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Wildcats excited to play home games – at home

Wildcat Senior football players Bryce Sanguinetti, Lane Mierop and Colm Allan got up and walked out of Tuesday night’s Sonora Union High School District Board meeting in the library after two hours. 

The meeting, and discussion, continued for much longer, but they heard everything they needed to hear. 

Sonora High student body representative Sam McKinnie asked Measure J project manager Jeff Miller what turned out to be the most important question for Wildcat football fans — when the earliest construction could begin on Dunlavy Field.   

“Mid-to-late October,” Miller responded.


Westside Little League to host state finals

The Westside Little League and Jerry Whitehead Sr. Field in Tuolumne will be home to the Northern California State Baseball Tournament Finals.

The week-long event, which starts on Saturday with opening ceremonies set for 11 a.m., is trademarked with Little League Baseball, Inc. in Williamsport, Pa., and is the last stop for the 9- to 10-year-old division. 

This will mark the first time in Westside Little League history that it will host the state finals.

“We’re very excited because we been trying for so long to have this tournament in Tuolumne,” said Westside Little League President Donnie Wright. “It took a lot of work from our board. It was very difficult.”


Wildcat girls SOAKing up Junior Olympic experience

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Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Sonora water polo stars (above, from left) Katie Ferris, 16, Josie Personius, 14, and Sammie Slater, 15, will compete in the USA Water Polo National Junior Olympics from July 31 to Aug. 3 in Stanford.
Traditionally, Sonora and Oakdale high schools are competitive rivals in all sports.

But four years ago, the Sonora and Oakdale water polo clubs merged in the summer to form a higher-level squad to allow its teams to compete on bigger stages.

Allegiances were put aside and a dynamic club team was established.

“SOAK is obviously a word that combines Sonora and Oakdale into one word,” Wildcats head coach and SOAK assistant Matt Personius said. “The idea was to let our players play together in the summer. It does several things. No. 1, it allows our players to get a broader base of experience and more competition by players from elsewhere other than our own program. No. 2, it increases our numbers. It allows us to more easily fill teams for tournaments, sometimes, multiple teams. The third thing it does is that it allows us to put together the best players from the two teams and to create a club that maybe is better than the individual clubs might have been on their own.”


Polo kickoff

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Sawyer Alford, 13, of Arnold and the Bone Frog Water Polo Club (above), loads for a shot on Friday at the Bret Harte Aquatic Center in Angels Camp.
Calaveras County got its first taste of youth water polo on Friday at the Bret Harte Aquatic Center in Angels Camp.

The Bone Frog Water Polo Club, a newly-formed youth club in the county, sponsored the first water polo match at the facility since its opening in 2012.

Bone Frog coach Mark Garrett, a former collegiate All-American at Fresno State, kicked off the event with a ceremonial first toss.

“It is exciting to be part of introducing a new sport to kids in Calaveras County,” Garrett said in a release. “Water polo is a great sport that is growing in popularity and offers opportunities for advancement to college and international competition.”


Angels champ: Hundreds gather to meet UFC title-belt holder

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Vongni Yang / Union Democrat Isaac Hudson, 6, of Sonora, waits anxiously as UFC bantamweight champion TJ Dillashaw signs his poster and picture on Sunday at the Bret Harte High School multi-purpose room in Angels Camp. Dillashaw’s UFC bantamweight championship belt was on display (below) at the event. The former Bullfrog standout (bottom) holds his proclamation during Angels Camp mayor Elaine Morris’ speech at the Bret Harte theater.
About an hour before TJ Dillashaw was scheduled to be honored by the city of Angels Camp at Bret Harte High School, the UFC bantamweight titleholder was out on the family compound squeezing in a workout.

The former Bret Harte wrestling standout takes no days off, even when his hometown holds a community celebration for his achievements in the Octagon.

And it’s that type of commitment and work ethic that makes Dillashaw a champion.

 “Dedication, hard work, (he’s) always had them,” said former Bullfrog wrestling coach Jan Schulz. “Running the hills, coming into early morning practices, if you’re any young guys out there, if you’re going to be a wrestler, you’ve got to dedicate yourself and TJ has always done that.”


Dillashaw, Barao both confident ahead of rematch

The rematch is set.

TJ Dillashaw will defend his UFC bantamweight title against former champion Renan Barao on Saturday, Aug. 30 at UFC 177: Dillashaw vs. Barao II at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.

“I’m very happy that I did get the rematch so quickly, but I think I’ve earned the right,” Barao said by phone through a translator on Wednesday. “I have been the champion for a long time. I’m completely focused and ready to win the title and belt back. This is what I’m coming for.”


Spotted bass confirmed as world record

By LEN ACKERMAN

For the Union Democrat

Word out of Glory Hole Sports is that the 10.48-pound spotted bass caught at New Melones Reservoir in February by Keith Bryan, of Novato, has been confirmed as the world record for its species.

Bryan was fishing in a tournament and there was some controversy at first on the weight which had different readings on two scales, but the tournament scale was later confirmed as correct.

Fishing guide John Liechty said, “Records are made to be broken and I expect to see a new record turn up eventually at Melones.”


Golden hopes: Runners head to national JO meet

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Maggie Beck / Union Democrat Foothill Gold Track and Running Club’s (Clockwise from top left) Cassi Land, 14, of Sonora, Connor Landis, 14, of Arnold, Brendan Dishion, 12, of Murphys, Broen Holman, 8, of Sonora, and Kaela Dishion, 14, of Murphys all qualified for the National Junior Olympic Track & Field Championships to be held July 21-27 at Houston, Texas.
For Cassi Land and Kaela Dishion, running at the USA Track and Field National Junior Olympic Championships will be familiar territory.

Land, of Sonora, and Kaela Dishion, of Murphys, both qualified and competed last summer at the 2013 Junior Olympics in Greensboro, N.C., and both are making return trips this year on July 21-27 as members of the Foothill Gold Running and Track Club coached by former Cal Poly and Sonora Wildcat phenom Darren Holman.

“They’re the veterans of the group,” Holman said. “When they’re at the starting line, they’ve been there before. I think some of the anxiety that they had at being a first timer at a national event will ease them. I think they’ll definitely have an advantage.”


Bear grad Roberson ready for starting role

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Courtesy Photo/University of Mary. Zach Roberson, a Summerville Bear graduate, drops back to pass.
As a starting quarterback, there is no time off, well, at least for former Summerville Bear football standout Zach Roberson.

Roberson, who has been training in Bismarck, N.D. this entire summer, is penciled in as the heir apparent to record-setting gunslinger Craig Bagnell for the University of Mary football program.

The 2011 Summerville High grad has big shoes to fill as he heads into his redshirt junior season for the Division II Marauders under new head coach Josh Kotelnicki and his staff.


Bent-metal tribute: Roberts remembered before clash of cars

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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.”


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