whole No. 170 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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riley chamberlain DEL ORO-LOOMIS - CROSS COUNTRY - SOPHOMORE In her first high school meet since winning a CIF Division III State Championship, Chamberlain looked every bit like a defending state champ. She won the Oakmont Invitational varsity girls race at Maidu Park in Roseville, finishing the 2.5-mile course in 13 minutes, 48.20 seconds. The time was seven seconds faster than her nearest competitor, defending Sac-Joaquin Section Div. II-champion Isabella Fauria of St. Francis-Sacramento. It was St. Francis who dominated the team results as Fauria was joined by teammates Cate Joaquin, Tatiana Cornejo and Haley Silva in the Top 5. Del Oro finished third overall on the strength of Chamberlain and junior Hanna Wirth (8th place).

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Behind the Clipboard by Clay Kallam

Competing In Football’s

SHADOW Our volleyball team is really good, and our football team is really bad — but all anyone at our school talks about is football. Why don’t kids watch us instead? We’re a lot better. And what really bothers me is that girls don’t support other girls. They all go to the football games, and only a few of our friends come to our volleyball games. G.D., Santa Rosa

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here’s a lot to unpack in this answer, but let’s start with a simple historical/anthropological fact: Almost every human society and culture that we know about played some kind of sports, and the players were always young males. Maybe that goes back to groups of nine or ten young men going off to hunt, and being cheered when they brought back dinner for 50, or maybe it’s that young males are more competitive than young females, and we’ve gotten so used to that over the tens of thousands of years of human existence that we just assume that’s how it should be. So first, then, humans are wired, one way or another, to watch young males compete. We are, for whatever reason, not as interested in watching young females do so. And then there’s football itself, the quintessential American sport. It’s obviously violent, somewhat dangerous and a very simple game to watch and enjoy. If the ball is moving in the direction your team is going, that’s a good thing; if it’s going the other way, that’s bad — and that’s pretty much all you need to know to cheer at the right times. Volleyball is a good game as well, but it lacks any element of violence or physical contact, which, like it or not, are both attractive to many people (do action movies sell more tickets than romantic comedies?). But volleyball is fun to watch, full of momentum swings and should be, in my opinion, more popular than it is, for both boys and girls. It isn’t, though, and football rules the roost — though that may be changing. Participation in football nationwide has dropped 6.5 percent since its peak in 2009, while the American population has gone up by 9.8 percent. In fact, fewer boys are playing football now than in 1999, even though the population has gone up 17 percent. From another angle, football ticket sales are down as well, especially in the SacJoaquin Section, with last year’s playoffs generating more than $100,000 less than the 10-year average, a 17 percent drop. Much of that loss of participation can be traced to concerns about concussions and safety, but even at the collegiate level, Northern California attendance figures are way down for Cal and Stanford, compared to a generation ago. That trend doesn’t help you much now, though, as it’s still very likely students will flock to football games and only come to volleyball games in exceptional circumstances. And it’s especially sad that girls don’t support other girls by coming to games, but that’s true of all female sports, really. Women would rather watch young men compete than young women compete, which is just one of those brute facts that can’t really be avoided. So your best bet, unfortunately, is just to keep playing well, keep winning matches and do your best to get more students and adults to come to your games. And if the football team continues to struggle, maybe people will start to realize which fall team is really the one worth watching. ✪ 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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Ivana Erlandsen’s Acrobatic Style Is One Of Many Reasons Rocklin Should Soar In 2019

Story & Photos by Ike Dodson 10

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ong before she climbed over 30,000 feet en route to Kamehameha’s Labor Day Volleyball Classic on Hawaii’s Big Island, 6-foot Rocklin senior Ivana Erlandsen learned to fly for SynergyForce Volleyball Club and the Rocklin Thunder. “During our first game this year, at some point I looked at my assistants and asked ‘so she is getting up even higher now?’” longtime Rocklin coach Dave Muscarella (21st season) said. “When she is in full transition, she just flies.” Erlandsen isn’t even the heralded kill specialist on Rocklin’s 2019 squad, but her aerial performances are works of art. As Rocklin receives the serve or digs up a would-be kill, she creeps away from the net, hiding in the shadows of nearby bleacher seats. Erlandsen reemerges when setter Gracie Adams launches a pass seemingly destined to strike the opposite out-of-bounds antenna. That’s when she takes flight, exploding in a backwards bend as she soars above the net. She seems to almost touch her heels and hands before uncoiling for a thundering kill over the arms of outstretched blockers, into the court of play. “Getting in the air is just my favorite thing about the sport,” Erlandsen explained. “It feels like you are flying, and then when you hit down, it’s a really fulfilling feeling. “It also really elevates the whole team and brings everybody together.” Rocklin seems to celebrate a little extra when Erlandsen delivers one of her high-flying kills. The team is poised for lots of revelry this year, after returning key players from a squad that won a 2018 league title in perhaps the toughest volleyball conference in Northern California, the Sierra Foothill League. Rocklin ended the year at 25-11 after a 3-2 upset loss in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I quarterfinals to eventual section champs, Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills (an SFL rival Rocklin beat twice before the playoffs). The Thunder would go on to beat SJS Div. II runner-up St. Mary’s-Stockton in the state playoffs before falling 3-1 to NorCal’s No. 1 seed, Foothill-Pleasanton. The squad returned five players that played in nearly every set last year, but also lost three key seniors to graduation. Setter Taylor Melchiori plays for Dominican University, while defensive specialist Morgan Spears competes at San Francisco State. Subscribe to our Digital Edition at SportStarsMag.com

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From left, Gracie Adams, Kennedy Crane and Ivana Erlandsen

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Outside hitter Raquel Castro is now a rower for San Diego State. Muscarella’s program also took a hit in the middle when his 6-3 senior blocker ended her season before it started after suffering a concussion. Rocklin accumulated immediate hype heading into 2019 thanks to last year’s finish and some year-round accolades by club players like Erlandsen and 6-1 middle blocker Kennedy Crane. The junior star smashed 422 kills last year in 1,256 attempts, committing 184 errors on hits. Crane is a quiet leader who seems to conceal a lot of excitement after big points. “I just try to move the ball around so I can help my teammates,” Crane said. “We all work together to get the point, so it feels really good when I get it, like my family can count on me.” Crane was the leading hitter in the SFL last year. She also landed 218 service points, a team-best 47 aces, blocked 11 hits, nabbed 183 digs and received 411 serves. She is a year older and bolstered by a big-time rep from a sterling SynergyForce offseason. “Her height helps, but it’s her athleticism that makes her stand out,” Muscarella said. “She moves well, can play both sides of the ball and is a very good offensive player.” Muscarella said Crane is entertaining serious interest from a bevy of schools, but has not made any commitment to a program at the next level. Several players in the lineup have the same aspirations, including Erlandsen, who looks to build upon her 155 kills and 45 blocks from 2018. She beefed up her explosiveness by training in the sand this summer, also adding box jumps to her routine when she wasn’t practicing or playing. She admits that she is proud of her hops. “Ivana is by far the hardest worker we have,” Muscarella said. “She has a high motor, great stamina and unbelievable work ethic and confidence.” The Thunder lineup also returns 6-1 junior middle hitter Allison Mick and 5-8 junior libero Lulu Leppek. Mick had 94 kills, 152 service points and a team-high 60 blocks last season. Leppek led the SFL in digs (443). “In my 21 years of coaching Rocklin, I think I have maybe only seen one other girl that was as good a defensive player as Lulu,” Muscarella said. “She is a phenomenal athlete with great vision who reads the ball well and has lateral movement as good as anyone.” The offense rolls through 5-7 senior Gracie Adams, setter and floor captain. She champions both roles for the Thunder, despite playing in only 35 sets last year. “I think her strengths are her leadership on the floor and her athleticism at the setter position,” Muscarella said. Adams’ voice on the court helped Rocklin rally back from an early 1-0 deficit at St. Francis-Sacramento on Aug. 28, though the host Troubadours and senior killing sensation Alexa Edwards flexed their savvy and speed in a 3-1 win. “I think the loss can make us stronger,” Adams said. “We realize our weaknesses and we know what we have to do. “It’s a good starting point for us and we can definitely improve. I think we can be the unSupport Your Advertisers — Say You Found Them in SportStars!

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Allison Mick

derdogs and give people more than they expect.” The two remaining holes in the lineup are occupied by lanky underclassmen with big aspirations at outside hitter. Alexa Watts, a 5-10 freshman, and Georgia Remmers, a 6-0 sophomore, may have struggled to keep pace with St. Francis, but should thrive in November after a gauntlet of nonleague and conference opponents. “I’m super excited to see what Alexa and Georgia can do,” Muscarella said. “The speed of the game has picked up for them.” Quick lessons will be needed whilst facing the likes of Oak Ridge, Whitney-Rocklin and Folsom (combined record of 62-37 in 2018). Perennial power Granite Bay was last in the SFL last year, but went 10-2 in the conference in 2017 and is just six years removed from a CIF title and a No. 2 national ranking in 2013. Del Oro-Loomis reached the SJS Div. 2 semifinals last year and went 1-1 in the state playoffs, despite going only 3-7 in the SFL. Of course, the SFL is also blessed by Rocklin’s yearly aptitude for success on the court. Muscarella won his 500th match in Hawaii on Aug. 29, then sporting a career mark of 500-214. “I feel very lucky at Rocklin because we have had the support of administration from the beginning,” he said, speaking by phone from the team hotel in Hawaii. “Our campus is one to be proud of and the whole school backs us. “I feel pretty fortunate to be where I am.” He’s also lucky to coach a program that can garner enough donations and parent support to send a squad to The Big Island. “In all my years of coaching, this is the first time I have been able to do something like this,” Muscarella said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime trip for a coach.” The itinerary included a flight from Sacramento to Maui, a “hopper flight” to The Big Island and a two-hour bus ride around the Island to the team hotel and Kamehameha Schools Hawai‘i. Coaches arranged for players to alternate seat buddies and roommates to expand the team relationships. “We want everyone to get an opportunity to be with a different teammate on this trip,” Muscarella explained. “Our intentions are to bring this team closer together.” Sometimes it takes an ocean. The wave crashes back into the SFL Sep. 19. ✪ 14

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NORCAL VOLLEYBALL PLAYERS TO WATCH HITTERS Sofia Aguilera, California-San Ramon, Sr. | Totaled 348 kills, 270 digs for Grizzlies in 2018. Paige Bensing, Homestead-Cupertino, Sr. | Ripped off 425 kills with 216 digs and 68 aces last season. Julia Cabri, Archbishop Mitty-San Jose, Sr. | Athletic middle provided 204 kills, 85 blocks last season; beginning third year on varsity. Abby Castillon, Central Catholic-Modesto, So. | Provided a staggering 583 kills as a freshman a season ago. Kennedy Crane, Rocklin, Sr. | Led Thunder with 426 kills in 2018. Naomie Cremoux, Los Altos, Jr. | Sophomore season included 466 kills, 342 digs and 68 aces. Zippy Dudziak, Berean ChristianWalnut Creek, Sr. | She’s rewriting school record book; had 318 kills, 167 digs and 51 aces last season

EVEN MORE TO WATCH Brya Ashley, Dublin, Jr., OH

Alexa Edwards, St. Francis-Sacramento, Sr. | Amassed more than 500 kills (572) for third straight season; also added 431 digs

Karis Carter, Stagg-Stockton, Sr., MB

Kari Geissberger, Marin CatholicKentfield, Sr. | 6-foot-2, LMU-bound star is among NCS’s most feared hitters

Vivian Light, Pleasant Grove-Elk Grove, Jr., OH/OPP

Emily Casner, Vanden-Fairfield, MB Madison Kremer, University Prep-Redding, Jr., OH Hannah Hoffman, Menlo School-Atherton, So., OH Morgan McClellan, Carlmont-Belmont, Sr., OH

Kirra Kellerman, St. Francis-Mountain View, Jr. | The 6-1 middle is poised for a giant junior year for talented Lancers. Olivia Keller, Beyer-Modesto, Jr. | Delivered 460 kills, 237 digs and 69 aces as a sophomore. Mikela Labno, Hilmar, Jr. | 521 kills, 234 digs, 75 blocks help lead Yellowjackets to state final. Sara McBride, Benicia, Sr. | Returns to Panthers as the reigning DAL-Valley MVP Abby Miller, Notre Dame-Belmont, Jr. | Powered Tigers offensive attack with 342 kills. Sadie Peete, California-San Ramon, Sr. | Paired with Aguilera for dynamite 1-2 punch (437 kills in 2018). Michelle Ohwobete, Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland, Sr. | Dragons’ thunder arm provided 493 kills to go with 260 digs. Elena Radeff, Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton, Sr. | Imposing middle had 201 kills, 78 blocks last season Jazmyn Tubbs, Turlock, Sr. | Bulldogs star surpassed 300 kills and 400 digs in 2018.

SETTERS Jordan Bennett, Pleasant Valley-Chico, Sr. | One of Northern Section’s top setters, she posted 1,087 assists, 296 digs and 84 aces in 2018. Haley Burdo, Cosumnes Oaks-Elk Grove, Sr. | Averaged nearly 10 assists per set en route to 1,112 on the season; added 259 digs, 67 kills and 66 aces. Emma Martin, Hilmar, Sr. | Dropped an astonishing 1,383 assists in 2018 to go with 263 digs. Lauren McGinnis, Christian Brothers-Sacramento, So. | Held her own with 922 assists, 218 digs as a frosh last season. Audrey Pak, Campolindo-Moraga, Sr. | UCLA-bound setter was 2018 Diablo Athletic LeagueFoothill Co-MVP. Ruby Santos, James Logan-Union City, Sr. | Helped lead Colts to state final with 821 assists, 203 digs and 66 kills. Alden Standley, Sacred Heart Cathedral-S.F., Sr. | Was first-team All-WCAL for league champs. Alexandria Hoglund, Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland, Sr. | Dished out 1,033 assists (9.1/set) and 75 aces for state finalists.

DEFENSIVE SPECIALISTS/LIBEROS Peyton Dueck, Aptos, Jr. | Super versatile athlete had 271 kills in addition to 357 digs, 428 serve receives. Julia Gonsalves, Hilmar, Sr. | Piled up an absurd 613 digs for the state finalists. Madison Hall, Pitman-Turlock, Jr. | Ranked among top 30 in the state with 542 digs as a soph. Abigail Viado, James Logan-Union City, Jr. | Unsung star of Colts passing game finished 2018 with 518 digs, 51 assists. Delaney Walsh, Notre Dame-Belmont, Sr. | Back row star had 410 digs, 523 serve receives. ✪

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H

istory has been made with the addition of men’s volleyball to the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Association, thanks to a $1 million grant from First Point Volleyball Foundation and USA Volleyball. The news was announced Sept. 3 by USA Volleyball and the SIAC. The move, which champions diversity and inclusion in the sport, means men’s volleyball begins in the SIAC with the 2020-21 season. SIAC member colleges adding men’s volleyball are Central State University in Wilberforce, Ohio; Benedict College in Columbia, South Carolina; Fort Valley State University in Fort Valley, Georgia; Kentucky State University in Frankfurt; Morehouse College in Atlanta and Paine College in Augusta, Georgia. “We are extremely pleased to receive this generous investment from the First Point Volleyball Foundation and USA Volleyball,” said SIAC Commissioner Gregory Moore in a statement on the conference website. “I am convinced that the impact of this gift will not only be felt on the campuses of those participating SIAC member colleges and universities, but this gift could also serve as a catalyst for increasing African American participation in men’s volleyball throughout the United States.” The addition of the SIAC schools fosters diverse collegiate volleyball opportunities as players from the Northern California Volleyball Association and other regional volleyball associations advance to the next level of their educational pursuits. It comes at a time of great popularity for boys volleyball, the fastest growing team sport in the nation for high school boys, which has seen 22 percent growth over the past five years. NCVA officials are encouraged and proud to see the news, which addresses strategic initiatives for diversity set as priorities by both First Point Volleyball Foundation and USA Volleyball. The SIAC is a Division II conference comprised primarily of historically black colleges and universities that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964. “USA Volleyball is proud to be supporting this SIAC initiative to bring men’s varsity volleyball programs to six HBCU schools,” USA Volleyball CEO Jamie Davis said. “As the national governing body for volleyball, we strive to increase the diversity and inclusion in our sport. I applaud the leadership and vision being shown by Commissioner Moore and all six of the schools’ presidents and athletic directors which will surely increase the participation of African American men playing volleyball and lead to new athletic and academic opportunities for young boys.” The six SIAC schools will receive $150,000 over three years from First Point Volleyball Foundation and USA Volleyball as part of the grant program. First Point Volleyball Foundation is a nonprofit started by UCLA and U.S. Men’s National Team head coach John Speraw. “It has been terrific working with Greg (Moore) and the SIAC Conference,” Speraw said. “We are thankful for the many generous volleyball donors from across the country that have supported First Point Volleyball Foundation and allowed us to provide support to the SIAC and to new college programs to come.”

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NORCAL VOLLEYBALL 20 TEAMS TO WATCH EDITOR’S NOTE: Because several teams will already have completed games prior to our publishing date, this isn’t a traditional Preseason Top 20. These teams are not ranked, but are teams we expect to be ranked over the course of the season. All records are from 2018.

ARCHBISHOP MITTY-SAN JOSE (24-14) OUTLOOK: The Monarchs’ run of state championship titles ended in 2018, but a young nucleus gained plenty of experience — while still reaching the CIF Div. I Northern Regional final. The team’s top three leaders in kills from last season all return, including sophomore Kendra MacDonald (207 kills in 2018). Senior middle Julia Cabri (204 kills, 85 blocks) also returns along with both of the team’s top setters.

BISHOP O’DOWD-OAKLAND (34-7) OUTLOOK: The Dragons are the team that defeated Mitty in the Div. I NorCal final a year ago. Star outside hitter Michelle Ohwobete (493 kills) returns to power an offense that runs smoothly through senior setter Alexandria Hoglund (9.1 assists/set). Senior Annabella Pirotta will be switching to outside hitter to replace the graduated Jasmine Powell (438 kills)

CALIFORNIA-SAN RAMON (29-6) OUTLOOK: The hitting tandem of Sofia Aguilera and Sadie Peete has combined for 1,340 kills and 59 wins over the past two seasons. They gear up for one last run with the Grizzlies aided by junior hitter Genevieve Bane (218 kills in 2018) and sophomore setter Payton Lee (934 assists, 64 aces).

CAMPOLINDO-MORAGA (27-9) OUTLOOK: Coach John Vuong lost just three seniors from a team that finished as the North Coast Section Div. II runner-up to Bishop O’Dowd. UCLA-bound setter Audrey Pak is back to lead an offense that also includes returning first-team all-league hitter Sophia Newman.

CARLMONT-BELMONT (23-14) OUTLOOK: The Scots program is about as consistent as they come. This year’s team will be led by a pair of returning first-team All-PAL (Ocean Division) outside hitters, seniors Morgan McClellan and Alisha Mitha. Junior setter Jules Tan will feed them. Sophomore libero Grace Xu anchors the backline defense.

COSUMNES OAKS-ELK GROVE (27-12) OUTLOOK: Close to 800 kills graduated along with the tandem of Amaria Kelley and Dalia Mays. However, the Wolfpack still have one more year of star setter Haley Burdo. She will be delivering balls to a new senior duo of Ramonni Cook (206 kills in 2018) and Ella Nerli (196 kills).

JAMES LOGAN-UNION CITY (32-8) OUTLOOK: The Colts are the defending NCS Div. I champions after sweeping Foothill-Pleasanton in the 2018 final. Logan has 109 wins over the past three seasons and should remain an East Bay power behind hitter Josephina Tuinauvai and three-year starting setter Ruby Santos.

LOS GATOS (18-16) OUTLOOK: An already strong returning roster gets a big boost with the arrival of 6-foot-1 freshman outside hitter, Hannah Slover. Her impact will complement the efforts of senior hitter, Ella Weider. Junior setter Adrina Tang runs the show.

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MARIN CATHOLIC-KENTFIELD (37-4)

SACRED HEART CATHEDRAL-S.F. (31-7)

OUTLOOK: Loyola Marymount-bound, 6-foot-6 hitter Kari Geissberger returns for her fourth and final varsity season with the Wildcats. Senior Olivia Cooper (6-1) is also an imposing presence at the net. Replacing graduated setter Leah Pease will be key.

OUTLOOK: The first team all-league senior tandem of setter Alden Standley and Megan Lenn

NOTRE DAME-BELMONT (27-13)

SACRED HEART PREP-ATHERTON (13-18)

OUTLOOK: Junior outside hitter Abby Miller has the potential for 400-plus kills in 2019. Fellow junior Kelly Schackel will also be a net presence. The Tigers serve receive game will be strong behind senior libero Delaney Walsh. Sophomore Caitlin Musich takes over at setter.

OUTLOOK: Senior Elena Radeff returns as the Gators’ dominant net presence. The 6-foot-1

OAK RIDGE-EL DORADO HILLS (21-13)

ST. FRANCIS-SACRAMENTO (34-6)

OUTLOOK: Four-year program stalwart Gracie Rowland (351 kills in 2018) has graduated, making way for the hitting tandem of senior Kealini Kuykendall and junior Kylie Kirtland. Regan Hoppe and Claire Kuykendall return after combining for nearly 1,000 assists in 2018.

OUTLOOK: University of Pacific-bound senior Alexa Edwards will look to add to her career kill

PLEASANT GROVE-ELK GROVE (27-8) OUTLOOK: Sisters Vivian and Jade Light are back for the second of what will be three years powering the Eagles attack together. Sophomore Savannah Risley takes over at setter, replacing standout Riley Tishlarich who is now at Humboldt State University.

PLEASANT VALLEY-CHICO (30-7) OUTLOOK: The defending Northern Section champions return all kinds of talent. That includes the hitting tandem of Julia Shepherd and Makenna Joyce. Junior setter Jordan Bennett returns after a dominant 2018 that included 1,087 assists, 296 digs, 77 kills and 84 aces.

ROCKLIN (25-11) OUTLOOK: The Thunder began 2019 ranked No. 1 in a poll of Greater Sacramento-Area coaches. Three of the team’s top four attackers return, including junior Kennedy Crane and senior Ivana Erlandsen. Allison Mick (a 6-1 middle) and standout libero Lulu Leppek both return as well.

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are both back to power the defending West Catholic Athletic League champions. In fact, the 31-win team lost just two seniors to graduation.

hitter had 201 kills and 78 blocks in 2018. Expect more this season. Millie Muir will facilitate the offense after posting more than 700 assists as a freshman setter.

totals that already exceed 1,600 through three varsity seasons. Junior hitter Chloe Henning will complement her on the other side. Both of the Troubadours’ top setters return as well.

ST. FRANCIS-MOUNTAIN VIEW (22-14) OUTLOOK: The Lancers should be squarely in the WCAL title chase with Sacred Heart Cathedral and Mitty. Watch for the hitting tandem of 6-1 junior Kirra Kellerman and senior Taylor Tullo. Junior libero Maggie Curtis will solidify the back row.

ST. MARY’S-STOCKTON (35-7) OUTLOOK: After reeling off 35 wins, the Rams graduated just three seniors. Hitters Emma Miller and Anya Green combined for 749 kills as juniors a year ago. Chloree Baptiste had 102 blocks and Allison Eberhardt posted more than 850 assists.

TURLOCK (14-18) OUTLOOK: Jazmyn Tubbs leads a trio of hitters that are all back in the fold for the Bulldogs this season. Tubbs and Mary Padilla are both seniors while Ava Chiesa is a junior. Plenty of experience and firepower should lead to a much tougher squad in 2019. ✪

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“At the end of the day, they know they cannot afford it, they scratch and claw to get something for their kid. The only way they can do it is by scholarship.” — Stacey Harris, NSR

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hen high school athletes need to seek a scholarship, a daunting number of factors are often in play. Location, climate, compatibility with the coach, cost, career goals, campus size and academics are just a small part of a wish list that can go on forever in finding the right college. And you thought trigonometry and physics were tough! With an internet saturated with profiles and videos of hundreds of thousands of athletes, companies which help guide students and parents through the recruiting jungle can be so valuable. There are a variety of organizations that offer help in that often-difficult process. Costs, approaches, philosophies and styles differ from company to company. Established groups like Next College Student Athlete (NCSA) and National Scouting Report (NSR) have recently been joined by smaller, more localized companies such as Tompkins-Gould College Athletic Consulting out of Fremont and SPEAK Leadership Consulting from Las Vegas. Some offer online platform-building, others focus on connections with schools and/or coaches, some work to grow personal skills or give direction to parents. A number are straight-up consultants and others act like de-facto agents. Like anything with the educational work, work ethic is the key. “A lot of kids are committing to going to schools without doing their research,” said Julian Jenkins, Senior Director of Regional Recruiting for NCSA, which was founded in 2000. “You have to physically get on that college campus. I see kids wanting to go to the Florida Everglades who have never set foot out of Fresno or Richmond.” Sometimes the effort is factored by financial need. “Sometimes that family that doesn’t have the money sees the value in it,” said Stacey Harris, NorCal Area Director for NSR, which began in 1980. “At the end of the day, they know they cannot afford it, they scratch and claw to get something for their kid. The only way they can do it is by scholarship.” Figuring out how to start is a big piece of the puzzle. “You get a reasonable list of target schools, work with them to reach out,” said Rick Gould of Tompkins-Gould College Athletic Consulting, which launched earlier this year. “Bring the numbers down and hold their hand through the process … Part of it is what school the student likes the best. But there is also which coaches like the student the best.”

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The internet is a double-edged sword for college-seekers. It’s easy to create a presence, but it becomes just another in a saturated web sea, because anyone can do that, said Jenkins. He began his career as a prep football star in Georgia, made his way to Stanford and then the NFL with Tampa Bay and Denver. “With all the social media, there are still the same number of spots on a basketball team that there were 20 years (ago),” Jenkins said. “The same number of spots, while tuition is much higher.” That can be a very difficult dart throw. “Every college coach has social media, so they think if they just put their info on Instagram and Twitter, what is the percentage that the coach sees it? Pretty low,” Harris said. And waiting until senior year to start the process makes it even more overwhelming. “I truly believe that this should be started no later than sophomore year, because you still have one year before you get bombarded by colleges and recruiters,” said Bill Teel, co-founder and president of SPEAK, which began two years ago. There are many reasons for late entries. “Yes, you have a group of people, either they didn’t seek information soon enough, or kids are late bloomers, and just now showing the coaches they are making the commitment or have grown into being that athlete who coaches want to recruit,” Jenkins said. Likewise, it can be a trap to close the deal too soon. Gould said committing early on, or even before high school starts, is detrimental to both the athlete and the university.. “Typically, an athlete in 9th or 10th grade doesn’t know what they want in a college,” he said. “It sounds great when they are a freshman. Three or four years later when they are going to college, things have changed.” Teel discovered how lost some parents could be when his daughter was playing with a club soccer team and suddenly it was time to embark on college searches. “We were thinking about what needed to be done to get her into the recruitment world,” Teel said. “We asked others, and the predominant response was, ‘Are we supposed to be doing something?’” That response led to the creation of SPEAK, in which Teel and his associates created virtual profiles for soccer athletes, with a 100 percent success rate in attaining college scholarships, he said. “We helped them focus on schools which would consider them, areas of importance, what region of the country would you like to live in, what is the specific climate, specific program, your educational program, what do you want to get from your college experience?” he said. “If you want to live in the area you went to college, what is the job market like there?” It can be a challenge to get a dedicated athlete to look beyond sports. “I tell the athlete ‘Picture yourself at this school without the sport. … Would you still attend?’” Harris said. “You need to look at it socially, geographically, financially and academically.” The pitfalls of making a wrong college choice are starkly evident. In July, NCSA released an extensive State of Recruiting report, which found that over 45 percent of underclass athletes are not listed on their college roster the following year. NCSA analyzed roster data from 2012-17 of more than 1,400 NCAA and NAIA schools. The study didn’t pinpoint reasons for athletes dropping off a roster. Possibilities are many — becoming homesick, not fitting in academically or socially, not getting along with a coach, seeing the coach who recruited you depart, or an injury. When venturing out into the adult work, people skills are important for the prospect. “For anywhere, for sixth-graders or seniors in HS, it is about developing a student who is ready to attend college.” Gould said. “Some athletes look good on paper, but don’t look you in the eye when they shake your hand. They don’t say ‘Thank you,’ they are mumbling, they don’t manage their time well,” Gould said. “That’s an overlooked aspect.” Jenkins’ own quest began with sending VHS video tapes to over 100 colleges. While technology has changed, the notion of casting a wide net remains a useful approach. “The first time I was stepping on those college campuses, they were like Sewanee in Tennessee, Furman College in South Carolina, then to Clemson and North Carolina,” Jenkins said. “By the time I got to Stanford and Notre Dame, I was ready for the process. Just like a player wouldn’t have gone into a game without having practice, I don’t know how a lot of parents can go into recruiting without doing the practice, doing the reps.” Gould has seen the recruiting process from three perspectives. His father, Dick, had a legendary tennis coaching run at Stanford. Rick was a recruited collegiate swimmer and swam for Stanford. Most recently one of his daughters emerged from the recruiting process. “People don’t naturally know how to do this,” Gould said. “Everyone is pushing so hard on academics, so it’s hard to differentiate yourself. Achieving excellence in a sport is a way to differentiate yourself.” In the end, athletes, parents and coaches will seek out resources they trust. “This is all about getting the info in front of the coaches,” said Harris, who has worked at NSR for 13 years. “If it’s coming from a proven established company, they are going to look at it.” ✪ Follow us on Twitter & Instagram, like us on Facebook!

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September 2019

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H

idden in the bowels of the internet, still undetected by YouTube copyright infringement, is a 2009 home video that opens with a black curtain in the corner of a carpeted bedroom and Chris Brown’s ‘Wall to Wall’ playing in the background. “Introducing the young, the talented, extraordinary Michael Wortham,” a woman’s voice cuts in. “And heeeeere he goes!” She was only prefacing Wortham Jr.’s latest dance video, but Chanel Amin couldn’t have been more prophetic. Though relatively unknown, the senior quarterback is a superstar of Northern California football who shreds Sac-Joaquin Section defenses with unnerving proficiency via his arm and legs — amassing nearly 5,500 yards of offense and 70 touchdowns so far. Two weeks into the 2019 season, Wortham Jr. sports a 67 career completion percentage with 3,788 passing yards and 49 touchdowns. He’s also rushed for 1,635 yards (nine yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns. His talents are a dream for offensive coordinators and a nightmarish challenge for opposing teams, but at 5 feet, 9 inches tall, Wortham Jr. still can’t spot any college offers over the heads of his offensive linemen. “When you are undersized you have to really prove yourself and show all of your skills to get looked at,” Wortham Jr. said on Sept. 2, three days after leading Center High School to a 42-7 win over Liberty Ranch-Galt. “It’s hard for everyone, but when you are short, you have to be great everywhere, and even then a lot of guys get positions switched when they get to college. “I don’t want to do that, but if I have to sacrifice to get where I want to go, I will.” Wortham Jr. said he is motivated by 5-10 Arizona Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray, the first signal caller under 6-feet tall selected in the first round of the NFL draft (No. 1 overall). He’s a long way from Murray, but he does similar damage to an opposing game plan. “He’s a pain in the (butt),” Rio Linda coach Jack Garceau said. “He’s outstanding, truly one of the rare talents in the area. “If he was three or four inches taller, he would be an amazing D-1 prospect. He has big-time talent for sure.” Garceau knows all too well. Though the Knights are reigning CIF Div. 5-A State Bowl Champions, they have lost two straight games to Wortham Jr.’s 26

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Cougars, including a 48-40 thriller on Aug. 23. In three games against Rio Linda, one of the best defensive teams in the region, Wortham Jr. has completed 33-of-49 passes for 479 yards and five touchdowns, while also running for 392 yards and five scores. The senior has played five years behind center, dating back to youth football. He credits his progression at the position to his father, Michael Wortham Sr., and Center coach Digol JBeily. “He throws a great ball, his arm is awesome,” Garceau said. “He can also escape the pocket, but one of the best things he does is show patience. “He is the X-factor for them and if he can stay healthy, they will have a great season.” Wortham Jr. was dogged by injuries in 2018. After a 5-0 start to the season, he left the Bear River-Grass Valley game with an ankle injury and a lead the Cougars lost in a second-half defeat. Center played the next game without him, and were upset by Foothill-Sacramento. The losses hurt Center’s playoff positioning, and the team limped out of the Div. V playoffs with a secondround defeat to eventual section champions, Bear River. Center appears to be a more complete team in 2019. And though the team returns just seven offensive starters, four of them protect Wortham Jr. on the offensive line. The Cougars dominated the line of scrimmage against Rio Linda, opening massive holes for Wortham Jr. and aptly-named bruiser-back Legend Young. Young sprained his ankle late and didn’t play against Liberty Ranch, but he rolled up 155 yards and two touchdowns on 21 carries against Rio Linda. It was a game where the Cougars also held one of NorCal’s top running backs, Cameron Skattebo, to just 206 total yards and only one touchdown. The word “just” seems a little strange, but Skattebo bolted for 3,788 yards from scrimmage last year and is on a personal quest for 3,000 rushing yards in the first 10 games of 2019. “Our guys know it’s a rivalry and they are up for Rio Linda every year,” JBeily said after the win. “We play them tough and we’ve been playing for the last 20-25 years. It’s a good game every year.” It wasn’t always a good rivalry. Rio Linda won 11 straight games from 2001 to 2011. Center has since won five of the last eight. The Knights also earned a ton of notoriety by winning a state bowl game last year. It’s the kind of attention Wortham Jr. feels Center deserves, and he’s

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targeted five teams that Center could both beat and steal attention from. “Placer (Auburn), Rio Linda, Lincoln, Del Oro (Loomis), Antelope … I know it sounds crazy, but those are my top five schools that get a lot of publicity that I feel like we can compete with and beat,” Wortham Jr. said. “I would also like a chance to play Folsom, the best program that anybody has seen around here. “The better competition we face, the better we play.” Tackling a perennial Div. I state power won’t happen under the current playoff format, and Center has plenty of foes in its own division. The most pivotal transformation for Wortham Jr.’s squad will be bottling all that regular-season strength and success and unleashing it with consistency in the postseason. Center has made the playoffs in eight consecutive seasons and seen three SJS semifinals and one SJS championship game in that span, but the program has never won a blue banner. The team fell 24-14 to Galt in the 1988 finals and was beat by Placer 42-32 in 2017. Wortham Jr., then a sophomore, combined for 286 yards of offense and four touchdowns in defeat. He now looks to write a new chapter in the SJS record-books this season. The talent is there for it, despite Center sporting just 23 players on the varsity roster. Latrell Harris, Brandon Fernandes and Cam Denham are serious receiving targets. The three combined for 10 catches and 130 yards against Rio Linda. Young will bully defenders with inside runs and Wortham Jr. anticipates breakout rushing games from a few more speedsters on the roster. 28

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Center has a few stars on defense, like Harris, Fernando, safety Orion Bryant and defensive end Kelvin Jackson II. Wortham Jr. will also play some defense in pivotal situations. When you are all-in on football, there isn’t much you won’t suit up for. “Effort and hard work is what my coaches preach and it’s what I preach to my teammates,” Wortham Jr. said. “You have to show more effort, work harder and show more heart than the opposing team. “Those teams that have made it to state championship games, they put in more effort and hard work, heart than anybody.” It’s the never-ending mantra that makes Wortham Jr. so great at everything he does, and it’s not just football-specific. He said he easily gets As and Bs in his classes, and his dance skills have greatly improved since he emerged from the black curtain with dynamic dance moves back in 2009. He isn’t embarrassed by the video. “I have no shame in my dancing,” He said with a laugh. “That’s the part of me most people don’t know. I learned to dance and do flips watching ‘You Got Served.’” If Wortham Jr. makes it big à la Kyler Murray, he wants a shot at ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars.” “I would need some good training to dance fast like that, but I could do it,” he said. His mom has the perfect introduction already rehearsed. ✪

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friday Night spotlight

Jadyn Marshall

St. Mary’s Marshall Brothers Relish Opportunity To Play Together

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illiam Shakespeare famously wrote, “We came into the world like brother and brother; and now let’s go hand in hand, not one before another.” That sentiment rings true for a pair of standout St. Mary’s-Stockton pass catchers teaming up for the first time. Together, sophomore Jadyn and senior Jamar Marshall have dedicated this year to playing alongside one another. The lightning-quick wideouts train together in football, basketball and track nearly every day, and they have the chance to be a part of something special. “I think our offense has the potential to be absolutely electrifying,” Jadyn said. “With my brother and I, plus Charles (Jones), who’s one of the fastest wide receivers in California, I think that’s going to be dangerous and my role is to make big plays and to be that guy my team needs to make something happen.” Although he’s the younger sibling, Jadyn has bragging rights early in the season. He was senior quarterback Noah May’s favorite target last week in a 42-35 loss to No. 6 Pittsburg on Aug. 23, Jadyn hauled in nine passes for 233 yards — good for third-most in the Sac-Joaquin Section in the opening week — to go along with three total touchdowns. “To be able to have guys that are that athletic and that are special talents makes my job easier because I can trust them to be there for me in any situation,” May said. “Those guys are both really good teammates, so we’re able to work really well together and quickly fix any miscommunications that we have at any time in a game.” Before May and Jadyn formed a connection, it was Jamar who stole the spotlight. The older sibling was dynamic in the Rams offense as a sophomore, accounting for 253 receiving yards, four TD catches and a pair of TDs on kickoff returns. But his love for the game faded in his junior year — and he only suited up for one game before shifting his focus onto his other sports. Last spring, as a junior, he earned the top time in the SJS 110-meter hurdles, and had the fourth-fastest time the section ever recorded (13.97). Jamar also took home gold in the 300-meter hurdles with a section time of 38.55, and beat that mark for a 38.33 at Masters. At the state championships the following week, the brothers finished third and ninth, respectively, in the 300 hurdles as Jamar topped his previous time at 37.28. But the eldest brother saved his best for the 110 hurdles, where he captured a state title in 13.31 seconds. Fast-forward three months and Jamar is back on the gridiron. With Jadyn’s appearance on varsity this fall, Jamar made the decision to come back and the two brothers can team up for the Rams. “It means a lot to be honest — I’ve never played with him, so it means the world for both of us to be on the same team, on the same offense,” Jadyn stated. “He came back because of me.” Rams fans will have their eyes on the duo all season long as they look to help St. Mary’s make another trip to the CIF-SJS Div. I playoffs this year. ✪ — Steven Wilson

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Shoulder Stigma health watch: jamie Faison

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ootball is a collision sport, and unfortunately, shoulder injuries are common. When a football player hurts his shoulder, a number of different structures can be injured. The area and mechanism of injury can change the diagnosis and rehabilitation plan dramatically. Here is a quick summary of some common football shoulder injuries. ›› DISLOCATION: This is an injury to the “ball and socket” of the shoulder joint. With a shoulder dislocation, there is enough force to push the head of the humerus (the ball) out of socket from the glenoid of the scapula. Often times the shoulder will stay out of the socket or be “dislocated” and those structures that stabilize the shoulder joint may be stretched or torn. It is important for this athlete to be examined by a doctor, who will assist in putting the shoulder back in the socket safely. ›› SUBLUXATION: This is similar to a shoulder dislocation. The head of the humerus is shifted in the socket, but the shoulder then spontaneously pops back in. While normally less severe, this may injure the stabilizing structures of the shoulder joint similar to a dislocation. After a dislocation or subluxation, your shoulder may be put in a sling. After the pain has decreased, exercises can be given to improve range of motion and shoulder stability. ›› SEPARATION: This is an injury to the top of the shoulder, and is not an injury to the ball and socket joint. A separated shoulder is a term for a sprain of the joint between the scapula and the clavicle, also known as the AC joint. This will often occur after a fall or impact to the top of the shoulder. The pain is localized to the top of the shoulder, especially with overhead reaching and lifting activities. The treatment for this injury is normally icing, bracing/padding to the shoulder and eventually exercises to return full shoulder mobility. While these injuries may be common, they do not necessarily mean your season is over. With a comprehensive rehabilitation program that focuses on restoring range of motion, improving scapular stability and restoring shoulder strength, football players who suffer a shoulder injury can come back within their season if they are persistent and diligent. If you have any questions about shoulder injuries or rehabilitation strategies, come check us out at ucsfhealth.org. ✪ Jamie Faison is a Physical Therapist Assistant and Athletic Trainer at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital’s Sports Medicine Center for Young Athletes.

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Profile for Caliente! Communications

Sac-Joaquin Issue 170, September 2019  

Sac-Joaquin Issue 170, September 2019  

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