Monday, June 03, 2013

The Best of the 2012-2013 School Year

School is out at Elk Grove Unified and with that comes the hot months with kids trying to find things to do and stay out of their parents' hair. Almost every interscholastic sport has a summer program now, so our local athletes won't exactly be looking for too many things to do between now and when school resumes in August.

Thus, we take a moment and remember the top ten accomplishments over the past nine months in local sports:

1. Pleasant Grove Wins the Division I boys' basketball state championship.

Strange, but true, that none of the players, including the big three on the Eagles this year - Colfax Nordquist, Matthew Hayes and Malik Thames - had a D-I offer on the table, but that trio played together as well as anyone.

Sure, it took Delta River League champion Sheldon to get out of the way and be placed into the new CIF Open Division, but the Eagles took advantage of the opportunity and beat Santa Monica at ARCO/Power Balance/Sleep Train Arena in March for the area's first state championship in Division I.

2. Elk Grove Baseball Wins The Section Div. 1 Championship

Yes, they were supposed to.

With nationally-reknowned talent in Dom Nunez and Rowdy Tellez and a great supporting cast of Nick Madrigal, Derek Hill, Dave Smith and Mikey Wright, the Herd went 29-5 and made minchmeat of St. Mary's in the SJS championship round.

If it weren't for losing to Pleasant Grove in the North championship of the Boras Baseball Classic and to Div-VI champion Bradshaw Christian, this would have been a perfect season.

But, hey, in baseball anyone is due to stumble once or twice per season. Coach Jeff Carlson pulled it all together for an amazing run through the post-season. Truly, the championship game came in the final single elimination game against Woodcreek. That was one of the best baseball games you'll ever see.

3. Scott Votino Takes Second at State Wrestling Meet

Let's go to the individual sports and remember a gutsy performance by Votino, a 170-pound wrestler the previous two seasons, who put on 25 pounds and wrestled to the state championship match at 195 pounds.

He's only the sixth wrestler from Elk Grove H.S. to ever make it this far.

A great kid, Votino now will take his wrestling abilities to West Point. The Army can always use a few good men.

4. Franklin Girls Win SJS Soccer Championship

In a city where there's somewhere between 2,000 and 3,000 kids playing the sport virtually year round, it's quite incredible that none of the high school teams had up to this year won a Section championship in soccer.

Franklin finally did so this season. Eliseo Lopez had a group of quality players set aside their club team for a while to play together for their high school. This group of very talented ladies beat Davis in a 4-3 shootout thriller.

5. Sheldon Boys Win Fourth Straight SJS Basketball Championship

Similar to EGHS Baseball, the Huskies were supposed to win this title, again, this year. The dynamic duo of D'Erryl Williams and Dakarai Allen led another solid group of players and both will stay together this winter as they are heading to San Diego State. Ryan Manning is headed to the Air Force Academy.

6. Kyle Larson Make Headlines On NASCAR's Nationwide Circuit

The former Pleasant Grove student is, at age 20, considered one of the most promising drivers coming through NASCAR's ranks. His horrible crash at Daytona continues to be shown on the SPEED channel. Amazing that he walked away from it with only his seat and rollcage in tact.

7. Diondre Batson Wins SEC and NCAA Regionals In The 100 Meter Dash

The former Laguna Creek star has really had a great first year at Alabama. Not only has he won the SEC and NCAA East Regional championships in the 100 meters, but Batson has qualified for this week's NCAA Outdoor Track Championships in Eugene, Ore., in the 200 meter dash and with the Tide's 4x100 meter relay team.

8. Franklin and Elk Grove Football Teams Have Great Seasons

For the first time ever, the Wildcats were undefeated in the regular season, 10-0, and won the Delta Valley Conference gridiron title. They made it to the Section semi-finals before bowing out to the eventual Div. I championship team, Granite Bay.

Elk Grove was 9-1 in the regular season - its only loss to Franklin - then looked impressive in the Division II playoffs before losing big to Folsom in a downpour at Hornet Stadium, site of the Section football championships.

9. Pleasant Grove Softball Wins DRL, Section Runner-up

Behind Celina Matthias, Vanessa Washington and Amber Murray, the Eagles won the DRL softball championships and then handed previously-undefeated Vintage its only loss of the season in the SJS D-I playoffs.

Vintage did get its revenge a couple days later by beating PG twice in the championship round by big margins to prove they had the best softball team this year.

The Eagles almost kept the EGUSD streak alive this spring -- a local school has won  the past eight D-I banners.

10. Nunez, Tellez, Linehan, Adams, Rodriguez Likely MLB Draftees

This event has happened yet - Major League Baseball's First-Year Amateur Draft- yet there could be several locally-based players selected, even one or two during Thursday's first and second round.

Elk Grove's Nunez and Tellez are both likely high-round selectees. Baseball America has placed Tellez, a power-hitting first baseman, as its 59th best prospect in its annual list of the top 500 draft candidates. Nunez is 65th on its list.

A couple former EGUSD high schoolers, Tyler Linehan of Fresno State/Sheldon H.S. and a pitcher, and Jake Rodriguez of Oregon State/Elk Grove H.S. and a catcher, could both be going early.

Josh Adams, Pleasant Grove's pitcher/centerfielder, could also be selected.

Rounds three through 10 will be Friday and rounds 11 through 40 is Saturday.

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