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2013 All-Area Volleyball: Cat Co-MVPs Bergamaschi, Friend a dominant duo

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File Photo. Bella Bergamaschi (6) and Shannon Friend are The Union Democrat's 2013 Co-Most Valuable Players.
B
y the end of the 2013 volleyball season, Sonora Wildcat juniors Bella Bergamaschi and Shannon Friend were a well-oiled, setting-spiking machine.

Bergamaschi would set it up and Friend would spike it down.

When the deadly duo would connect, and it was frequent throughout Sonora’s historic season, the outcome usually resulted in a point for the Wildcats.

“Bella’s sets were amazing,” Friend said. “Almost every time it was a perfect set. I was just ready to get a kill and celebrate with the team.”



Ex-MVP Bear Robinson highlights First Team

It’s difficult not just naming the entire Sonora Wildcat volleyball roster as the 2013 Union Democrat All-Area First Team due to the squad’s historic run to a section title and nearly a state championship.

But considering our area collected two league titles, had a league Most Oustanding Player and a league Most Valuable Player, there’s room to be made.

Making the 2013 All-Area Volleyball Team are Sonora Wildcats Bailey Henington, Savannah Lawrence, Leah Dambacher, Angela Gardella, Summerville Bear Breann Robinson and Calaveras Redskin Sam Baseman.


Stead, Wildcats get big win over rival

Sonora basketball head coach Amy Santos watched as Shea Stead stood Wednesday at practice and addressed the team.

“She gave a speech about she only gets to lace up her shoes four or five more times at practice and we need to finish strong,” Santos said. “It was a tough lossTuesday. So she stood up and said some really good things as a senior, and, as a leader. That’s her role and she’s really shining.”



All-Area Football: Speedy Skin Seawell catches, runs way to MVP

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File Photo. Mike Seawell is The Union Democrat's 2013 Most Valuable Player.
There was not one player more consistent on the gridiron in 2013 than Calaveras Redskin senior Mike Seawell.

When the Calaveras football team needed a big play, it usually turned to Seawell, and more often times than not, he delivered.

Against the Sonora Wildcats, who the Redskins have not defeated this decade, Seawell scored on a 4-yard run to break a scoreless game in the second quarter.

With Seawell’s 140 all-purpose yards, including 78 yards rushing, Calaveras pulled off the upset and beat Sonora 13-7 in mid-September.

Not even the 2010 Calaveras team, who finished as the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section Championship runner-ups, knocked off the Wildcats.

“He was a momentum changer,” said Redskins head coach Jason Weatherby, the Mother Lode League’s Coach of the Year. “Our offense sputtered a bit, and he came in, and took it to another level.”

“That kid was pretty darn good against us,” said Sonora head coach Bryan Craig. “You can’t help but like this kid. I loved his style of play. He’s physical. He works hard. He goes out there and plays 110 percent all the time. If Coach Weatherby would have given him to me, I’d take him.”


Top rushers, hard hitters highlight All-Area 1st team

spectacular trio of runners highlights The Union Democrat’s 2013 All-Area Football Team.

Sonora Wildcat fullback K.C. Brandsted, a first-team All Valley Oak League selection, leads a punishing group.

Brandsted rushed for more than 1,000 yards in his first season as the Wildcats featured back.

The bruising 6-foot, 190-pound senior started his season with a bang, gaining over 100 yards in three straight games, including a career-high 179 yards on 23 carries in the opener against Turlock.

“He was explosive at fullback,” said Sonora head coach Bryan Craig. “He played hard. He wasn’t a real big kid, but he ran really hard. He was very explosive in his take off. He would hit that hole very, very quickly.”


Frog Switzer signs with NAIA’s St. Mary

To improve her game, Bret Harte hoopster Kelsey Switzer played with the boys on Sundays in open gym.

And when Switzer stepped on the court, she proved not only was she good enough, but also made the boys notice that she could hold her own against the Bullfrogs best.

“They treat me like any other basketball player,” Switzer said. “I like that they don’t let up.”


Claiming victory: Second-half surge powers Columbia over Merced, 61-46

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Maggie Beck / Union Democrat Columbia’s Mike Williams (above) drives to the hoops for a layup Wednesday against Merced at Oak Pavilion.
If there was any doubt about Columbia College’s traditionally strong defense against Merced after an average first half, that was put to rest in the final 20 minutes.

The Claim Jumpers men’s basketball team shattered a nine-point halftime deficit, limited the Blue Devils to a school-record 12 points in the second period and won 61-46 in commanding fashion on Wednesday at Oak Pavilion.

“We all knew that the first half was a little bit sluggish,” said Columbia forward Tige Wingo. “The second half, everyone made a little pact with themselves to play a little bit harder. A little bit better. It’s never a surprise when the defense works. It’s a great defense and we all buy into it. When you buy into it like we did in the second half, it works.”


Bret Harte beats Argo to clinch MLL title

With a 45-35 road win over Argonaut, the Bret Harte girls’ basketball team clinched the Mother Lode League title.

The Bullfrogs captured their first championship since the 2005 season.

“It feels good,” said Bret Harte second-year head coach Ronnie Davis. “It feels good for multiple reasons. I’m really happy for my girls. This is what they worked so hard for. This is what they wanted and they achieved their goal. To fulfill your goal is really rewarding. It’s rewarding for them. It’s rewarding for the coaching staff. For everybody. To go on the road, and do it, is even that much better. We knew we pretty much sealed the deal by winning tonight.”


Longtime teammates Gomez, Radford play last home game tonight

Former Bret Harte Bullfrogs Jordan Gomez and Danny Radford have been playing basketball together since they were in the ninth grade, but their career as teammates is slowly coming to a close. 

Gomez and Radford, both sophomores, will get one final opportunity to play in front of a home crowd tonight when the Columbia College Claim Jumpers tip-off against Merced College at 7 p.m. at Oak Pavilion.

“It’s awesome,” Radford said. “We’re really good teammates on the floor and off the floor. We’re friends. It’s just really good to have someone like him to play with all the time.”


4-year Cat starter Klatt, caps career as Co-MVP

There was not one player more important to the 2013 Sonora Wildcats boys’ soccer team than goalkeeper Andrew Klatt.

The rangy 6-foot-2-inch Klatt, a two time first-team All-Valley Oak League selection, was often times the smartest athlete on the pitch, and his soccer intelligence was obvious.

“It’s like having a coach on the field,” said Sonora boss Lloyd Longeway. “He really knows the game as far as keeping his fullbacks in great position. Always alert. Knows when to come off the line.”


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