Saturday, April 18, 2015

Marks Retires At Franklin, Johnson Remains As Football Coach

Almost lost amongst all the recent stories of local coaching changes, we need to mention that Fred Marks announced his retirement from coaching the wrestling program at Franklin this week. For more than 20 years, Marks has put quality wrestling squads on the mats of both Franklin and Laguna Creek High Schools.

A couple of his recent standouts include heavyweight Peter Anguiano who placed third at State in 2010 and 190-pounder Joey Banks who placed at State in 2014.

Marks will be missed amongst the local wrestling circles.

It was also announced this week that Mike Johnson, who resigned the football coaching job at Franklin after the 2014 season, said he'd stick around for at least one more year after Mark Johnson resigned just 24 hours after taking the Wildcats' job.

Johnson will have the double-duty next school year of coaching the girls' basketball program, too. 

Ken Manfredi was hired two weeks ago as the Wildcats' new boys basketball coach, replacing Jesse Formaker. Manfredi will move over from Monterey Trail High School over the summer.

It's likely former Pleasant Grove football coach Joe Cattolico won't be on the sidelines again this fall. He's involved raising two sons, a first and a third-grader, being a husband and teaching U.S. History at PG.  He resigned the Eagles' position after the 2013 season and has been mentioned in connection with past openings at Cosumnes Oaks and Franklin, but nothing materialized. I am aware of at least two other local coaches who have asked Joe to come on board their staff as an assistant.

I believe he's waiting for the right head coaching position to open.

Cosumnes River College will also be looking for a new men's basketball coach after James Giocomazzi announced his leaving for the same post at Las Positas College in Livermore. Joe Davidson wrote in his column this morning in the Bee that a front-runner to replace Giocomazzi is Nicholas Podesta.

Former Sheldon quarterback Nolan Merker will see plenty of time Saturday in the annual Green and Gold spring football game at Sacramento State. Merker walked on last year and is in a battle with former Rocklin quarterback Daniel Kniffin, a redshirt sophomore, for the starting job in the fall. Bill Patterson writes this morning in the Bee a transfer from Baylor and one from SMU will also
Nolan Merker, left, with current Huskies' quarterback Nathan Berry
compete at quarterback.

Transfers at the collegiate level, particularly in football, are becoming more and more common. Former Whitney standout QB Jake Rodrigues recently transferred from Oregon to San Diego State.

Patterson also mentioned one wide receiver expected to see plenty of time next season is Jabari Johnson, a former Franklin Wildcat.

In Friday's Citizen, I wrote about David Smith, a former EGHS pitcher, now at CRC who has recently signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his college career at Long Beach State.

Don't be surprised if his CRC teammate, Tyler Blake, a first baseman who graduated from Franklin, ends up at Chico State.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

EGUSD Honors 13 In Nat'l LOI Ceremony

The Elk Grove Unified School District honored 13 of its athletes Wednesday in its annual spring National Letter-of-Intent signing ceremony at the Robert Trigg Building.

Two athletes will attend the U.S. Naval Academy: Shot putter and discus thrower Isabella Marini of Elk Grove High School and Jaaron Stallworth, a basketball player from Cosumnes Oaks High School. This is quite an honor because the freshman class of midshipmen at Annapolis numbers only around 1200.
Isabella Marini, with mother Lorissa

Elk Grove football player Spencer Sheff inked a letter to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y. Two other football players, Monterey Trail's Trey Nahhas and Elk Grove's Manny Scott-Anderson, had previously inked NCAA letters-of-intent in February, but joined the others in this ceremony. Nahhas will attend Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo while Scott-Anderson will go to Sacramento State.

Five tracksters signed Wednesday led by Cameron Stone of Sheldon, one of the state's top runners in the 400 meters. Emelda Malm-Annan, an elite shot putter and discus thrower at Monterey Trail, signed a commitment to the University of Wyoming.

Franklin's long jumper, Jorden O'Neil, inked a letter with UC-Riverside while Pleasant Grove's Grace Hepworth will run track next year at Chico State.

The lone baseball player in the signing ceremony was Cosumnes Oaks' Drew Gwerder who will attend Holy Names University.

Golfers Brittany O'Bryant and Kiki Trujillo-Nava, both from Pleasant Grove, signed their letters Wednesday. O'Bryant will attend Chico State while Trujillo-Nava will go to Texas Southern.

One soccer player inked a letter-of-intent. He was Michael Hirsch of Pleasant Grove who will play next year at Chico State.

EGUSD athletes and their parents at Wednesday's LOI ceremony
And, our congratulations to Laguna Creek's Michael Oakland who was one of only 48 Sac-Joaquin Section athletes to earn an A. Dale Lackey/CSEA Scholarship.

Matthew competed for the cross country and track and field teams for four years each. He was the team MVP in cross country twice and in track and field three times. He’s received academic excellence awards for each sport all four years. 
He won the academic achievement award, Susan B. Anthony Award and was a PSAT African-American commended student. He’s a volunteer at Meadows Assisted Living and he’s gone on mission trips with his church. 
Matthew has a 4.67 GPA, which is No. 3 in his class of 424. He will attend the University of Chicago and will major in pre-law with the future goal of becoming a lawyer.

Delta League Baseball on Wednesday:

Elk Grove 10, Monterey Trail 0
Jesuit 3, Franklin 1 (first Delta loss for the Wildcats, who are now tied atop the league with the Marauders and Herd at 4-1)
Grant 6, Davis 4 
Sheldon 6, Pleasant Grove 5 (Matt Manning had a pair of doubles and drove in two runs)

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

McLain Returns But PG Loses To EG In Extras

A problem with the background check of Pleasant Grove head baseball coach Rusty McLain kept the veteran coach out of the Eagles' dugout for two games last week. In his absence PG defeated Jesuit, 3-2, last Wednesday and Elk Grove, 5-4, on Friday.

Elk Grove Unified's athletic director Rod Edmiston wrote Monday in an email McLain is now cleared to coach the Eagles. He didn't specify why McLain was pulled from the dugout last week, some 15 games into the Eagles' season.

"All coaches in the Elk Grove Unified School District need to be cleared to coach," Edmiston wrote. "When it comes to the District's attention that a coach has not been cleared, we take immediate steps to correct the situation."

On the field, the Eagles fought back from a 4-0 deficit Monday and tied the Herd in a rematch of the two clubs at Pleasant Grove High School. The game went ten innings before Elk Grove pulled out a 7-5 win.

Dylan Carlson picked up the win in relief.

Elk Grove is now 3-1 in the Delta League, Pleasant Grove dropped to 2-2.

Franklin sits alone atop the Delta with a 4-0 mark following Monday's 3-2 win over Grant. Jake Lopez picked up the win in relief.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Ten Athletes To Ink NLI Wednesday

Ten athletes from Elk Grove Unified School District high schools will sign National Letters-of –Intent Wednesday in an early morning ceremony at the Trigg Building’s Board Room.

Two of those athletes, football players Manny Scott-Anderson of Elk Grove and Trey Nahhas of Monterey Trail, have already officially signed their letters in February when college programs can first offer letters-of-intent. There was no district signing ceremony for the football players at that time.

Scott-Anderson is committed to Sacramento State while Nahhas is signed with Cal Poly – San Luis Obispo. Joining them at the ceremony is Elk Grove linebacker Spencer Sheff who is committed to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

Four track and field athletes will ink their letters Wednesday. They are Isabella Marini of Elk Grove (U.S. Naval Academy),  Emelda Malm-Annan of Monterey Trail (Wyoming), Grace Hepworth of Pleasant Grove (Chico State) and Cameron Stone of Sheldon (Oregon).

Pleasant Grove golfer Brittany O’Bryant will sign Wednesday with Chico State as will Eagles’ soccer player Michael Hirsch.

Cosumnes Oaks baseball player Drew Gwerder will ink with Holy Names University.

Friday, April 10, 2015

PG Defeats EG Without McLain - UPDATE

It was an exciting Delta League baseball game Friday afternoon at Wackman Field. Pleasant Grove defeated Elk Grove, 5-4, by scoring four runs with two outs in the top of the seventh inning and then holding on for its second league win of the year.

The question, though, was where was Pleasant Grove head coach Rusty McLain?

He wasn't anywhere in sight. The team was coached by former EG standout and current PG assistant Dan Boyle, who said afterwards he couldn't comment on McLain's status.

"I am the interim head coach," Boyle said.

The storyline for Friday was that this game marked the first time since 1999 that McLain coached a game at Elk Grove, the school where he was the baseball coach for four years following the death of longtime coach Gary Dreher.

McLain was hired last fall by Pleasant Grove to replace Rob Rinaldi. He had not been a head high school baseball coach in the 15 years since leaving EGHS.

McLain wasn't coaching the Eagles' 3-2 win on Wednesday over Jesuit, either. It's likely he won't be in the Eagles' dugout Monday when they host Elk Grove.

That's because sources say school district officials have told PG administrators to keep McLain out of the dugout. The reason for this move is still not clear.

Pleasant Grove A.D. Bruce Belden was out of town this weekend. Phone calls and emails to school district officials had not yet been returned as of Sunday evening.

In the meantime, the baseball game between the Eagles and the Herd is still on for a 4 p.m. first pitch for Monday.

On another note, Franklin High School hired a new football coach earlier this week only to have him turn around and quit later that day. Read about this in Friday's Citizen.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

Manfredi Named New Basketball Coach at Franklin

After 11 years at Monterey Trail High School, Ken Manfredi has decided to move on. Earlier today Franklin High School, a Delta League rival, announced they have hired Manfredi as its new boys' basketball coach.

He'll replace Jesse Formaker, a highly-successful coach for the Wildcats, leading them to two Sac-Joaquin Section championship games, who resigned last week.
Ken Manfredi, now Franklin's basketball coach

Manfredi is a former player at UC Davis who made Monterey Trail's team very competitive, but never could seem to get the Mustangs past the first one or two rounds. Though his clubs played hard, he never seemed to get the big, tall basketball player which Franklin always seem to have.

He'll take over a Franklin program that was 10-4 and second place in the Delta League a year ago.

Also, the school announced that former football coach Mike Johnson will take over the girls' basketball program. Johnson had resigned the football coaching job earlier this year.