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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.”


Local Roundup: Steele voted MLL’s top defender

Bret Harte’s Nathan Steele was named the Mother Lode League’s soccer Defensive Player of the Year and 13 area players were recognized by league coaches.

Steele, a senior center back, played a crucial role in cutting out passing lanes in the backline. 

Summerville Bears midfielders Brandon Reel and Kai Bannister were voted First-Team All-MLL as well as Adrian Tennant of Bret Harte. Calaveras’ forward David Rodriguez rounded out the first-team honors.

Jason Barry and Garett Williams, of Calaveras, Summerville’s Braden Anderson and Josh Freedman, and Bret Harte’s Pancho Munoz and Jose Torres were all second-team.

Calaveras’ Christchian Gage and Bear fullback Jordan Fish received character awards.

Outdoors column: 2nd method of trout fishing explained


For The Union Democrat 

Glory Hole Sports of Angels Camp suggests three methods for bank fishing to find the level that the trout may be feeding. 

Last week I covered top (surface) level and this week will be mid-level. The set up is a bit more complicated, but workable. It consists of a bobber stop, slip float, a swivel, split shot, 24-inch leader, and a bait hook. Set the bobber stop on your line at the desired depth. Low profile bobber stops will reel onto the spool of a spinning reel. With the hook baited with a worm or minnow the rig can be cast out, and the weight and bait will sink until the bobber stop meets the float. It will stop there, leaving the bait at your chosen depth. 

Second to none: Wildcats win section title in thrilling fashion

Jason Buck / Union Democrat. The Sonora Wildcats volleyball team (above) celebrates with the student body after winning the Division IV Sac-Joaquin Section Championships against Hilmar on Thursday night at UC Davis.
DAVIS — Never had Sonora trailed two sets to none in any of its matches this year.

Thursday, in the volleyball Section championship, that’s right where the Wildcats were, down 2-0 to Hilmar in The Pavilion at UC Davis .

But the Wildcats never doubted. They just pulled together and rallied.

The top seed Wildcats defeated the No. 2 Yellowjackets 3-2 (23-25, 17-25, 25-20, 25-17, 18-16) in the final of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Championships to win Sonora’s first ever title.

“It’s so amazing,” said Wildcat senior Maria Chacon. “Three years of hard work on varsity and it paid off not just for me, but for the whole team.  It was a whole team effort. After a rough start, we finished just like we were taught.”

“I can’t believe we won,” said Sonora’s Angela Gardella, who was honored by the Section for being the game’s outstanding player. “We were down two sets and we kept saying, ‘It’s not over, it’s not over, we just gotta keep fighting.’ And we did. It was amazing.”


S’ville’s Robinson is named top player

Summerville Bear sensation Breann Robinson garnered the Mother Lode League’s Most Outstanding Player of the Year award.

Robinson, a senior setter, was voted by league coaches for her outstanding performance on the volleyball court. She played in every set for the Bears in 2013.

“It’s a huge honor,” Robinson said. “I just feel really honored and complimented. I don’t work towards any awards out there. I just play my game. It makes my day. But I think everything is a team effort in volleyball. I give a lot of credit to my team.”

Skins’ boss Dwyer earns Coach of the Year, again

Calaveras Redskins volleyball coach Kristy Dwyer was named the Mother Lode League’s Coach of the Year.

But that almost did not happen.

Dwyer was going to hang up her clipboard and retire.

“I wasn’t going to coach anymore until Calaveras called me,” Dwyer said.

Bowling column: Sour apples in season this winter


For The Union Democrat 

(This report covers the scores from the week of Nov. 6-11 as bowled at Black Oak Lanes.)

William Thomas, of Gold Country, in the youth/adult league rolled one of the best game and series for a youth this season — a 244/619, which was 91/160 pins over his average. 

Umchu Full House’s Dave Rossi rolled the men’s high game, bowling a 268/739. It was nice to see Rossi back on the lanes after a brief absence.


Set ‘em up, knock ‘em down: Sonora routs Escalon 3-0, advances to final

Jesse Jones / Union Democrat. Bella Bergamaschi (6, far right) sets for outside hitter Shannon Friend (11) Tuesday night in Sonora’s 3-0 win over Escalon at Bud Castle Gym.
Sonora had been to the Final Four a handful of times over the years, but never had any Wildcat team reached the championship game.

That changed Tuesday night at Bud Castle Gym.

The No. 1 seed Wildcats dismantled the No. 5 Escalon Cougars 3-0 (25-14, 25-12, 25-10) in front of a loud, boisterous crowd spurred on by the Golden Regiment, in the semifinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Volleyball Championships. They will play Thursday at UC Davis for their first section title.

“I’m just ecstatic,” said Wildcat junior Shannon Friend. “We played really well and came out and dominated like usual. I’m really proud of my team for beating Escalon in three. It’s hard, they made it so far and it’s tough competition, but we made it look easy. We’re making Sonora history for volleyball and I hope to go all the way.”

“The girls came out well prepared, well rehearsed and ready for this moment,” said Wildcat head coach Kim Evans. “I couldn’t be more proud of this group with their determination and dedication to be where they are today, to make history.”


Volley Jumpers end solid 2013 campaign

Jesse Jones/Union Democrat. Columbia libero Brooke Earling (7, above) digs the ball as teammate Taylor Smahlik looks on.
In their season finale, the Columbia Claim Jumpers volleyball team lost 3-2 (20-25, 25-21, 16-25, 25-13, 15-8) to College of the Sequoias on Friday at Oak Pavilion.

Columbia battled back from a 2-1 match deficit, routing COS 25-13 in Set 4 to force a fifth set.

“The last few years, we kind of had a rough go,” said Claim Jumpers head coach Jennifer Ousterhout. “It didn’t really fall together, but this year was a huge step in the right direction. The team worked really well together.”

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