Saturday, October 05, 2013

Saturday Folo-ups

It's a lazy Saturday, sort of.

I've had a great week at school with my digital media/journalism students (Luther Burbank H.S. and Cosumnes River College), but they really exhaust me by the end of the week. I have some future journalists/photographers in those classes.

I celebrated my birthday yesterday (59th) reading lots of Facebook greetings, phone calls and text messages. All my kids are here, along with my granddaughter, Olivia.

I'm going to have to get moving soon and prepare for covering this afternoon's Laguna Creek football game at Jesuit. Looking forward to what could be a high-scoring game. The Marauders look every bit the playoff team I predicted they would be prior to the start of the season. Kick off is at 1 p.m. at Loyola Field. Follow me (@EGCitizenJHull) on Twitter for score updates.

But, now it's time for a few notes on stories I've written in the past.....

CIF Transfer Inquiries

I have it on good authority that officials with the Sac-Joaquin Section are beginning to ask some pointed questions about possible "un-due influence" (or recruiting) tactics used at EGUSD sports programs.

The reason is that transfer paperwork has been funneling into the Section office the past couple months,  but there's been an unusual number of kids switching to at least two schools - and more specifically, two sports programs in the District. That has Pete Saco, SJS commissioner, and his staff looking into it.

There isn't a full-blown "investigation"into recruiting - yet. However, don't be surprised if Saco rules a few student/athletes ineligible for this school year. At this point, it appears as though most of this are parents (and their tournament team coaches) who are banding together to send their students to one school.

More on this later ...



Jack Ploeg

In the spring I wrote for the Citizen a story about an autistic boy at Elk Grove High School, Jack Ploeg. He is one of the most inspirational young men around.

He's a pretty good student, yet a real outstanding runner. He was in the finals of the 800 meters and the 1500 meters at the Section Masters Track and Field Championships in May.

I talked to his mother, Jessie, herself an inspiration because of her work professionally with autistic children.  She says Jack is now doing real well this fall in cross country. He runs upwards of 50 miles a week and last week did quite well at the X-country meet at Stanford University.

"I'm trying really hard to help him reach his goal and my new mission is to understand how to structure workouts for this level of competition," Jessie wrote in a text last night.  "So far it's paying off as he has been faster than the entire Davis team."

Jim Smrekar

Though I haven't talked directly to Jim recently, I have heard from numerous EGUSD sources that the District's athletic director is retiring.

He spent several years coaching basketball at Florin and Valley before moving into his job at the Trigg Building about ten years ago.

Jim always was cordial towards me (read my Q&A story with him in the Citizen) and has a good heart. I know he'll be missed.

The District has posted for his replacement. Because Jim was the man who had the unenviable task of running athletic programs for nine schools on about $1.6 million (which really isn't much) and then listening to all the complaining, etc., it will need to be someone willing to wield a heavy hand to replace him.

Austin Ragsdale

The former Bradshaw Christian High School right-handed pitcher may end up playing for Sacramento State, once the NCAA declares him eligible for Division I play.

Following the story about his troubles with San Jose State and the National Letter-of-Intent  the Citizen received an email from the father of a player in southern California that had almost the same thing happen to his son, also a recruit of San Jose State.


The Spartans had signed Ragsdale to a National Letter-of-Intent but when the school informed the right hander 16 days prior to moving into his dorm in San Jose that he would not be eligible, Ragsdale asked to be released from the letter.

He finally got that release from San Jose State Sept. 20, well after the start of the academic year but placing Ragsdale in a position where he might not be able to play for any college in the spring.

The  Citizen received an email from Bob Hermanson, the father of the second baseman/pitcher from Great Oak High School in Temecula, who had read the story. He said the same thing happened to his son, Andrew, by San Jose State, who also signed him to a letter-of-intent and then dropped the offer.

“When it happened, my son was devastated,” the elder Hermanson wrote. “Luckily, he was able to find a back up plan.”

He did not elaborate, but claimed Andrew was also contacted by Spartan baseball coach Dave Nakama only a couple weeks prior to moving into the dorm, just like Ragsdale.

“My son even tried looking for a (NCAA Division II school) and had a backup in line but wasn't released of his (National Letter of Intent),” Hermanson wrote.
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