Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on June 14, 1998 · Page 11
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 11

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Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Sunday, June 14, 1998
Page:
Page 11
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•JEHE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL Snorts THE HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS YEAR IN REVIEW •HMIMM The year Ukiah girls steal the show in 1997/98 By RAY HAMILL The Daily Journal I t was a year of classic over achievements and historic firsts. A year that saw ambitious playoff runs, traditional rivalries renewed and the end of a memorable era. .;. All in all, the 1997/98 high school sporting year was one of the most memorable, entertaining and successful in Mendocino County in some lime. ; From the opening kickoff of the soccer season ; last August to Ryan Mack's historic efforts at the ; track and field State Championships last week- lend, the year was one that was packed full of thrills, surprises and nail-biting excitement. In Ukiah, the Wildcats went boldly where no < Ukiah High School teams have gone before, while I'm Potter valley, the Bearcats went back to basics ;.and returned to the playoffs on several fronts as a •result. k Deep Valley Christian set unprecedented stan- .•dards for the young school, while in Willits, the rWolverines continued to shine in traditional favorites, said goodbye to a longtime coach and rclinched their first track and field championship •in almost two decades. •: But while several of the 46 varsity squads in the area tasted success and made some lasting impressions, none stood as tall or made as loud Statement as the Lady Wildcats slid qn the basketball court. '; The Ukiah girls battled Montgomery all season long Ifor the North bay League title, '^overcoming their Santa Rosa Tivals for the League champi- bnship in a memorable 48-39 matchup'in February <n«f-"< • T -The 'young;;Wife/eats' then' stormed triroiigh tUS 1 playoffs, making it all the way to the NorCal semi finals, just two wins shy of a state championship showdown and further than any other basketball team in school history. With just two outgoing seniors on the squad and with an abundance of valuable experience under their belts, the Ukiah girls should be back stronger than ever next year, and judging by the crop of JVs and freshmen - who finished the season undefeated - the Wildcats could dominate for some time. The lady Wildcats also had a cjominating season on the volleyball court, falling just short of an NBL championship and making a return trip to the , playoffs, while the softballers finished third in the NBL standings, just behind Rancho Cotate and Ursuline, with the league title going down to the final day of play. ; All three varsity teams have a young and talented core and should be in the thick of a championship run again next year. The varsity boys, meanwhile, proved to be one of the most competitive sports programs in the NBL on several fronts. Disappointment on the soccer fields was more than compensated in other areas, where Ukiah competed with the best. In the swimming pool, the Wildcats climaxed a memorable year by clinching a league title at the NBL championships, with Ben Garnero and Mike Kellogg leading the way. Katrina Sinclair and Cassie Burris had outstanding years for the girls, who were edged for top spot, and finished third in league standings. On the football field, meanwhile, Ukiah remained in the hunt for the postseason for much of the year, finishing up with a 6-4 record in head coach Chris Burris' first season at the helm. Seniors Tim Keffeler, who made a lasting impression in three sports this past year and led the league in receiving, as well as Bobby Taylor, who gained an impressive 593 yards during a three-game stretch, led the Wildcats, who mixed it up with a balanced passing and running attack and set the new-look program up for the future. On the basketball courts, Kyle Heath finished his high school career with a bang, setting several new school and Redwood Empire marks in the process, including most ever career points by a large school player, with 1,924. Ukiah overachieved for much of the season in a very competitive NBL, falling just shy of the postseason with a record of 15-11 (8-6 in league). Mack was perhaps the most successful of all Ukiah athletes this year, with the Wildcat junior making two trips to state meets. of the Lady Wildcat Mack led the cross-country to a memorable North Coast Section title and then returned to the state championships last weekend as inland Mendocino County's only representative at the track and field meet, finishing eighth in the 1600 meters and 17th in the 3200 meters. If he continues to mature as an athlete at this pace, Mack, who smashed the school record in the 1600 two weeks ago, will be back at the state championships next year and could very well end up breaking the Redwood Empire mark in the 1600, a pace he is just. 15 of a second shy of. The Wildcats had 11 athletes on hand at the NCS track and field Meet of Champs, a figure coach Jerry Drew hopes' to emulate, and even beat, next year with most of his squad returning for another season. Of all the Wildcat squads, however, none showed the character of the Ukiah baseballers, who rallied late in the season and turned a potential underachieving season into the most successful the school has ever seen. • The Wildcats turned their fortunes around with an eight-game win streak late in the year, clinching second in the NBL and making it to the second round of the NCS playoffs with a memorable and nail-biting 2-1 win over Antioch in the first round. The win sent the Ukiah boys further than any previous baseball team in school history. On the tennis courts, both girls and boys had competitive years, with the boys closing out a hectic schedule after a ton of rainouts and acquitting themselves well with a third-place finish in league standings. A young and enthusiastic squad of golfers gained some valuable experience in their NBL campaign, while on the wrestling mats, the young Ray Hamill/The Daily Journal Pictured clockwise from top, Erin Furlong in action during the Lady Wildcats playoff run in basketball; Claire Allan and Rosemary Franklin singing the national Anthem before a Ukiah volleyball game; Potter Valley's Yardley Olson on the soccer field; and Ukiah swimmer Cassie Burris. and relatively inexperienced Wildcats stunned Finer in a mid-season matchup, losing narrowly to the league champs with senior Clint Brandt leading the way. The Wildcats had seven wrestlers make the NCS championships. More importantly for the school, however, the majority of athletes who excelled on the sports fields also excelled in the classroom. "The program is moving in the right direction," Wildcat Athletic Director Dennis Busse said at the recent end-of-season awards ceremony. "And we've been very successful competitively." Back to basics for the Bearcats That success, in the classroom and on the sports fields, wasn't, however, confined to Ukiah. In Potter Valley, the Lady Bearcats got the sporting year off to a flying start with another trip to the playoffs in soccer. Coach Val Moore's squad put a slow start to the season behind them when they lost just one their final nine Coastal Mountain Conference games, clinching their fourth trip to the postseason in six years. Likewise, on the football field, Potter Valley made it back to the playoffs after clinching the North Central League III title with a seven-game win streak. The campaign included a memorable first-ever football matchup with local rivals Deep Valley Christian in a game that went down to the wire and will long be remembered for sheer excitement. The Lady Bearcats suffered the same faith as many small schools with a lack of depth on the volleyball court, but made some substantial strides in terms of improvement, according to coach Kathryn Hoffar. Basketball season brought a new boys coach to Potter Valley in the form of Lindsey Munroe. The season that had its ups and downs, with senior Guinness McFadden having a standout year, earning rave reviews from his coach and surpassing the 1,000 point career mark. The girls, under head coach Fred Austin, went back to basics and rode one of the area's most dominating defenses to the playoffs. The Lady Bearcats, like their counterparts on the soccer fields, put a slow start to the season behind them and made substantial strides down the stretch, with seniors Alison Freeman and Tisha Phillips leading the way. Of the numerous varsity teams in the county, none overachieved quite like the Bearcats on the track and field circuit, where a Potter Valley boys squad of just four remarkably finished seventh out of 23 teams in the NCS Class A Championships and went undefeated in the 4x400 relay. All four boys went on the NCS Meet of Champions. Unfortunately, the Bearcats were unable to field a baseball team with a lack of numbers this year, but the softballers, like most of the schools See SPORTS REVIEW, Page B-4

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