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Wildcat Grolle medals at State cross country meet

Sonora’s Steven Grolle (1384, left) runs with the lead pack at the half-mile mark on Saturday at the CIF State Cross County Meet in Fresno. Courtesy photo.
Sonora Wildcat Steven Grolle saved his best for last.

Grolle, a senior, ran to an eighth-place finish to earn a medal in Division IV at the 5K CIF State Cross Country Championships on Saturday in Fresno. He was the first runner in the Sac-Joaquin Section to cross the finish line.

Grolle’s time of 15:51 is the third fastest time in Wildcats cross country program history behind only Darren Holman and Jason Hart. He ran 5 seconds faster at Woodward Park this year. 

Cats drub Downey to start season

Scott Liggett scored 14 points, Kahale Warring grabbed 14 rebounds and threw down a thunderous two-handed dunk to lead the Wildcats over Downey Saturday and hand new Sonora head coach Dan Dona his first victory.

“It was definitely fun,” Dona said. “It was fun for me to get my first win in this situation with Rick (Francis) here. Just a fun thing for me and to watch my boys play so well. It’s not really about my first win, but the kids first win under me.”

The season-opening game was held at Columbia College’s Oak Pavilion to honor Sonora’s legendary coach Rick Francis who stepped down at the end of last season after 37 years and 659 victories, the most in Sac-Joaquin Section history.

Dona presented Francis a plaque made of hardwood from Sonora High’s Bud Castle Gym.

And then the ole’ ball coach, who’s still Sonora’s athletic director and an assistant for the rejuvenated Claim Jumpers, watched the Wildcats throttle Downey 53-23.

Final 4 in State!: Sonora in NorCal title game

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Sonora’s Shannon Friend wraps her arms around teammates (from left) Maria Chacon, Bella Bergamaschi and Savannah Lawrence in celebration Saturday at Bud Castle Gym.
The Sonora Wildcats are in the Final Four.

There are over 250 Division IV volleyball teams in California and the Wildcats are two wins away from being the best. 

They are just one win away from being the second to none in northern California.

No. 2 seed Sonora reached the NorCal Finals of the 2013 CIF State Girls Volleyball Championships on Saturday night by defeating the No. 3 Soquel Knights in four games 22-25, 25-22, 25-20, 25-19 in front of a loud, raucous crowd, fueled by the Golden Regiment marching band, at Bud Castle Gym.

“It’s amazing to make Sonora High volleyball history,” said Wildcat Shannon Friend. “Winning that blue banner (Sac-Joaquin Section title), we wanna take this all the way. I am so happy with everyone that came. The band … ahhhh! I’m just happy.”

Bear girls rip Waterford in opener

The Summerville Bears varsity girls’ basketball team tipped off their 2013-14 season in fine style.

Summerville routed Waterford 48-26 on Saturday in Waterford.

The Bears clawed out to a 29-8 lead at the break and allowed only 2 points in the first quarter, and 6 in the second.

It was much of the same in the second half.

“We pretty much jumped out ahead and ended up backing off a little bit in the second half,” Summerville coach Dave Woods said. “We played everybody in the second half, which was nice.” 

Wildcats win, advance to NorCal Final

The No. 2 Sonora Wildcats advanced to the NorCal Finals of the 2013 CIF State Girls Division IV Volleyball Championships on Saturday by defeating the No. 3 Soquel Knights 3-1 (22-25, 25-20, 25-19, 25-22) at Bud Castle Gym. Sonora will play top seed Menlo on Tuesday at 7 p.m. in Atherton. 

Francis to be honored at Wildcat opener

The Sonora Wildcats boys’ basketball team will kick off their last season in the Valley Oak League at Columbia College’s Oak Pavilion Saturday, and will honor former legendary head basketball coach Rick Francis.

The Wildcats freshmen, junior varsity and varsity squads will play Downey, of Modesto, at 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m. 

A special retirement ceremony for Francis, who lead the Sonora Wildcats as head coach for the past 37 years and served for 42 years in the program, will be held before tip-off of the varsity game.

Columbia head coach Rob Hoyt and first-year Sonora head coach Dan Dona, both Wildcat graduates and former Francis players, got together to commemorate Francis’ legacy.

“We thought it would be a really cool event,” Dona said. “We thought it could be a lot of fun. Overall, a really enjoyable moment for Rob and myself to honor Rick for all the years he has put in for so many people. We want to send off Coach the right way, giving him his due for his hard work.”

Land’s 1st paces Gold runners at Folsom

Nine Foothill Gold Running and Track Club members advanced to the Regional 14 Championships which will be held Sunday at Woodward Park in Fresno.

Cassi Land, in the 13-14 age group, raced to a first-place finish at 13:45 in the 4K course at the Pacific Association Championships on Sunday in Folsom to advance.


Redskins fall short vs. Indians


For The Union Democrat

RIPON — For many of the Calaveras Redskins seniors that stood in the end zone after their 58-21 defeat to the Ripon Indians in the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Championships, the realization that their football careers came to an end was an emotional experience. 

With tears in their eyes, they hugged friends, family and fellow teammates for the final time as high school football players. 

“It’s bittersweet right now,” said senior Blake Ehlers. “We had a great season, and it’s sad to see it come to an end, but we are now a family, and that is something special that I will cherish for a long time.”

Teacher of the year: Tuolumne man named top instructor

Jamie Johnston Photography/ Courtesy photo. Bill Johnson, of Tuolumne, drives a golf ball in the fairway.
A Tuolumne man was named the Northern California PGA Teacher of the Year.

Bill Johnson, 50, garnered the prestigious award after being nominated.

“It’s actually quite humbling” Johnson said. “It’s a real honor. I’ve been doing this for a long time. It’s nice to be recognized by my peers. There’s a lot of great golf instructors out there.”


Columbia hoopsters go 1-2 at tourney

The Columbia Claim Jumpers basketball team finished with a 1-2 record at the 2013 Cosumnes River College James Clark Classic.

After dropping its first game to host Cosumnes, who went on to win the tournament, Columbia rebounded quickly and beat Alameda 82-67 on Friday.

Post-player Tige Wingo recorded a double-double, scoring 11 points and grabbing 16 rebounds against Alameda.

Shooting guard Marcus Junior scored a team-high 23 points, and Danny Radford and Mike Williams added 16 and 14, respectively.

“We did a really good job sharing the ball,” said Columbia head coach Rob Hoyt. “We had balanced scoring.”


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