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Sonora beats S’ville on the mat

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Jesse Jones / Union Democrat Summerville’s Jack Wivell (right, above) attempts to bring down Sonora senior Kyle Mantzouranis during Wednesday’s wrestling match in Tuolumne.
The Sonora Wildcats opened their 2013-14 wrestling season by outlasting their Tuolumne County rival, the Summerville Bears, on the mat on Wednesday.

With nine total wins, including four by forfeit, Sonora won 50-22 over host Summerville.

“I was pretty pleased with it,” said Wildcat head coach Jon Abernathy. “I’m really happy with my numbers. It’s really created a lot of competition in the room. It’s always nice to come off of a win. It’s good to have a full team. We’re looking forward to having a pretty good season.”


Wildcats fall in NorCal final

Sonora's magical volleyball season came to an end on Tuesday night in Atherton.

The Wildcats battled tough in the CIF State Division IV Girls Volleyball Championships, forcing a fifth set but came up short 15-7.

Check Wednesday's paper for the full story. 


Wildcats finish season as NorCal runner-up

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Bill Rozak / Union Democrat The Sonora Wildcats pose with their NorCal runnerup plaque they received Tuesday night at Menlo School. Forming the Wildcats greatest team ever (from left) Angela Gardella, Ali Pelfrey, Leah Dambacher, Shannon Friend, Bailey Henington, Kiana Pisula, Bella Bergamaschi, Savannah Lawrence, Kelsie Evans, Makenzee Hope and Maria Chacon.
ATHERTON — The words “Sonora volleyball” and “lose” don’t seem like they belong in the same sentence.

The Wildcats didn’t lose a head-to-head battle this season, other than short, abbreviated matches in tournaments.

And the season started over four months ago — that’s a lot of winning. It was an historic amount that included a Valley Oak League title and the school’s first Sac-Joaquin Section championship.

But on Tuesday, the Wildcats’ greatest volleyball season came to an end in the NorCal Finals of the 2013 CIF State Girls Division IV Championships.



Columbia hoopsters stun Yuba

The Columbia Claim Jumpers mens’ basketball team pulled off one of the biggest upsets in program history.

Columbia knocked off Yuba City, ranked No. 4 in the state’s Top 20 ranking, 83-82 in overtime at the 76th Modesto JC Basketball Tourney. 

Columbia fell behind early, but clawed right back with some outstanding 3-point shooting from Rafe King, Marcus Junior, Robert Orantes and Daniel Radford.

“Played well together,” said Columbia head coach Rob Hoyt. “It was a great effort. We held on with them. We went punch for punch.”


4 TCAM swimmers in top 10 at Open Water Awards

Tuolumne County Aquatic Masters placed four swimmers in the Top 10 standings in November at the Pacific Masters 2013 Open Water Awards.  

With six TCAM teammates contributing points, the team was 11th in the small-team rankings.

Beginning in May and ending in September, masters swimmers had the opportunity to compete in 17 different open-water races. The swims were held in lakes and the Pacific Ocean.  


Wildcat Grolle medals at State cross country meet

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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

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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. 

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