Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Open Enrollment or Open Recruiting

What I have below is the text from a story I wrote in mid-December about the likelihood that open enrollment would continue in the Elk Grove school district. What this means is that parents will continue to send their student/athletes to the schools they feel would be the best for their son's/daughter's athletic career, not necessarily their academic career. The comments which follow the online story,, is telling.

The proposed re-drawing of attendance boundaries for the district’s nine high schools might not mean the end of open enrollment at some of the schools, a source from the Elk Grove Unified School District told the Elk Grove Citizen.

Members from the Board of Trustees have been holding public meetings to gain input on proposals to balance enrollment numbers. The most glaring disparages are on the west of Elk Grove, where Franklin has the second largest attendance numbers of all Sac-Joaquin Section schools.

The latest CBEDS numbers report Franklin has 2,730 students, while just a couple miles to the north, Laguna Creek has only 1,620. That school, according to the source, was built for about 2,600 students. Cosumnes Oaks, EGUSD’s newest school, has 1,470 enrolled in a facility built to handle 2,860.

There’s been open enrollment at all the district’s high schools with the exception of Franklin and Pleasant Grove, the two with largest enrollments.

The source added that the district might still have to offer open enrollment at the other seven EGUSD high schools because all facilities are under capacity.

Parents of student-athletes have taken advantage of the open enrollment policy to move their children into what they perceive as “better” athletic programs which may reward their child’s abilities, whether that’s through a perceived better chance at a college scholarship or play for a better coach.

None of the parents of student-athletes who live outside their child’s high school attendance boundary contacted for this story would talk to the Citizen on the record.

All did admit the success of the athletic program in place at their student-athlete’s current school was a factor in making the decision to enroll the teen at his/her current school, but they also claimed there were many other factors such as student climate at the school closer to home.

A parent at one of the recent public meetings on the proposed new attendance boundaries, John Glaser, said that he started looking for a new house to buy in the East Franklin area to improve his chances of having his child attend Toby Johnson Middle School and Franklin High School.

He mentioned what one realtor told him.

“Oh, you’re the second or third family that came out today wanting to move because of the boundary changes,’” Glaser recalled.

But, one parent contacted by the Citizen differed slightly in that observation.

“If parents want their student to attend one specific high school, they’ll find a way to enroll them there.”

The CIF, which governs high school athletics in California, doesn’t really have rules on where a family resides dictating which school the student attends.

“We really don’t care which school a student attends their freshman year,” Sac-Joaquin Section Director of Communications Will DeBoard said recently. “We do care if they begin changing high schools for athletic reasons after that point.”

Elk Grove has seen its enrollment dip to 1,986, mainly due to the construction of Pleasant Grove and Cosumnes Oaks in recent years. The lower enrollment number has been used as a reason in the recent lack of success in such sports as football and basketball.

But that hasn’t been the case in all sports at the district’s oldest high school.

The Thundering Herd’s softball team won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title last spring and the baseball team was the runner-up.

The wrestling team has either won or was the second-place finisher in the section team dual meet each of the past seven seasons.

– John Hull, Citizen Sports Writer

Monday, October 18, 2010

Greg Cochran and Crissy McMahon

Two people that are special people and meant a lot the past 10 years to Elk Grove football are in need of your prayers.

Crissy McMahon, mom of Sean, Josh and Noah, and a hard-working in both the football and baseball booster clubs, has been battling leukemia for almost three years. We remember how she would holler in her native Samoan language at her boys. She's now at home after a pair of bone marrow transplants failed to work. She is quite ill and really needs your prayers.

Greg was both a vice president and president of the Jr. Herd football program for many years. Recently he's been on the football staff at Bradshaw Christian School. He suffered a stroke last Wednesday and was rushed into emergency surgery earlier this evening (10/18). Pray for his recovery.

Both of these people are folks that you just plain enjoy being around.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Conference Season Opens Friday

The Delta Valley Conference and Delta River League football games open up this Friday night.

I'll be covering Oak Ridge at Sheldon which promises to be a good contest. The Trojans are 5-0 while the Huskies are 2-3, but better than that.

Monterey Trail at Laguna Creek looks to be an intriguing contest in the DVC.

Elk Grove will get beat up by Grant, even though Vi Moala may not play for the Pacers.

Jesuit/Folsom may be a good game to watch, but the Marauders won't stop the Bulldogs' fleet offense.

Pleasant Grove will remain undefeated after Friday's game at Ponderosa.

Friday, October 01, 2010

I'm a Grandpa

My wife and I are just thrilled by the arrival of Seth Warren Osorno, our first grandbaby. He arrived at 8:32 p.m. on Oct. 1 in Mountain View, CA. Our daughter, Sylvia, and her husband, Jack, are the proud parents.

Syl is doing well and is resting. I'm sure Jack is, too. Max and I get to meet Seth Saturday.

Be looking for pictures!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wardlaw Resigns

Laguna Creek's baseball coach Travis Wardlaw has resigned. The reason is pretty simple and really a shame...the guy and his wife are both young teachers, both pretty low on the pay scale and with the recent budget cutbacks in the Elk Grove School District, he's lost about $800 in pay.

So, he's had to take a job in the afterschool program at Jackman Junior High which meant he cannot coach baseball at his alma mater.

Few high school coaches have the passion of Travis. Given the fact that many parents are sending their players to other EGUSD high schools to play baseball though they live in Laguna's attendance district, the Cardinals have been quite competitive. (Read my Notebook in the 10/1 paper).

Laguna Creek will miss Wardlaw.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Who's the Best EGUSD Football Team?

This is shaping up to be a great season for our local high school teams. There really isn't one single great team. Everyone is pretty good, a couple average and maybe one or two lousy.

Pretty Good:
Pleasant Grove - If Joe Cattolico keeps getting his guys to improve, they'll go deep into the playoffs

Monterey Trail - I just think they don't have depth. Too many guys have to play both ways. They probably won't beat Grant and Franklin in the DVC.

Franklin - I was really impressed with their offense vs. Jesuit, scoring on its first six possession. I wonder about the defense, which will make its game with Monterey Trail one worth attending.


Laguna Creek - Delvonte Hunt and Don Jackson are the real deal, but there's too much inconsistency elsewhere

Elk Grove - Where's the consistent offensive execution? They returned to earth vs. Nevada Union, losing 28-0, after a 3-1 start. (Suggestion: Let Moe Lollar make all the offensive calls)

Sheldon: Also, an inconsistent team. I really like Josh Crabtree and his fun personality, but the players need to play a little more seriously.

Cosumnes Oaks - Ryan Gomes has a nice team and may make the D-III playoffs.


Valley - They beat Armijo. They'll beat Johnson and perhaps Kennedy and McClatchy. If they do, they deserve being moved up to "Pretty Good."

Florin - It's already a long season and it's only halfway over.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Respect for the National Anthem

Maybe I should have titled this, "Lack of Respect for the National Anthem."

That's what I witnessed Friday night when covering the Pleasant Grove vs. Laguna Creek football game. During the playing of the Star Spangled Banner, several L.C. students got up and began walking out of the stands and towards the snack bar area.

A teacher from Laguna, who was working in the press box, hollered out the window for the students to stop walking and face the American flag.

They ignored him.

I also noted a group of more students sitting and talking during the National Anthem, as well.

Where was the school security or school administrators?

That question was asked again during the fourth quarter when a fight broke out. A Junior Varsity football coach had to break it up.

When the aforementioned group of students returned to the stands below the press box, the same teacher called one of the girls up to the press box, asking her why she and her friend didn't show our country respect by standing at attention.

The girl was oblivous.

This teacher said he was going to have his classes all recite the Pledge of Allegiance and lecture them on why we stand for the National Anthem at ball games and what it means.

Let's hope someone listens. That was the worse case of disrespect I've seen in a long time.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Cosumnes Oaks/Sheldon Reflection

After a weekend off (Labor Day) to visit my parents in Shreveport, I was back in form Friday night covering the Sheldon/Cosumnes Oaks football game. The Wolfpack was excited because this was its first football game against another Elk Grove team.

Though they lost 28-12 C.O. was in it til the end. They are doing lots of things right.
1.For a D-III school they have lots of players. Their roster outnumbered Sheldon's. I know they also have more players that Elk Grove, the only other EGUSD school I've seen thus far.
2. There was a good crowd! Lots of orange shirts. They outnumbered the Sheldon fans.The wolf howls got old by the second quarter.
3. Good sized band and plenty of talented cheerleaders.

Eventually, C.O. will win lots of games.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

All Rumor - No Fact (or is there?)

I earlier blogged about numerous reports which pointed to several instances of "undue influence" on the part of assistant football coaches at Cosumnes Oaks High School. From what I have been told by credible sources, these coaches have for the past couple years been encouraging parents and players who live in other Elk Grove high schools' attendance areas to enroll at C.O. to play football.

Of course, that's not legal and can get the boys and the school all in big trouble.

On 9/1 during a meeting with the media, Sac-Joaquin Section Commissioner Peter Saco admitted these same reports have filtered into his office. He knows all about it.

The issue is that until someone is willing to step forward and with the Section's attorney present, talk under oath all about how the coach or coaches convinced them to enroll their son's at the school, Saco will do nothing. He can't.

So, if it is at all true, someone needs to be willing to talk to Mr. Saco. If it is just sour grapes or false, then this rumor needs to be laid to rest and forgotten about.

Let's allow Coach Ryan Gomes build his football program and stop poking accusations his direction. Right now, I tend to think it is all false.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Football Season Opens Tonight

I'll be on the scene at Elk Grove High School as the Herd will host Ponderosa to begin the 2010 campaign.

I have read the comments under our stories about the Herd football program on EGCitizen.Com. I cannot believe the attitudes towards Coach Chris Nixon and baseball coach Jeff Carlson.

I wish when I was in high school I had coaches as good as both of these guys. It really comes down to a couple parents who are unforgiving using the online comments on the Citizen website as their pulpit.

Whereas the Internet offers everyone a forum for their opinions, making false, insulting comments anonymously is chicken. Use your real name and use the online forums. Then we'll take your comments seriously.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Injuries On E.G. Football Team

on the eve of the 2010 high school football season comes word from Elk Grove coach Chris Nixon that two key players may not see action Friday night. Stud running back/defensive back Deon Ransom turned his ankle in last Saturday's scrimmage against Del Oro and isn't full speed. During Wednesday's practice senior quarterback Archie Schuster rolled his ankle.

In a text message to me, Nixon said he may hold both out of the non-conference game and go with sophomore Jacob Hinegardner at QB and another soph, Robert Frazier, at RB.

The Thundering Herd debuts their new pistol offense at 7:15 p.m. Friday night.

On another note the new snackbar/bathroom facility won't be completed. You'll find a row of portapotties. No telling how they'll handle the sale of their hotdogs and hamburgers.

Once completed the new facility will be really nice.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Chuck Roast Is In Roseville

A friend in the newspaper industry, Chuck Roast (aka Bill Poindexter), is in Roseville. A great writer and long-time newspaperman has been through a couple years of tough times with the downsizing in the industry. However, he's now back in the saddle as the sports editor of the Roseville Press-Tribune.

You can read his stuff in the Folsom Telegraph and the Auburn Journal, as well. Those papers are all owned by the same company.

Bill will be covering the Sierra Football League this fall which might be the best football conference in the Section - Roseville, Granite Bay, Rocklin, Nevada Union, Woodcreek - all quality teams.

Read Bill's stuff at RosevillPT.Com.

His son, Eddie, was a pitcher on Laguna Creek's baseball team, graduating a couple years back. Younger son, Anthony, will also be a pitcher for the Cardinals one day soon. He's a freshman.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Recruiting at Cosumnes Oaks?

I am watching a report from the local football community which alleges that Cosumnes Oaks' coaches have been actively persuading parents and students to attend their school.

C.O. does have an open enrollment policy, however, it is against CIF rules when a coach places "undue pressure" on a student or his/her parents to attend a school solely for participation in a sport.

I have more specifics which I don't want to write here, however, I will say I recently wrote an article for the Citizen in which I found out that most of our EGUSD high schools had poor participation in football by its incoming freshmen. Our Division I and II schools such as Franklin and Elk Grove, had only 15 or 20 freshmen working out with them this summer, down from around 45. This fall there will not be any freshman-only teams in EGUSD.

When I checked with Wolfpack coach Ryan Gomes he claimed he had 50 freshmen coming out for football, more than EG, Franklin and Laguna Creek combined. And, C.O. is a D-IV school.

This led to me asking questions and finding out lots of interesting things. Gomes, himself, isn't really responsible for the alleged "undue influence" but he may have to answer for it.

Football Season

The fall football season kicks off Aug. 27 locally. I'll be covering Elk Grove vs. Ponderosa at EGHS for the Elk Grove Citizen.

I hope the Herd shows they are still one of the top football programs in the area this season by performing well on the field. With now 10 high schools in the school district the talent is spread amongst all of them and so it is likely the Herd, nor any of the other local high schools will have the dynasty label attached to it like what Grant or Del Oro has.

It's interesting Elk Grove, Sheldon, Pleasant Grove and Monterey Trail are all in the Sacramento Bee's pre-season top 20. I think the Herd and the Eagles will be there at the end of the season, along with Cosumnes Oaks. The other two are good teams, but probably not worth a top 20 listing.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Reynolds' Journalism Institute - Reno

I'm near the end of week one of my post-graduate studies at Nevada-Reno and I am learning a bunch. Hard to put it all into just a few words or sentences, but I can honestly say it's like being back at the Journalism School at Northern Colorado again.

The instructors are great. The help they are lending me in order to be a better media teacher is fantastic.

I've learned some new software to make the job easier and more fun for the students. Plus, I'm getting more information which will hopefully make me a better teacher.

I will say there's been a couple things at home which are turning out much better and thus, I'm able to keep my mind here in Nevada.

First of all, our dog, Rudy, is improving. His disc injury in his spinal cord which has him partially paralyzed has allowed him to rest more, according to Marcia, and he's beginning to move a little more.

Marcia's VBS is moving along well for her, albeit with small numbers. Max's baseball season is now over and he had a good summer.

Sylvia is more and more pregnant, yet feeling good. Joel is working in Redwood City and occasionally playing for the NorCal Longhorns.

I'll be putting a link here in a couple days to some of the work we're doing in class here in Reno. Please check back!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Baseball and Softball Season Over

This was a fun high school season to cover. Here are some comments/questions to contemplate in the future?

1. Will EG's Jake Rodriguez go pro or go to Oregon State Univ.?
2. Will Pleasant Grove baseball eventually get its own Section title to go alongside softball's?
3. Is there another up and coming star softball pitcher once Shelby Wisdom and Ally Carda graduate in 2011?
4. What can Wisdom and Carda do as an encore?
5. The same EGSUD teams that were on top in baseball will repeat in 2011.
6. Jesuit will win the football title this fall. (I know that's the wrong sport but I just thought about this now).
7. I have a feeling J.D. Davis will choose to play football for Elk Grove, but only as a placekicker/punter, to try to avoid injury so that he'll shine again next spring in baseball.
8. The new Delta River League, adding Oak Ridge and Ponderosa and casting aside Florin (to the Metro League) and Monterey Trail (to the Delta Valley Conference) will become the most competitive league in baseball, softball and football (and probably all sports).
9. Jesuit will likely win the basketball title, too , next year even with Sheldon's blue chippers becoming seniors.
10. With Valley moving to the Metro Conference, the Vikings will win a baseball game.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Baseball/Softball Playoff Predictions

Here are my predictions for the upcoming Sac-Joaquin Section Division I baseball and softball playoffs which begin May 22.

Baseball - Elk Grove (darkhorse - Pleasant Grove or Davis) The Herd has been untouchable this season. They've gone through the Delta Valley Conference undefeated for the first time ever... and they have five Section titles in the past eight years. Coach Jeff Carlson may have his best team of the whole lot this season. But, he's going to need all his pitchers after J.D. Davis to come through.

Franklin, Pleasant Grove, Jesuit and Davis will battle it out for north section runner-ups. Anyone of these five teams would beat whomever the south section sends to the championship playoff.

Softball - Pleasant Grove (darkhorses- Elk Grove, Sheldon, Lodi)
Ally Carda should lead the Lady Eagles to its second straight Section title. The only issue will be whether they will defeat Elk Grove who they didn't twice this season. This will be a great tournament that may come down to one error which makes the difference.

Shelby Wisdom will be tough for anyone to hit and should put the Lady Herd into the finals. The young Lady Huskies should go deep, too.

Lodi is the only other team I've heard outside of those three Elk Grove squads that have any chance at upsetting anyone.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

I'm in the Final Five!

While the NCAA is forming its Final Four men's basketball teams, I found out last Wednesday (3/24) that I'm in the Final Five of all the people that auditioned for the public address announcers' job with the Sacramento River Cats.

I wasn't going to make a big thing of it, except with my family, except Joe Davidson, a Sacramento Bee columnist who I see often at high school sporting events I cover for the Citizen, found out and wrote about it. I appreciate his words of support.

This would be a job I would treasure. I love baseball and the Rivercats are a first-class organization. Raley Field is a first-class baseball facility.

But, as you begin growing older you want to enjoy life more. I love the sport, and by doing "my thing" over a PA system, I help others enjoy their Rivercats experience.

My final audition and interview with Rivercat personnel is this Wednesday.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Lefi is State Champion

I just got home from watching the two best high school teams in our area, Franklin and Sheldon, duke it out for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I title. Sheldon, with its superior size and talent, beat Franklin, but then I got a phone call from a young man who I consider a real champion.

He's Lefi Letuligasenoa, a friendly 6-2, 265 pound football player/wrestler at Elk Grove High School. He had just won the California State Wrestling Championship that night in Bakersfield at heavyweight.

Here is a guy who doesn't cop attitudes, act unsocial and growl when things aren't going his way, like I see so many of our young basketball players. He just works hards and performs and then humbly thanks his God, his parents, his coach and his teammates.

As a sportswriter, it's fun to get to know quality young people like Lefi. If anyone Saturday deserved a first place medal, it definitely was him.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


Be reading this Friday's Citizen. I have a few interesting items:
1. Jordan Glass is transferring from Utah State to UC-Davis. He'll play linebacker for the Aggies.
2. Big Charlie Brallier, after three colleges in three years, has decided to hang up his football cleats.
3. Jeff Carlson says Jake Rodriguez is as good a catcher as anyone he's had play for him at Elk Grove, including Dwight Childs, Mike Tonis and David Freitas.
4. Sheldon's John Misplay is optimistic and rightfully so. His Huskies might win the DRL this spring.

Sunday, February 07, 2010

Alternative Media

In my Mass Media and Society class I teach at CRC we discuss the Alternative Media. These are people who want a voice independent of the traditional media sources, such as newspapers, magazines, TV and radio.

I almost accidently ran across a couple news sites which focus exclusively on the City of Elk Grove. One is Elk-Grove.Com and the other is ElkGroveNews.Net.

The first one seems to have some paid advertisers but generates traffic to the site with many community forums. Like we've seen with these kind of online commentaries such as what we get at the Elk Grove Citizen's website, you can read comment after comment on a topic and as the list grows, the original topic is forgotten. The commentators start bickering back and forth.

The other is ElkGroveNews.Net. It is a daily report of crime in our city along with some real inside information on the workings in our city. I am amazed at the thoroughness this blog site is currently covering items such as campaign contributions to our city councilmen, the future (or lack thereof) of the Elk Grove Promenade and the attempt of the city to become a chartered city.

There's good responsible journalism on this site without pulling any punches.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

I'm going to be a Grandpa

My daughter and son-in-law just surprised my wife and I. We're going to be first-time grandparents!

Sylvia is expecting in late September. We're really excited.