By Matt Sieger
The Vanden High School baseball team was two days away from its 19th Annual Hot Stove Dinner fundraiser for the junior varsity and varsity baseball teams. Ed Serpas and Fred Bass were to be inducted into the inaugural Vanden High Baseball Hall of Fame. The team was expecting to serve as many as 500 guests who would pay $40 a ticket at the Sunrise Event Center in Vacaville on March 14.
That day word came down from state government authorities that no gathering should be held of more than 250 people. Around 350 people had already purchased tickets. But the banquet had to be canceled.
Vanden head varsity baseball coach Ryan Adams, who put the event together, consulted with Vanden Athletic Director Matt Bidou. New plans — ticket holders could drive by the school to pick up their dinners or forego their meal and donate it to first responders at the fire stations of Vacaville and Fairfield and to front-line workers at NorthBay Medical Center and Kaiser Vacaville.
Source: Coronavirus: Vanden fundraiser turns into thank you to front-line workers – The Reporter
By Matt Sieger
Legendary Vacaville High School wrestling coach Larry Nelson passed away on Thursday.
He was such a private person that locals are not sure of his age, estimating that he was in his early 90s.He was also such a private person that those he coached from 1961 to 1994 knew next to nothing about his wrestling accomplishments.
Nelson was a Wisconsin state high school champion who was recruited by legendary coach Cliff Keen to wrestle at the University of Michigan. There he was the Midwest Olympic Trials champion and a Big 10 champ at 123 pounds.
Source: Legendary Vacaville High wrestling coach Larry Nelson passes away – The Reporter
By Paul Farmer
Joia Armstrong and Rayonni Mack are living examples that good things – in this case basketball players – come in all sizes.
Armstrong is a bruising 6-foot-1 post, who had seven double-doubles last season, while Mack is a pesky and proficient 5-3 guard who was named Monticello Empire League after leading the circuit and finishing fourth in the Sac-Joaquin Section at 5.8 steals per game.
Their high school basketball careers ended the same night with Vanden’s a 58-50 loss to Saint Mary’s of Albany in the Northern California Regional quarterfinals, March 5.
Source: Vanden’s Armstrong, Mack moving on to play basketball at next level
By Matt Sieger
April 3, 2020, was not a happy day for California high school athletic directors, coaches, players and fans.
That’s when Ron Nocetti, executive director of the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF), announced the cancellation of spring section, regional and state championship events due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some local athletic directors still held on to a glimmer of hope that sports might resume at the league level, since the CIF announcement only covered postseason play.
Source: It’s official: No sports for Monticello Empire League schools this spring – The Reporter
By Matt Sieger
Vacaville High’s gridiron has borne the name of its legendary football coach Tom Zunino since 2004. After 16 years, the field was due for a makeover and it’s getting a good one, to the tune of $6.7 million.
The stadium project began after the homecoming football game in September and is scheduled for completion by May 18.
That date was set originally to ensure the new field would be ready in time for June graduation. Now, if graduation is set back due to the coronavirus, the grand opening for the updated stadium could come for a delayed graduation ceremony. Or it could be held on any given day unattached to an actual event. Or it could be held at the Bulldog football team’s home opener on September 4.
Source: Vacaville High’s Tom Zunino Stadium upgrade on target – The Reporter
By Matt Sieger
They would gather each day for practice on the Vanden High track after school, scores of young runners, hurdlers, pole vaulters and shot putters, enjoying the sunshine of the mild winter, laughing and enjoying each other’s company.
Now the track lies silent and may stay that way this spring, as California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Wednesday that schools will not reopen until the fall. The Vacaville Unified School District has not yet made an official pronouncement on sports, but track, particularly running, is not a sport one can let lie dormant, even if runners won’t compete again until the fall cross country season.
Source: COVID-19: Loneliness of the long-distance runners – The Reporter
By Matt Sieger
They used words and phrases like “unknowns,” “fluid and scary,” “unforeseeable challenges,” “unchartered territory” and “limbo.”
Sometimes the athletic directors of the local high schools are at a loss for words to describe their reaction and feelings to the suspension of spring sports due to the threat of the coronavirus.
Will C. Wood Athletic Director Andrea Daniels noted, “It’s just the timing. It’s right when we are starting, so you’re in the flow, you’ve had your preseason and a lot of your practice sessions. But they (the student-athletes) all have a good attitude. It is what it is. We have to do what we have to do.”
Source: What are local high schools doing without spring sports? – The Reporter
By Thomas Gase
Before most high school athletic games begin, the Star Spangled Banner is played. Whether or not a Simon and Garfunkel feel — think sounds of silence — will soon follow the National Anthem is still up in the air.
Fans may be absent from some contests in the future due to the coronavirus, which has now infected more than 1,000 people in the United States, killing 36.
The World Health Organization declared the virus a “pandemic” during a news conference in Geneva Wednesday.
Source: Local athletic directors make adjustments due to virus – Times-Herald
For years, the Jesse Bethel High girls tennis program struggled. However, with former player and 2006 graduate Mariella Dela Cruz now as the head coach, the Jaguars are making a lot of racket recently.
Dela Cruz guided the Bethel girls team to the North Coast Section playoffs in 2019 and on Saturday she was recognized for her hard work as she was named the Northern California High School Girls Coach of the Year by the United States Professional Tennis Association. Dela Cruz picked up her award Saturday at a luncheon at Stanford.
In an email shortly after she won the award Dela Cruz said, “I’m both humbled and proud of my teams for striving to be the best they could be.”
Source: Jesse Bethel High’s Mariella Dela Cruz wins state tennis coach award [Times-Herald, Vallejo, Calif.]
By Thomas Gase
After a successful high school career playing basketball at Petaluma High, Ann Talamantes-Ristow was at a crossroads when she got hurt in 1986 with a knee injury during her first season at Santa Rosa Junior College.
“Yeah I’ve been thinking about that period of my life, that fork in the road a little,” Talamantes-Ristow said last week. “When I hurt my knee I thought, that’s it for me and basketball.”
Thankfully for thousands of student athletes in the area, Talamantes-Ristow turned a bad break into a very good one and after contemplating briefly about becoming an athletic trainer, she decided to become a coach. It’s in that field she made a huge impact coaching basketball, badminton, volleyball and softball at Hogan and Jesse Bethel high schools as well as Solano Community College.
Source: Longtime coach Ann Talamantes-Ristow headed to Vallejo Sports Hall of Fame – Times-Herald
By Daily Republic Staff
Rodriguez High announced the inaugural class for the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame, which includes two former NFL players and a former Gatorade California State Softball Player of the Year, during halftime of Thursday’s home boys basketball game with Armijo.
Oh, and one of those inductees was announced as the new football coach.
Stevie Johnson – who had 1,000 receiving yards in three of his six seasons with the Buffalo Bills and also played for the San Francisco 49ers and San Diego Chargers – was introduced as the school’s 11th football coach as well, replacing Stephen Meyers, who was 9-19 in three seasons.
Source: Rodriguez announces inaugural class for Athletic Hall of Fame, new football coach
By Matt O’Donnell
Corbus Field has given Vallejo and Jesse Bethel high school athletes plenty of thrills over the years.
Now the old stadium will receive some much-needed upgrades in the next few years.
The Vallejo Unified School Board approved a contract between the district and the Napa-based Chaudhary and Associates for a site survey of Corbus Field and Casper Oval refurbishment project at last week’s meeting. The contract is worth $16,240 and will be paid through Measure S funds, according to the district.
The district has scheduled construction of phase one, which includes the turf and track, following high school graduations in June. Phase two of the makeover is not expected to happen until 2024 and will be much more involved. That will include demolishing the bleachers on both sides, the press box, bathrooms and locker rooms.
Source: Changes coming for Corbus Field in Vallejo – Times-Herald
By Susan Hiland
Adrian Avalos, 15, of Fairfield was only a little nervous the NorthBay Healthcare Sports Physical might have needles involved.
“I knew it was just a checkup, but I don’t like shots,” he said.
Avalos didn’t get any shots for his sports physical Saturday. The Fairfield High School sophomore did get his heart checked out, his lungs were clear and he had never had a trauma that would interfere with him going out for track this year.
Source: Students get free sports physicals for new season
By Nick Sestanovich
The athlete oath for the Special Olympics is “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.
”That motto was definitely reflected in Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District’s annual Special Olympics soccer event at Fairfield High School’s Schaefer Stadium. The event was less about competition than it was about providing students with special needs a chance to have fun and strive for successful athleticism in a supportive environment, although the competitive aspect was certainly there.
Approximately, 400 students from nine elementary schools in the district turned out to participate in the fifth annual event, which was the first unified sports event held after FSUSD became a part of the Special Olympics Northern California Schools Partnership Program in 2015.
Source: Students get a kick out of soccer at Fairfield Special Olympics event – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
All Dixon Youth Basketball divisions will have a chance to play this season.
The Dixon City Council unanimously voted to approve a resolution allowing Divisions 3 and 4 to play at Dixon Montessori Charter School (DMCS) after the two divisions had been canceled for the year due to lack of gym space.
According to Public Works Director Joe Leach, DYB programs have been offered by the city since 2007, having been previously run by a nonprofit. The program is split into four divisions: Division 1 for first and second-graders, Division 2 for third and fourth-graders, Division 3 for fifth and sixth-graders and Division 4 for seventh and eighth-graders.
Source: Dixon City Council reinstates upper division youth basketball programs – The Reporter
By Nick Sestanovich
Just when it was looking like Dixon youth basketball players would have to go outside the city to participate in recreational action this fall, Dixon Montessori Charter School (DMCS) has stepped in with an agreement to allow playing hoops on its campus.
The City Council provide direction to staff regarding this potential reinstatement at its Tuesday meeting, freeing the way for fifth through eighth-graders to dribble and drive.
For the past 12 years, the city has coordinated the Dixon Youth Basketball (DYB) program to allow Dixon’s youth to participate in a non-competitive recreational sport, according to a staff report by Public Works Director Joe Leach, Recreation Manager Jean Houseman and Recreation Supervisor Austin George. The program is split into four divisions: Division 1 for for first and second-graders, Division 2 for third and fourth-graders, Division 3 for fifth and sixth-graders and Division 4 for seventh and eighth-graders.
Source: Dixon City Council to vote on reinstatement of upper youth basketball program – The Reporter
The Solano College Sports Medicine program teamed up with the Solano County Office of Education to visit Vanden High School this week.
Solano College athletic trainer and sports medicine faculty Bailey Schentrup spent the day teaching students from Miss Smith’s medical science classes hands-on skills such as athletic taping techniques, basic anatomy palpation skills, and stretching techniques.
Students were introduced to several therapeutic exercise fields of study, including the Solano College Sports Medicine/Athletic Training major and its courses.
Source: Schentrup, Sports Medicine Visit Vanden High School – Solano College
By Joel Rosenbaum
Vacaville High baseball stand out Tony Gonsolin got the call he’s been waiting for.
The 2012 graduate will be promoted Wednesday from the Los Angeles Dodgers Triple-A team in Oklahoma City and according to mlbtraderumors.com is scheduled to start against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Chase Field in Phoenix.
Drafted by the Dodgers in 2016 in the ninth round out of St. Mary’s College in Moraga, Gonsolin moved through the farm system earning the promotion to Triple-A this season where he’s earned one win against one loss in 26 innings giving up just 20 hits and striking out 31 and an earned run average of 2.77.
Source: Vaca High grad Tony Gonsolin called up to big leagues by Los Angeles Dodgers – The Reporter
By Daily Republic Staff
It was crowded in Vanden High’s Jim Boyd Gym, Wednesday, and that had nothing to do with the folks in the stands.
Eleven Vikings athletes from six sports took part in a letter of intent or were announced signing ceremony before family, friends and teammates, with two unable to attend.
“We stop, pause and gather as they reach one more milestone in their journey,” said Vanden girls basketball coach Allison Johnson, who served as master of ceremonies. “We’re honored and privileged to be here to celebrate with you.”
Source: High school sports: Vanden student-athletes sign letters of intent
By Richard Freedman
It was a day Spider-Man, Captain America and Wonder Woman gladly surrendered the spotlight Friday to the lesser known super heroes — Special Olympics athletes.
With a weather reprieve between unusual May rains, roughly 100 special needs students ran the 50-yard dash, hurled a javelin and leaped some hurdles in the annual event at Vallejo High School’s Corbus Field.
Seven Vallejo elementary schools, three middle schools, Bethel and Vallejo high schools, Adult Transition School and the Benicia Unified School District participated — all to the delight of Dr. Adam Clark, Vallejo City Unified School District superintendent.
Source: Special Olympics athletes get weather break at Corbus – Times-Herald