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Bent-metal tribute: Roberts remembered before clash of cars

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Teddi Roberts, of Sonora, releases a balloon at the end of the National Anthem on Sunday in tribute to her late husband, Rick Roberts to start the Demolition Derby at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds. Sonora’s Troy Brown crashes his 2U car into Sebatian Maitz, of Vallecito.
The legacy of longtime demolition derby driver Rick Roberts lived on Sunday in the arena at the Mother Lode Fairgrounds.

A special tribute and moment of silence was held for the beloved Sonora resident and homicide victim before the engines were started.

A U2 tribute car, and two others, were built specifically to honor Roberts, who raced under the U2 moniker since the mid-1980s.

“We will miss you and we will derby on,” said arena announcer Bogio Ditler. “U2 will live forever.”

Hines figures out skating success

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Roller figure skater Tanner Hines, 13, of Sonora, practices in the loops event on Thursday at High Country Sports Arena. Hines is headed to the National Championships later this month.
After winning three gold medals at the Southwest Pacific Regional Championships in Fresno in June, roller figure skater Tanner Hines is headed to the country’s biggest stage.

Tanner, a 13-year-old Sonoran, and incoming eighth grader at Gold Rush Charter School, placed first in the Freshman/Sophomore A level men’s figures, loops and the combined event to punch his ticket to the 2014 Roller Skating National Championships on July 20 to Aug. 2 in Lincoln, Neb.

He beat skaters from California, Arizona and Nevada.

“It was pretty cool,” Tanner said. “I was a little nervous, but it was fun competing against all the other people throughout the state. It was exciting.”

S’ville, Sonora work on air attacks

The Sonora Wildcats football team may have thrown more passes Wednesday in a seven-on-seven scrimmage against the Summerville Bears than it probably will during the 2014 season.

Sonora, who deploys a run-first, triple-option offense, let it fly on Wednesday at Dunlavy Field.

Each team was given 12 plays per rotation, and had three tries to convert a first down 15-yards downfield on a shortened 40-yard gridiron. After three plays, if a team failed to gain a fresh set of downs, it had to start over at the 40.

Quick turnaround! Dillashaw to defend title vs. Barao

UFC bantamweight champion and Angels Camp native TJ Dillashaw will defend his world title next month against No. 1 contender Renan Barao at UFC 177: Dillashaw-Barao 2 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.

The Aug. 30 rematch of Dillashaw and Barao will come a little more than three months after the former Bret Harte wrestling standout pummeled Barao and won by technical knockout at UFC 173 in May to claim the world championship. It was the 27-year-old Barao’s first loss in nearly a decade.

“I don’t feel that he really deserved it that much,” Dillashaw said by phone on Wednesday. “I gave him a beating. He should have fought his way back up. I want to prove to everyone that I’m the better fighter and I get to do it in my hometown. That’s awesome. Everyone back home in Angels Camp, Calaveras County and Sacramento can come out.”

Sonora High gym was Bud’s castle

Loyal “Bud” Castle may be remembered best for his coaching success on the basketball court and football field, but it was his ability to influence, teach and mold boys into young men that made a lasting impression on the thousands of students that came his way.

Castle, a longtime Sonora High School basketball, football coach and teacher, passed away Tuesday, July 1 at Avalon Care Center. He was 88.

“He was a father figure to me, in a sense, that he was always there for me,” said Sonora Wildcats athletic director Rick Francis, who was a senior guard on Castle’s Valley Oak League basketball championship team in 1966. “I was right out of college and my father passed away. He took me under his wing and was a great mentor for me, not only as a coach, but teaching.”

Special Olympians compete at Summer Games

Tuolumne County Special Olympics sent eight athletes to the Summer Games at UC Davis in June.

Sinclair Darr, Ashley Dorsett, Nash McVey and Staci Sherbert led Tuolumne County during the three-day event on June 27-29 by bringing home a team-high three medals each. 

“It was a fantastic showing for Tuolumne County,” said area director Dave DeCheney. “They did great. They had a strong showing. They really did. It was a good event for them.”

Jokers Wild Walker rolls blistering 801 series

By Ruth Abreo

For The Union Democrat

This column covers June 17 through June 26.

Even though the temperatures had not yet risen to hot and hotter, Warren Walker of Jokers Wild was burning up the lanes at Black Oak.

Walker bowled a rare 800 series, an 801, his first ever. In his high series for this report, he also rolled the highest men’s score, a 280.

Cat grad Bates enjoyed first year at Puget Sound

Ben Bates didn’t play much as a true freshman at Puget Sound, but his experience on the bench as a role player will serve him well as he enters his sophomore season at the Division III college in Tacoma, Wash.

Bates, a 2013 Sonora High graduate, helped the Puget Sound men’s basketball program to an overall 15-12 record and a 10-6 mark in Northwest Conference play during the 2013-14 season.

The Loggers lost 71-68 in the NWC Tournament finals, and was just one game away from advancing to the Division III NCAA Tournament.

Bates, a key member of the scout team, appeared in 11 games, averaging 1.2 points and one rebound per game in 43 minutes.

The 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward scored a career-high six points in an 80-57 win over St. Mary’s (Minn.) in late November, and finished the season shooting 75 percent from the field on 6 of 8 shooting.

Bates, who is back home on summer break and splitting his time between Sonora and Sacramento, spoke with Union Democrat sports reporter Vongni Yang on Tuesday about his freshman experience at Puget Sound.

Cat grad McLaughlin to seek birdies at Simpson

Courtesy photo. Former Sonora Wildcat Barrett McLaughlin will be playing college golf at Simpson University next season.
Former Sonora Wildcat star Barrett McLaughlin is extending his golf career next season with Simpson University, a private four-year college, in Redding on a partial scholarship.

McLaughlin, 20, played two years at Sierra College in Rocklin under the coaching and direction of PGA Golf Professional Walter Hix III after graduating from Sonora High School in 2012.

As a sophomore this past year, McLaughlin finished second individually in the Big 8 Conference, and also helped the Sierra College men’s golf team earn another second place overall finish in conference play.

“It’s really exciting that I get to go on from a junior college and be able to play at the next level,” McLaughlin said. “Since I was a little kid — basically since I could walk — that’s been the plan. Since I really started playing the game more, I wanted to keep playing in college. I just wanted to see how far I can take it.”

Triumphant tug

John Davis (top, at left), the anchor for the Tuolumne Lumberjacks, celebrates with the crowd while teammate Justin Correa sits up after winning the tug-of-war contest on Sunday.
Photos by Jesse Jones, The Union Democrat

After an approximately 40-minute struggle on Sunday, the Tuolumne Lumberjacks won the tug-of-war contest which wrapped up the 65th annual Tuolumne Lumber Jubilee that began on Thursday

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Mon, 02 Mar 2015 07:22:13 -0800