By Nick Sestanovich
To make up for lost maintenance work at Vacaville Unified School District schools due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, crews performed work on the baseball fields at Hemlock Elementary School and Willis Jepson Middle School this past week.
The work began Tuesday and is scheduled to be completed Friday.
Images of the fields after a tractor had run through them had become widely circulated throughout social media beginning Tuesday with parents expressing outrage that their kids would not have a place to keep their minds at ease and stay active during the shutdown. One common explanation given was that the district was trying to keep kids off the fields while school and sports are not in session
Source: VUSD: Activity on baseball fields was due to maintenance – The Reporter
By Ryan Hill
Vacaville parents and coaches are furious after they say softball fields were destroyed by the Vacaville Unified School District.
“The fields are getting destroyed out here in Vacaville,” Luis Perez, a parent and coach, said.
“We’ve seen that on Tuesday at one of our sessions for workouts and training we had; there was a tractor out on the field coming out and blatantly stated that they were going to destroy the field,” Angelia Sandoval, a parent upset over fields, said.
Source: Vacaville Parents, Coaches Upset After They Say Softball Fields Were Destroyed – CBS Sacramento
By Matt Sieger
Vanden High School has been chomping at the bit to honor its student-athletes who have signed letters of intent to play in college and have received athletic scholarships.
But, like so many other events, a signing ceremony had to be put on hold due to COVID-19. Finally, the school planned to hold the event for its ten student-athletes in the Vanden parking lot on Saturday. But that became unviable because of the number of guests that would have attended.
So the high school, wanting to wait no longer, prepared a video to send out to students, parents and staff on Saturday. You can watch the video at https://youtu.be/n_WHgafSryw.
Source: Vanden High School honors ten student-athletes – The Reporter
By Matt O’Donnell
The fall sports slate at Solano Community College is totally blank. On the other hand, the spring sports schedule could be booked almost every day of the week.
The California Community College Athletic Association announced that all its sports — even the socially-distanced friendly ones — will be played in the calendar year of 2021. The CCCAA features 110 colleges throughout the state and approximately 24,000 athletes.
“To be frank, I am not surprised, in light of the spikes of COVID cases,” said Solano Athletic Director Erik Visser. “Once you saw those spikes, we’d be taking a big chance competing in the fall. I am glad that we now have some clarity.”
Source: All California community colleges, including Solano, move sports to the spring – Times-Herald
By Matt Sieger
Education Week reported that schools in at least 11 states suspended high school sports activities in June after players or coaches tested positive for coronavirus amid a resurgence of cases across the United States.
Games, practices or training and conditioning sessions have been suspended in parts of Alabama, California, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Ohio, and Texas just weeks after schools reopened athletic facilities for students and coaches.
Close to home, on July 5 Dixon High School suspended its athletic activities. The school issued a press release stating, “Based upon recent COVID 19 cases locally and information from the state, we have to suspend workouts for Dixon High School athletics. We expect to hear from the county health office early in the week. We will be in touch as soon as we have county approval.”
Source: Local high school football programs moving forward – The Reporter
By Paul Farmer
Rodriguez High may be the newest high school in the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District as it enters its 20th school year this fall, but there’s been enough time for the Mustangs – their athletes, coaches and fans – to come up with some amazing stories.
And documentaries. Having done stories on what would make interesting documentaries at Armijo and Fairfield high schools the past two weeks, it’s now Rodriguez’s turn.
Source: Rodriguez documentaries: Mustangs stampeded to some great stories
By Paul Fournier
While the Covid-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the spring sports season, Vanden High began fall sports conditioning workouts Monday – with safety of the student-athletes as part of every step of the plan.
“It’s not like before with conditioning where you walk out an hour ahead of time because you’ve done it so many years before,” said Matthew Bidou, Vanden athletic director. “That’s not the case. We didn’t have coaches meetings, we had coaches training, doctors training, Zoom training sessions. We think we did things 100 percent right. I think we can have the safest environment. And the turnout’s been overwhelming.
”According to Vikings coach Sean Murphy, “Out of the 90, 95 kids signed up, we had 87 (show up). Long day, loooong day.”
Source: Vanden football begins summer conditioning – with an abundance of caution
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