Tuesday, December 31, 2013

End-of-Year Audio Podcast

In the first of what I hope will be a weekly feature, here is my audio podcast for New Year's Eve.

In this edition I talk about:

  1. Delta River League boys' basketball preview
  2. Investigation into Sheldon boys' basketball, including past interview with Section Commissioner Pete Saco
  3. Delta Valley Conference boys' basketball preview
  4. Elk Grove wrestling wins the California Coast Classic in Santa Cruz

Happy New Year to all of you!

Sunday, December 29, 2013

EG Wrestlers Win Cal Coast Classic

The Herd wrestlers competed this weekend at the CaliforniaCoast Classic at Aptos High School in Santa Cruz. After a fifth place finish the previous weekend at the Zinkin Tournament in Clovis, this time they showed they were the big boys on the block.

Elk Grove won the team title by a full fifty points over Ponderosa, 238.5 – 188.5.  Jesuit finished sixth in the team standings. More than 30 high schools were represented at this meet. Clovis finished in seventh place while Buchanan was 11th.

The Herd had ten wrestlers place at the Coast Classic. There were only four weight groups where Elk Grove did not place a wrestler in the top eight.

Freshman Jacob Seto was fourth at 106 pounds. Roger Monroe, another freshman, was third and Ennis, fifth, at 113 pounds. At 120, Jesse Arroyo finished in fourth place.

Tonge placed fifth at 126 pounds. Terrell Turner was fifth at 132 pounds.  Sperber finished sixth at 138 pounds. Kaleb Vetterli was fifth at 145.

Taking fifth place at 152 pounds was Jason Garcia. Jacob Rosales was eighth at 182. Tyler Yates placed fifth at 285 pounds.

Holiday Tournaments Galore

There’s no rest for the local boys’ basketball squads this weekend. Just about every team was playing in a tournament.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Franklin’s Villaflor Makes All-Tourney At Jailbreak Duals

Franklin High School wrestler Josh Villaflor was named the top 132-pound wrestler Dec. 21 at the 16-team Folsom Jailbreak Dual Meet at Folsom High School.

The Wildcat grapplers finished in 12th place, losing its final dual of the two day event, 45-36, to Valley High School.

The host Folsom squad won the team championship, defeating College Park, 45-25 in the final round. Woodland was third, Napa fourth at the meet. 

Thursday, December 26, 2013

EG Wrestlers Fifth At Zinkin

The Zinkin Classic is always one of the best wrestling tournaments in all of California annually. Held generally the weekend prior to Christmas, the Zinkin always hosts Central California schools that typically are hot beds of wrestling.

Several eventual state champions and state contenders grapple in an early preview of who might be the very best wrestlers in all of California.

This year the Clovis schools dominated the meet with a good showing by Clovis and host Buchanan. Elk Grove had its moments, too at the Dec. 20-21 event.

Tristan Scott, the Herd’s 120 pounder, defeated Jansen Englebrecht of Del Oro via a pin in 1:46 to grab the third place medal. Scott is off to a 5-1 start this season in his matches.

Thomas Aguila was fourth at 220 as was Marcus Worthy at 285 pounds.

Eighth place finishes were earned by Chris Ennis at 113 pounds, Kalani Tonge at 126 pounds and Carson Sperber at 138 pounds.

With those performances, Elk Grove finished fifth in the team standings with 105.5 points. Del Oro finished eighth.

The event was  won by Clovis High School by almost a full one hundred points over the host Buchanan squad.

The Herd wrestlers will compete in the California Coast Classic, Dec. 27 and 28 at Aptos High School in Santa Cruz.

Folsom Cries Foul Over Loss To De LaSalle

The 2013 football season may be over yet complaints over the state playoff system continue to brew, especially in Folsom.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

C.Oaks/Franklin Honor Josh Davis

It was a poignant moment Tuesday night when students and fans of Cosumnes Oaks and Franklin High Schools jam-packed in the Wildcat gym stood during in a long moment of silence in remembrance for a deceased friend and classmate.

Cosumnes Oaks’ football player and wrestler Josh Davis passed away tragically three nights prior in a traffic accident on Bruceville Road. He was 17.

With both student bodies wearing white, the schools’ basketball teams lined up for opening announcements, the silence was piercing. A few sobs could be heard. 
A moment of silence remembering Josh Davis prior to
Tuesday's game between Cosumnes Oaks and Franklin

 Cosumnes Oaks principal Patrick McDougal set the scene:

“Tonight is first and foremost about Josh Davis,” McDougal said.  He went to (Franklin) as a freshman, went to Toby Johnson for middle school. There’s only two miles separating our schools and the kids still hang out. I have families who have kids at each school and so to understand what is going on you have to first understand all of our kids co-mingle and they all knew Josh as a friend, a teammate and a classmate. And, he was a kid everyone liked.”

The two teams then took the floor – and as expected – an inspired Wolfpack basketball team broke away early and won the game, 74-59.

Josh Johnson led the athletic Cosumnes Oaks squad with 21 points followed by Alex Van Dyke with 20, 16 of which came in the first half.

“Josh inspired us a lot. He was an big spot in our lives individually. He was the bright light we needed and was the spark in our game,” Van Dyke said. “I’ll remember the most about his smile, his character, his personality.”

Inspired, yes, but now 6-1 in the young season, the Wolfpack also showed they are a very talented team. Just ask Franklin’s head coach Jesse Formaker.

“They dominated us on the offensive rebounds and we turned the ball over way too much,” he said. “Offensive rebounds and turnovers resulted in at least half their points. Against an athletic team like that you cannot give them that many opportunities.”

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cosumnes Oaks' Athlete Dies In Traffic Accident

The Elk Grove sports community was rocked once again Saturday when another local athlete lost his life at a very young age.

Cosumnes Oaks’ football player Josh Davis died from injuries suffered in an automobile accident on Bruceville Rd. He was 17.

Davis, a three-year starter on the defensive line, was a very loved member of the Wolfpack community, according to his football coach, Ryan Gomes.

“He touched many lives, as was evident by the outpouring of love (Saturday) at the hospital,” Gomes wrote in an email. “Josh epitomized the Wolfpack spirit as he was a young man who cared deeply for his teammates, played the game with ferocious passion and intensity, and had a contagious smile and spirit that radiated throughout our campus.”

Besides an outstanding football player, Davis was also one of the school’s top wrestlers.

The football program along with the Cosumnes Oaks Culinary Department put on a fundraising bar-be-cue dinner Thursday to help the Davis family. Donations to the family can be made through the Wolfpack Boosters’ Club.

Davis is the fourth local football player to die in an automobile accident in the last two-and-a-half years.

Darius Powe-Reed and Zan Bell, who both graduated from Pleasant Grove in 2010, were killed in an accident on June 29, 2012, on I-80 near Davis.

Sheldon High School multi-sport athlete Christopher Dickerson lost his life July 14, 2o11, in a car accident on Calvin Rd. 

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wrestling Season Opens At EGHS

It’s a “resume” year for the Elk Grove High School wrestling program.

That’s how head coach Pat Coffing is looking at his 13th year at the helm of Thundering Herd wrestling.   His young Thundering Herd team along with 23 other wrestling squads opened the 2013-2014 season at the Curt Mettler Invitational Meet on Saturday.

 “We have almost no one with post-season wrestling experience,” Coffing said. “Sooner or later if you want to be the man you’ve to beat the man. And, this is the year where sooner or later we’re going to have to do that.” 
Elk Grove 220-pounder Thomas Aquila trying to
turn Yuba City's Wesley McMahon over.

For the first time in recent memory, Coffing has only one returning State qualifying wrestler, Tristan Scott. Beyond the 112-pounder, the rest of the squad may be a bit of a question mark.

Warrant the opening round of the Mettler, a wrestling event spread throughout just about every available inch of space in the Cartwright Gym.

“We wrestled alright but we got out-wrestled,” Coffing said about Elk Grove’s lackluster start to the tournament. Elk Grove lost nine of its 14 opening round matches.

But, the Mettler Tournament with other outstanding wrestling programs such as Del Oro, De LaSalle, James Logan, Merced and Folsom all with their teams competing, Coffing saw his guys wrestle outside of the confines of the storied Elk Grove wrestling room for the first time this season.

At 126 pounds Kelani Tonge has command over
Nick Ortega of Merced
“This is our opener and I saw what we’re good at and what we’re not good at,” he said. “Because in the (wrestling) room it’s like watching your hair grow, eventually against ourselves our tendencies don’t stick out.”

From there his observations got technical, all in wrestling jargon: “We need to create more forward pressure when we’re on top. As usual we need to get ahold of our under-hooks a little bit better. Defensively, our sprawling is good and our overall defense is solid.  Getting away – that’s the hardest thing to teach a high school kid. Either you have the talent for it or you don’t. But, we haven’t been particularly bad in that position.”

In layman terms, he’s saying his guys this season have to show they are going to be a typical Elk Grove wrestling team when they take on wrestlers in different tights. 
Just a week removed from a Section football championship
game, Marcus Worthy is wrestling heavyweight
for Elk Grove

One impressive performance in the daylong event was by 106-pound freshman Jacob Seto. He finished second overall, the best showing by any Herd wrestler on Saturday.

 Seto defeated Monterey Trail’s Israel Washington, one of the Mustangs’ top grapplers last season, in the first round. Washington placed second at last year’s Division I meet. He was third on Saturday.

In the team standings, the Herd placed seventh, much worse than a year ago when Elk Grove won the event. Del Oro was first with Oak Ridge second followed by Merced, Folsom, De LaSalle and James Logan.

Individually, Elk Grove was paced by Roger Monroe (7th -113 pounds), Jesse Arroyo (7th, 120 pounds), Kalani Tonge (7th, 126 pounds), Kaleb Vetterli (7th, 145 pounds), Joe Guimont (5th, 195 pounds), Thomas Aguila (4th, 220 pounds),  Marcus Worthy (4th, 285 pounds) and Tyler Yates (6th, 285 pounds).

Sheldon had one placer at the meet, Ethan Brewer, who was third at 120 pounds.

Pleasant Grove’s Tanner Smith finished seventh at 182 pounds. E.J. Viacrusas of Monterey Trail was fourth at 160 pounds.

Curt Metter Invitational Wrestling Meet
Team Results

1.Del Oro                  153.50
2.Oak Ridge              130.50
3.Merced                   111.50
4.Folsom                   100.50
    De LaSalle            100.50
6.James Logan           92.50
7.Elk Grove               91.00
8.Casa Roble             89.00
9.Chico                      87.00
    Benicia                  87.00
11.Escalon                78.00
12.Bella Vista           74.00
13.Rodriguez            73.50
14.Gregori                67.00

15.Paso Robles         53.50

EGUSD Investigating Sheldon Basketball

Officials with the Elk Grove Unified School District are investigating the Sheldon High School boys’ basketball program for possible CIF rules violations.

In confirming the investigation, EGUSD interim athletic director Todd Reiswig would not say what the nature of those alleged violations is.

“This is our standard protocol when questions arise,” Reiswig wrote in an email to the Citizen. “It’s an ongoing investigation and we can’t comment on details at this time.”

Likewise, Sheldon principal Paula Duncan would not comment on the investigation, but indicated officials are questioning the eligibility of several players who enrolled at the school this academic year, but attended and played basketball elsewhere last season.

“With everything that is happening, I can’t really talk about it until we’re done with our part and the district is done with their part, but we’ve had a lot of transfers this year,” Duncan said.

A roster of this year’s Sheldon varsity basketball team has not been posted on Maxpreps.Com. A request for a team roster was made through head coach Joey Rollings and with Duncan, but a copy of one has not been provided.

Reiswig likewise said he doesn’t have a team roster, “….because the roster is not finalized. The school is awaiting final decisions from the (Sac-Joaquin) Section office.”

All athletic transfers must be approved first by the school, then the school district, but ultimately by officials with the Sac-Joaquin Section. Section officials have refused comment on the Sheldon situation nor the district's investigation.

Both Reiswig and Duncan refused to talk about the eligibility status of specific transfers citing student confidentiality.

In a July 2 story in the Citizen, Huskies’ head coach Joey Rollings talked openly about several players participating in the school’s summer basketball program with intentions of transferring to Sheldon for the current academic year.

Rollings said a pair of incoming seniors, one from Capital Christian and the other from Modesto Christian, was participating in the summer program.  

CIF rules mandate a transfer must sit out the first 30 days of the season, unless the student/athlete’s family makes a valid change of address  into the school’s attendance area. If an athlete switches high schools for a second time, he or she would be ineligible for one year in the varsity sport or sports in which they participate.

The Huskies have already played three games this season, defeating Oakland Tech and losing Wednesday to Modesto Christian, 61-50. The third game was a Section “Foundation” game at Granite Bay and neither wins nor losses are recorded for Foundation games.

Sheldon is scheduled to play Dec. 19-21 at the Tarkanian Classic in Las Vegas.

Like most of the other EGUSD high schools, Sheldon has an open enrollment policy.  

When asked if recent successes by the Huskies’ basketball program – winning the last four Section Division I titles in a row – was the main reason for an influx of transfers Duncan responded: “Let me answer your question with a question; is it natural for baseball players to attend Elk Grove and the football players attend Elk Grove and (Pleasant Grove)? Yes, I think the good programs attract the kids.”

Duncan said she believes the investigation and the determination of eligibility of her school's players will be completed soon.

“In education you have to believe in the process and hopefully through this process we will have accurate information,” she said.