Jesuit’s Anthony Wesley wrestling his way to a top university

Photo by Da Vigo Photography.

Photo by Da Vigo Photography.

Jesuit High School’s Anthony Wesley is on pace to be the most successful wrestler in the school’s history. This year, the junior had 42 wins and 8 losses, just two losses shy of the school record of 44 wins. With more than an entire year to prepare for college, Anthony has already received letters from the Air Force Academy and Stanford University and Harvard University requesting transcript information.

While wrestling for Jesuit, Anthony has made two Sacramento All-Star teams, two national teams, received three national medals, is a two-time league finalist, and a two-time masters qualifier. He became the sixth wrestler in school history to qualify for the CIF State Championships. The first preseason state rankings in November placed him in the honorable mention section, but Anthony went undefeated in the month of December, winning four tournaments and winning the outstanding wrestler award in three of them.

His father, August Wesley, the current wrestling coach at Sacramento State University and former Jesuit High School wrestling coach, has been coaching high school, college, and international level teams since he was 20 years old.

Father and son spoke with the Arden-Carmichael News about memories of the last 10 years, and their mutual admiration for each other as wrestling family members.

Anthony began his wrestling journey at age 6, and now 10 years later, some of the people he trained with when he was younger are close friends now, even though some of them have been his greatest competitors.

Anthony said as he grew up watching his dad coach, he naturally started to enjoy watching it. “I wanted to try it, so he let me. If it weren’t for my Dad coaching all those years, I probably would not have competed at such a high level now. We, as a family, are a wrestling family; I wrestle practically year-round with many weekends allocated toward wrestling.”

And about his son, August described the pride he has as his son’s mentor, coach, and father. “This season has been a very exciting season to say the least. I enjoy watching my son compete and reach his current goals…His hard work is paying off. He started training early this season with my college wrestlers from Sacramento State. I saw the look in his eyes, very determined and clearly focused. His motor just does not stop.”

Photo by Da Vigo Photography.

Photo by Da Vigo Photography.

When coaching at Jesuit, August had wrestlers compete at state competitions, securing spots in the top 10. Then he left to coach at Sacramento City College. As his son got older, he started a year-round wrestling club, called the California Elite. He focused on the youth (grades five through nine). Most are in high school now, and, “kicking butt,” he said. With California Elite, he’s had kids venture from Vacaville, El Dorado Hills, Lassen, just to practice with him. Ninety-five percent of them are ranked in the state, some are in contention for medals. Then in 2011, Sacramento State University offered him coaching job. “That was weird because they didn’t have a wrestling team for 28 years, and I thought, Sac State does not have wrestling.”

Asked what his most memorable wrestling experience has been thus far, Anthony said it has to be back when he was in eighth grade. “(The California Elite) went down to Los Angeles. We were the underdogs at that tournament, but we beat everybody. Then we went to Six Flags. Even the car ride there was fun.”

Added August: “A lot of people didn’t know who I was training when I put the team together. We were the only team this side of Bakersfield. We represented a lot of people.”

Although top universities have inquired into his son, August still would love to see Anthony attend Sacramento State University, where he could play with athletes he’s grown up with and train under a coach he’s learned so much from.

But, Anthony has another agenda. “I don’t really want to (play for dad). I have seen those practices. They are really, really hard. My Dad’s been my coach for 11 years already. He’ll always be there even if not in my corner. My plans are focusing on getting into a good college,” he said.

editor@valcomnews.com

Kennedy High School to get a new stadium!

Shown here is the current state of the track at John F. Kennedy High School. Come April, the scene will improve as the school will get a brand new stadium. Photo by Monica Stark

Shown here is the current state of the track at John F. Kennedy High School. Come April, the scene will improve as the school will get a brand new stadium. Photo by Monica Stark

Editor’s note: Look for ongoing updates on this continuing story.

When voters passed Measures Q&R in the November 2012 election, they made way for exciting projects that will improve our local schools, one of them being Kennedy High School! Principal Chad Sweitzer told the Pocket News there have been several meetings and plans are ready for a new stadium, a new track, bleachers and concessions with improvements beginning in April.“I have designs as well,” he said.

One of the projects that have been completed district-wide so far is a new batting cage at McClatchy High School. (Visit  www.valcomnews.com for more information on that controversial project.) The average age of Sacramento City Unified District schools is 50 years. Schools built years ago need significant updating.

To follow the district’s projects, visit: www.scusd.edu/bond-projects

Batting cage debacle brings other maintenance issues to light

C.K. McClatchy varsity baseball coach Mike de Necochea sat down for an interview with the Land Park News to discuss maintenance issues on campus, including problems with the sprinkler system, dog waste and litter.

Because the school doesn’t have a gardener on staff and because the Sacramento City Unified School District has had to cut janitorial and maintenance services by nearly 50 percent over the last two years, it recommends coaches and staff fill out and submit a work order form to the maintenance department.

“Just turn in the forms into to Tommy they would always tell me, but no one knew he retired,” de Necochea said.

District spokesman Gabe Ross said the district prioritizes what the work is. “If there is a fire sprinkler that goes out, that may get to the top of the list,” he said, adding that SCUSD Landscape/Labor Supervisor said Tommy Greer has been using vacation up until he retires and there has been a temp in for him. “Given limited resources, it’s an all automated system. Somebody may have called, but it’s all prioritized by need,” he said.

Just in the 2011-12 school year, the district had 209 custodians and plant managers, compared to the 125 on staff today. Meanwhile district-wide maintenance staff (service repairs and gardeners) has seen a 42 percent decrease since the 2010-11 school year, amounting to a cut of about 90 people.

Regardless many of the maintenance problems have gone by the wayside. For instance, problems with the sprinklers have been going since at least before school started at around the same time the previous batting cages were torn down.

“It’s been since at least August when I noticed (the sprinklers) turned off. I think it was due to the construction,” de Necochea said. More recently, he said after district staff installed the new batting cage, they happened to put in a workable sprinkler system for a small plot of sod around the structure, but failed to fix the sprinklers through out the rest of the baseball field, resulting in very dry grass.

“While the City (of Sacramento) has required residents to reduce water usage by 20 percent, we’ve been conserving since summer,” de Necochea quipped.

As part of the cuts the district has to make to the maintenance department, they’ve eliminated gardeners at individual school sites and have instead consolidated and have created district wide work crews that visit various schools on set days each week. Gardening crews man the lawns and most of the watering is automated.

“We now have a crew that works at several schools and I guess the front yard is a priority,” de Necochea said.

Undoubtedly this has affected the appearance and general cleanliness of the campus – dirtier locker rooms, irrigation problems with the fields and pool maintenance.

While the district does have an employee drive a large mower to cut all the grass on campus each Tuesday, de Necochea said the worker drives over the trash, which exacerbates the garbage clean up problem – one that he said the baseball team has to clean up. On the bright side, de Necochea said this encourages players to take pride in what they have, adding that he’s used trash clean up as a punishment for being late to practice.

“It is important for the boys to help with the upkeep. But at the end of the day, we’re the ones paying for it, using it,” he said.

So, as the new baseball season gets underway, he and his team have taken other gardening and maintenance matters into their own hands. With a hose and a lawn mower, they’ve sometimes done the watering and the trimming themselves, side skirting the bureaucracy of filling the necessary forms, which some have argued can backfire.“I’ve had people tell me, ‘if you don’t do anything, you’re just allowing (the district) to get away with it’, but I just couldn’t let (the grounds) get that bad,” de Necochea said.

The head baseball coach said he has been mowing the grass twice a week, even though staff mows the lawns once a week. Also, to help out with the manual labor, de Necochea said the team twice has solicited help from Sacramento County Sheriff’s Work Project, where certain sentenced inmates can be recommended by the sentencing judge to be assigned to one of more than 25 work sites throughout the county.

De Necochea said they did a great job. “They cut out around the bases. They trimmed and weeded. They picked up trash and helped build a mound. We just filled out a form and got work done twice. The district could be requesting those guys. It’s free. I asked them (the inmates): do you like coming to schools? They said they felt like they were making a difference compared to just raking leaves at a park, which could be pretty tedious.”

But are the team’s Good Samaritan efforts to keep the fields clean taking away from contracted union jobs?

“It’s always hard,” Ross said. “We never want to discourage parents from volunteering at school sites. We also know we have less staff than we need. Have a system in the district where community members fill out ’special projects process’ for the school site and district to participate in. Generally it’s not about violating union contract, it’s about protecting parents and students from harm,” he said.

Prior to the massive budget cuts that have plagued the district for years now, the campus had a gardener Terry Stowers, who de Necochea said worked together with the team to keep the field looking its best. “It was great. They were out there with us, supervising us to make sure it’s right.”

While it may seem like de Necochea is at odds with the district, it’s not the case at all. He wants to work with the district to brainstorm solutions on making the fields and the school, by extension a more inviting place.

To that end, he’s started to connect with alumni who might want to give back to their alma mater. He argues that the Booster program is not his preferred avenue. “We’re putting band aids on a big project. We need to reach out to alumni and get Boosters for life,” he said. De Necochea, who lives near the school, added: “I look at my neighborhood, parents have to have funds available.”

Asked how the community can work with the district to create a better environment, Ross said in a variety of ways. “We want to make the right process. We want parents to find solutions. Hopefully in a few years, we will be back to the funding areas and help supplement what is going on at the schools. For the sports fields and at the school, it’s critical we are all involved.”

He said as a result of new funding from an accountability measure known as LCAP (Local Control and Accountability Plan), the community will have a larger voice in terms of how to spend and allocate resources. There will be a survey on the website for parents to document their priorities.

editor@valcomnews.com

Congratulations to Jonah Eldridge CKM rugby star


Jonah Eldridge, a senior at C.K. McClatchy High School, is a nationally-ranked rugby star. Eldridge made the USA Sevens Rugby Tournament, the largest rugby competition in North America, and performed so well he was selected to captain the second side, shocking tournament organizers by taking third place in the Jan. 24-26 Las Vegas event. Jonah is certainly in the mix to move on to London if there are circumstances, like unforeseen injuries, that prevent one of the boys who played on the undefeated first side from going.

In a recent interview with the Land Park News, Eldridge described the competition “Sevens” referring to having only seven people on the team. “It’s meant for smaller people, unlike the usual set up with 15 versus 15 on the field at a time. So it’s a lot more running, benefiting the smaller, quicker people, me I guess.”

Jonah plays the position of scrumhalf, which, in rugby, is the link between the forwards and the backs. They’re similar to halfbacks in football. A difficult position to master, scrumhalves have to be able to pass with both hands, which Jonah likens to a “quarterback doing a 10-yard up and out play on passing it 10 times perfectly with his right hand and doing the exact same play, throwing it with his left hand.”

Is the young man gifted as being ambidextrous? Well, it’s hard to tell. “Past rugby I can’t write with my left hand; I can’t hold sticks with my left hand; I can’t do anything with my left hand but I’ve been doing rugby for so long, it’s like second nature at this point,” he said.

Jonah has been playing since sixth grade when he turned 10 years old, which was a much frowned upon thing to do since most of the players were at least in the seventh grade. But he joined the Land Park Motley anyway. “I was a 10 year old playing against 14 year olds, so, that’s how it all started.” Then Jonah went to McClatchy where he “kept on playing, kept on playing. Then, if you play well, you get invited to All Star Teams and that’s where you get sucked into the next level.”

Asked if competition has been too easy for him, he said: “NorCal has the best in the nation, so the competition is great.” And he said it’s not just that but the sport itself is very much a team sport. “Not just one person can take over a game.” As such, he explained how typically there are 15 players on the field, lending itself to a lot of action between multiple players. “It’s not like basketball where the best player of the team can score 30 points, rugby is a team sport contributes their part.”

So rugby being such a team oriented sport lent itself to the obvious question: How do officials choose who will be on the U.S. Rugby Team? That’s a good question, said Jonah. “You have to be invited to the camp in Arizona and then they just pick people from there. If you have what they’re looking for you’re invited or if you fit their mold, then you get invited.”

His grandmother Paula Ridgeway had a different explanation: “He’s just the best, that’s all there is.” She went on to describe her admiration for the way he plays. She said, “He can control that ball. It’s like a flip ball. Jonah throws it in a tight spiral.”

Among the more memorable experiences Jonah has had playing rugby, was when he was in the eighth grade when the Land Park Motley had a great season, as he recalls making it to the finals. “The team worked on a sequence where one of the players kicked the ball deep into a corner and our big four tackled him out of bounds and we balled in and scored. That’s what we worked on in practice. In the opening kick off, it happened. There was a feeling that went right so how much worse can the rest of the game be? We went out winning the game, so I went out in eighth grade as a NorCal champion, so that was fun. It was a good experience.”

The fact that Jonah started playing in sixth grade didn’t seem to matter too much as the coach and his teammates knew his age. “There wasn’t a rule against it. If your parents signed a waiver, you could do it but it was frowned upon because I was only 60 pounds at the time, so the average seventh or eighth grader weighed maybe 120 (pounds). They were double my size,” he said.

No, he didn’t double his weight in a year, in fact he has always been small, but just recently he has been able to slightly catch up. His second year, he was maybe 80 pounds tops and he came in as a freshman at 105 pounds. “I’ve never been on the big end; I’ve always been the little guy and not much has changed.”

A senior at McClatchy, Jonah wants to continue playing in college, though he’s undecided where. He’s talking to colleges, seeing what his options are. As he said, “I am just feeling it out.”

Restore the Roar sponsors athletic awards for long-time principal

Restore the Roar and the C. K. McClatchy athletic department have created the BILL MORGAN ATHLETIC AWARDS for a male and a female senior athlete who have excelled as team leaders and in sportsmanship while at McClatchy. The awards will be made next May along with the S. A. Pepper Award for outstanding male athlete and the Woody Adams Award for outstanding female athlete.

The importance of the BILL MORGAN ATHLETIC AWARDS will be to recognize team leaders and those athletes who represent the best ideals of sportsmanship as senior Lion athletes. The male and female athletes will be chosen by a committee from Restore the Roar and the McClatchy coaching staff.

Bill Morgan was born in Missouri in 1928 and moved to Sacramento as a boy. He graduated from McClatchy High in 1946. He loved sports and particularly McClatchy sports.

Bill went on to Sacramento State College where he played on the first baseball team and was a member of the first graduating class. He spent time in the army during the Korean War but never left the US.

Bill returned to teach history at McClatchy from 1954 to 1962. He could often be seen after school playing basketball along with coach Del Bandy with many of his McClatchy students.

Leaving McClatchy for awhile, Bill returned as the third McClatchy principal in 1967 when Kennedy opened. He could often be seen behind the backstop watching the champion 1970 and 71 baseball teams. In 1971 Bill was appointed Assistant Superintendent of secondary schools for the SCUSD.

As a district administrator Bill couldn’t stay away from his Freeport school and would often drop by before school in the morning to have coffee with the staff and custodians. Finally in 1978, he returned to McClatchy for 10 more years as principal.

He enjoyed watching McClatchy rise as a football power again in the 1980’s and McClatchy’s dominance in basketball and baseball throughout the decade. His 14 years as principal is the second longest in McClatchy history.

In 1987, Bill was moved to Kennedy where he finished his career as principal. However, his heart was always with McClatchy and he would keep in touch with former staff and his many Lion friends. During the 1980’s Bill came across students whose parents he had taught and grandchildren of friends from his generation at McClatchy.

Along with sports, Bill loved history and particularly the New Deal and Harry Truman, a fellow Missourian who was his favorite president. Bill’s aunt was Truman’s secretary for many years so he actually met President Truman and spent time with him discussing Truman’s presidency. Bill is survived by son Derek and daughter Delynn.

To make donations to the BILL MORGAN ATHLETIC AWARDS fund go the Restoretheroar.org and log on. Information about where to send your donation will be on the website.

JMG Tennis Player from Arden Hills Wins National “Little Mo” Title in Texas

Eight-year-old Priya Nelson of Sacramento — who trains as part of the JMG Academy at Arden Hills — won the 16th Annual Rogers Wealth Group “Little Mo” Nationals title in the Girls 8 Division at the Austin Tennis Academy in Texas that took place October 18-21, 2013. She dominated the tournament winning every match in straight sets. In the finals, she defeated Susanna Maltby of Glen Ellyn, Illinois, 6-2, 6-0. Open to players of different age groups, the prestigious “Little Mo” tournament is presented each year by the Maureen Connolly Brinker Tennis Foundation, Inc.

Priya Nelson lives in Sacramento and has been training with the JMG Tennis Academy since the age of five. “Priya is both highly dedicated and highly talented which is unique at her age,” said Joe Gilbert, Director of JMG Tennis Academy at Arden Hills. “I’ve been fortunate enough to coach her from the very beginning, and I just love catching talented young players early like that. It’s easy to see Priya’s headed for lots of future success and it will be very exciting to watch her journey.”

Led by Academy Director Joseph Morris Gilbert, the JMG Tennis Academy at Arden Hills is open to dedicated tournament players throughout the greater Sacramento region between the ages of 8 to 21. Interested young athletes must apply, be assessed and try-out for a coveted position in the growing year-round Academy. The high performance program demands a high level of dedication from players, parents and coaches, and the players are selected based on their work ethic, attitude and skill.

For more information about the JMG Tennis Academy at Arden Hills, or other high performance and/or recreational tennis programs available at Arden Hills, please call 916-482-6111 or visit www.ardenhills.net.

Kennedy Women’s Varsity Volleyball clinched the Metro Champ Title

The Kennedy Women’s Varsity Volleyball team clinched the Metro League Championship title at home versus Burbank on Tuesday, Nov. 5. It was Senior Night and the gym was completely decked out with green and yellow and families held up decorated posters with photos of their star players.

It was an expected win for the team that had essentially won just about every game all season. The gym is adorned with scores of pennants and League Championship Banners, but none of them until now have belonged to a women’s volleyball team.

During the first practice of the season, the team used athletic tape to stick a large “FTV” onto the empty wall space behind the bench. The team goal all season has been to “Fill The Void.” On that Tuesday after the big win, Coach Aaron Pollock charged up the stairs and took down that tape, making way for the League Championship banner.

Minutes after beating Burbank, Kayla Nodohara, the team’s libero, which is a defensive specialist position, described the night’s excitement to the Pocket News: “Winning the game was amazing, especially because it was Senior Night. It was the first Metro League Championship for our team ever. It was amazing. The crowd was here. All of our families were here. It just made everything so much better. It was a big ceremony for us.”

While the historic game was one the team knew they would win, Nodohara said: “Just the pressure of having to win the banner. It was more pressure, but it fueled our fire to have us play harder.”

Nodohara said this year the team’s chemistry couldn’t be beat. “This year, I definitely think we had a lot of team chemistry, which helps on and off the court. Being such good friends off the court makes us better together as a team on the court. I think it works both ways.”

Pollock, who’s also a science teacher at Kennedy, agrees. “This team is truly a team, with great team chemistry. They all get along with each other, and love playing with each other. We have no selfish attitudes or any of the drama that can destroy team chemistry. They have all bought into my philosophy of ‘Best Effort Every Time’. They never get down on themselves, they never get down on each other, and they never give up. They have dedicated themselves to getting better every day. I am fortunate to have great leadership in team Captains Kayla Nodohara, Peyton Trotter, and Selesitina Felise,” he said.

Pollock played two years at Kennedy, and three years at Sacramento State University back in the 1990s. He coached six years of freshmen/Junior Varsity. This year is his eighth season as varsity coach.

He said he has coached some very skilled volleyball players in his career, but never had this many all-around skilled players with such a high volleyball IQ on one roster.

“This is the first time in my coaching career that I have been able to run the same advanced offensive plays that I ran as a college player. Nothing makes a coach prouder than teaching a skill at practice one day and seeing this team go out and execute the same skill effectively at the next game,” he said.

Being an anatomy and physiology teacher, Pollock said he can’t resist the opportunity to bring science lessons and analogies into practice. Bringing physics to the court, he explained how they serve with low altitude and high velocity, which refers to forces and torque; for geometry, he explained how they attack and defend with correct angles while controlling the proper arc of the ball; for geography, he said they contact the ball on the North Pole, or Equator. “We also spend a lot of practice time addressing the psychology of sports as well.”

MEET THE SENIORS

NATALIE WILSON
Natalie Wilson has been playing volleyball at Kennedy since her freshmen year and is so glad that she has been able to have the opportunity to play for all four years of high school. To show her appreciation, she would like to thank her sister Heather for getting her interested in the sport, her mother and father for encouraging her to do her best, her freshmen coach, Kelsey, for helping her figure out what position she would play, her junior varsity coach, Becky, for teaching her how to pass properly, and her varsity coach, coach Pollock for all the encouragement and dedication to his team. Finally she wants to thank all her teammates for everything and to let them know how wonderful they’ve been, because they have made this season her favorite of all time.

STACEY LEE
On Senior Night, Stacey Lee was escorted by her parents Eddie Lee and Kelli Omoto-Lee and her cousins Niki and Brianna Fujimoto. Stacey has been part of the Kennedy volleyball program for four years. One of her favorite memories from this year is doing the ropes course with her teammates at Sac State. She loves how well everyone on the team has bonded and loves how she can always count on her teammates. Stacey would like to thank her parents for driving her to practices and games in her early years of volleyball and for being at all of her games to cheer her on. She also would like to give a big thanks to all of her coaches for helping her improve her skills and for encouraging her to progress through the volleyball program. She will greatly miss all of the fun times she had during volleyball and will miss her wonderful volleyball family.

BLAKE FLETCHER
Blake Fletcher might not have height, but the girl has hops. Being placed as an outside hitter was an amazing experience during her four years of playing high school volleyball. During her games her sister would yell: “Blake, shut it down. Shut it down!” And what did she do? She shut it down. Before her games, she would watch Long Beach Women’s Volleyball clips over and over picturing herself playing on that court one day for her dream team. Blake says her team is her family. She will never forget their late night practices when they were all super hyper for no reason. The promise the Lady Cougars made at 1 a.m. in Peyton’s backyard and she will remember messing with Jamie (aka Baby J) during practice and the laughs she and Kesha had watching vine videos of Terio doing the “ooooo kill ‘em dance’. Blake knew her senior year playing volleyball would be special and she always knew she would have her shine. She plans on attending Long Beach State and being an official college volleyball player. She feels blessed for her talent and thanks all her coaches, friends and family for their support.

EMELINE KOLOAMATANGI

Emeline Koloamatangi was escorted by her family and her S.P.D. crew. Emeline has been a part of the JFK volleyball team for all four years and has played middle hitter the entire time. She loves being with her family and friends and is the third Koloamatangi to go through the volleyball program. After high school, she plans to further her education and go to college where she will major in criminal justice. Emeline enjoyed being with her team and is very proud of them for all the hard work and historic achievement. She wants to thank Coach Pollock and the rest of the coaches for all the help. She also wants to thank her family for all the support and thank her S.P.D. crew for cheering her on.

KESHA COFFEE
Kesha Coffee stands 5-foot, 10-inches as the team’s middle hitter/blocker. She likes to think that her game is tighter than her spandex. Volleyball is a huge part of Kesha’s life. She puts 110 percent into her volleyball career. Kesha stated: “Volleyball is my passion and I just want to show the world the gift God gave me. Crushing balls into the ground, blocking the opposing teams’ hits, literally diving and crashing into the ground to save a ball, I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.” She loves her team, and says she wouldn’t have wanted to be on a team with any other players or coaches. She’d like to thank Coach Pollock, Becky, Jeff, Sarah, Serena, Kelsey and Kira for teaching her the game of volleyball over the past five years. If things go as planned, she hopes to be on the CSU Long Beach team and make the transition from a JFK Cougar to a Long Beach 49er volleyball player after high school. Volleyball is her passion and she just doesn’t play for herself, she plays for the name on the back of her jersey, her team, her coaches and her mother. Kesha is ecstatic about her team being first place in the metro league and getting that banner. All she is ever talking about is a banner, and volleyball. This kid is seriously volleyball obsessed. She says her favorite part of the game besides actually playing is the cheering. Mr. Trotter and his crazy slogans, such as: “Welcome to Kesha’s block party” when she got four consecutive blocks in a row and just her friends cheering her on every game night. This was an amazing year for Kesha in volleyball and she hopes to continue her volleyball career long after high school.

SELESITINA FELISE
As a JFK volleyball player for four years, Selesitina Felise has had so much passion for the game. She was escorted by her grandparents Temukisa and Uiese Vaefaga, her parents David and Elizabeth Felise, her sister Tmukisa Felise, along with many aunts, uncles, cousins, and close friends who have been there to support her through out her volleyball career. Starting out as a freshman on JF as captain and starting setter, she learned the basic fundamentals and aspects of volleyball. Sele’s sophomore year, she was moved up to varsity for playoffs. Junior and Senior year playing for coach Aaron Pollock, she has learned a lot, especially to never ever salute a ref. Playing for JFK volleyball there has never been a dull moment.

KK
KK was escorted by her mom and dad at Senior Night. She has played volleyball for Kennedy all four years and has enjoyed every moment. She wanted to thank Coach Pollock for coaching her for the past three years and for teaching her more about volleyball every day. She would also like to thank her parents for driving her to all the games and practices and for supporting her throughout her time as a Kennedy volleyball player. KK would also like to thank her cousin Alyssa and Uncle Kent for introducing her to volleyball at a young age. She will never forget receiving her first volleyball lessons on the driveway of Bachan’s house. And last but not least KK would like to thank her teammates for making her a better player and for creating some of the best memories. Through blood: like splitting her chin against Pleasant Grove, sweat: starting volleyball season in the middle of July and tears: like losing to Rosemont for the past three years. Her teammates were always there. And of course there were the good times she will never forget like, the ropes course, sleepover and random “torque” sessions at practice. KK is thankful for the great experience she has had playing volleyball for Kennedy.

PEYTON TROTTER
Peyton was escorted by her parents, younger brother and additional family members and her supportive friends. This is her fourth year playing volleyball and her third year on varsity. When she first tried out Peyton said she never thought she would actually like volleyball let alone make the team. But with the help of her parents, Jewell and Todd Trotter, her JV coach, Serena Bockelman and her varsity coach, Aaron Pollock, she has excelled as an athlete and has grown to love the sport more than she ever thought possible. When she looks back at her last few seasons in this program, one of her favorite memories was when her team was riding the bus back to school after a playoff game her sophomore year and out of nowhere the whole group decided to circle up and have a rap battle the entire two hour ride home. She said it was so unexpected and so fun that she could never forget that night. Although this was her last season at Kennedy, Peyton will never forget all that she has learned in this program. She wants her coaches to know that she is very thankful for everything they have done for her whether it be on the court or in the classroom. Peyton also wants to thank her teammates for making this year the best it could be considering they are all in position to take home a championship and earn the first women’s volleyball banner every to be hung in JFK’s gym.
Finally Peyton wants to thank her family, especially her little brother Todd, for coming to all her games and cheering her on as she plays the sport she loves the most.

editor@valcomnews.com

Kennedy tennis playoffs and metro champs a success

From left to right: Elyse Ching, Liz Fung, Shannon Lee, Anstonia Ma, Tracy Fang, Katrina Jiang, Aloni Onodera, and Coach Teweles   (For Metro League Conference Doubles Championships)

From left to right: Elyse Ching, Liz Fung, Shannon Lee, Anstonia Ma, Tracy Fang, Katrina Jiang, Aloni Onodera, and Coach Teweles (For Metro League Conference Doubles Championships)

The John F. Kennedy High School Varsity team, consisting of six seniors Anstonia Ma, Shannon Lee, Tracy Fang, Aloni Onodera, Louise Lee, and Becky Mok; six juniors Elyse Ching, Katrina Jiang, Liz Fung, Nicci Fong, Maddie Loui, and Julie Remen), and 2 sophomores (Karen Tsai and Sharon Wong) made it to the Metro League Championships and Playoffs, following a tradition set a few years back. But making those two accomplishments is not the main focus of today’s story. What really astounds is how two young ladies made it farther than many of their predecessors and made school history.

It was a cold morning on Halloween as six members of the Kennedy Varsity Team (Anstonia Ma, Aloni Onodera, Becky Mok, Elyse Ching, Liz Fung, Louise Lee, Nicci Fong, Shannon Lee, Tracy Fang) joined their coach (Coach Teweles) to prepare for their battles on the court.. Anstonia and Shannon were the only ones to get past the first round, but Elyse, Tracy, Katrina, and Aloni put up a long fight before losing 2-8 to their strong opponents.  Shannon and Anstonia then proceeded to play a Valley team that had beat Rosemont 8-1. What ensued was a drawn out game that resulted in a first set tiebreaker. The outcome was a 7-6 and 6-2 win for Kennedy.

The Semi-Finals was the primary stage where skills were really tested. Kennedy lost the first set 0-6 but rebounded just as fast to win the second set 7-5. The third set which would determine everything was beyond stressful as neither side was giving up. Finally, after what seemed to be an eternity, Kennedy won the set point leading to the final set count of 6-4. That was the first time that Kennedy had made it to the finals for the Metro League Championships. They became qualified to go to League Sectionals the following Thursday at Johnson Ranch in Roseville to play the finalists from various other regions. On that day, Anstonia and Shannon made Kennedy history as the first doubles team to disrupt McClatchy’s annual winning streak.
 
Anstonia Ma plays on the tennis team.

3 of the 4 CKM Jr Lions football teams made the playoffs

CKM Jr. Lions Pee Wee team won the SYF Division 4 Championship with a 41-0 win over Golden Sierra Jr. Wolfpack on Sunday, Nov. 3. They completed an undefeated season at 9-0. The CKM Jr. Lions Football & Cheer is an affiliate of Sacramento Youth Football League.

McClatchy star athletes return to CKM to teach and coach for over 90 years

Four of C. K. McClatchy’s greatest athletes chosen for this year’s CKM Sports Hall of Fame returned to McClatchy and have 90 years of coaching experience. The induction ceremony will be held Friday night October 11 at the Asian Sports Foundation off Laguna Blvd.

Mike Nishio (1963), an all-city running back on two Metro-League football championship teams, returned as a teacher, coach, and athletic director is the first member to be recognized. Last year the Hall of Fame honored Bill Whiteneck and Roger Swearingen who also returned to teach and coach at CKM.

John Warren (1971), an all-city defensive back who intercepted four passes on Thanksgiving Day against Sacramento High and an outstanding high school pitcher who played on the 1971 baseball team that lost only one game, is the second athlete chosen for the 2013 Sports Hall of Fame who returned to teach and coach at McClatchy.

A third CKM Sports Hall of Fame inductee is Brad Klopp (1972) who played both baseball and basketball while at McClatchy before returning to become a coach and counselor for more than 30 years.

The last member of the 2013 inductees who graduated from McClatchy but came back to coach is Jeff Ota (1978). Ota, one of the greatest shooters in McClatchy basketball history and a two-time all-city player, also had a son and daughter play for the Lions basketball teams.

In his junior year at McClatchy, Ota at 5’9”, led the Sacramento area in scoring. In 2000 he was named one of the top 100 basketball players ever in the Sacramento area. Ota went on to star at Sacramento City College, Humboldt State, and San Francisco State. One of the highlights of his career was leading SF State to a victory over Sacramento State that clinched the title.

Ota, a Sacramento businessman, returned to McClatchy in 2004 to help Harvey Tahara coach the girls basketball team and eventually coached his daughter, Trish. In 2009 he became the head boys basketball coach and later coached his son Troy.

As a basketball official, I was fortunate to officiate Jeff in many Asian league basketball games over the years. He was extremely competitive, a team leader, and probably one of the greatest shooters and scorer I have ever seen in 45 years of officiating. I once saw him score over 30 points in the first half of an Asian league high school game.

Ota has been married to Julie for 25 years, and she put up with him building an indoor gym at the house. Over the years from his gym, Jeff has taught more than 100 players the proper techniques of shooting a basketball.

When asked what brought him back to McClatchy to coach, he commented, “I just like the vibe at the school; it is truly integrated, and I feel comfortable here.”

Mike Nishio, pound for pound, was one of the toughest football players I have ever watched. With Tommy Tash up the middle and Nishio off-tackle or around the end, the 1962 Lions were one of the best teams in the area. Mike made all-city in the Sacramento Union and later played in the Elks Valley all-star game in Lodi.

Mike attended San Jose State where he played freshman football but came home and graduated from Sacramento State. He returned to McClatchy in 1984 after teaching at Fern Bacon. He coached the freshman boys basketball team for 16 years along with freshman football to give the Lions outstanding coaching leadership in the 1980’s and 90’with many outstanding teams.

From 1984 to 2004, Nishio coached football, basketball, tennis, and golf for the Lions and was the athletic director from 1996 to 2003. He even assumed the role as interim head boys basketball coach for one year.

Mike and Aileen have been married for 45 years. Mike coached his daughter Cindy in tennis and his son Matt in basketball and golf.

Klopp, who played on the Airport Little League team that went to the Little League World Series in the 1960’s, played both baseball and basketball for the Lions. In his senior year, he was the team’s most valuable player, and chosen “all tournament” in two pre-season basketball tournaments. He was also an outstanding baseball player.

Klopp played basketball at Sacramento City College and became one of Sacramento’s top javelin throwers at Sac City and Sacramento State. Brad would show his true loyalty to the Lions by returning to McClatchy as a coach where he coached multiple sports for 30 years while teaching and counseling at the junior high level. He finally got on the McClatchy staff in 1999 as a counselor after 21 years of off-campus service.

Along with Nishio (frosh), Klopp (sophs), and Tahara (varsity) the Lions boys basketball program was one of the best in the Sacramento area throughout the 1980’s and 90’s, winning many Metro League championships at all three levels. Klopp alone won four Metro League JV titles as coach and had a 54-game win streak at one point.

From 1989 to 95 Klopp took over as head football coach from Bob Sandoval winning a Metro League championship during that time. In 1995 he began a 12-year stint as head varsity basketball coach where he would again win a Metro League championship.

Keeping this all in the family and bleeding true Lion red, Brad married his high school sweetheart Ronda (who was also his basketball scorekeeper for almost 30 years), and his daughter Nicole played soccer, volleyball, and basketball for CKM.

John Warren is the fourth inductee who also bleeds Lion red. I first met John as a 14-year-old playing in the Land Park Pony League with Terry Teale, another inductee. I was also fortunate to have John in a summer school US history class in 1969 where he was one of my very top students.

To say that John is a Renaissance Man would be understating it. He has been an outstanding science teacher at CKM for 36 years. Dr. Warren holds a Masters Degree and PhD in Physiology. He developed the AP biology class for McClatchy that most university-bound seniors take.

In 1971 Warren was named all-Metro League and all-city as a defensive back in football. His greatest claim to fame was that Sac High quarterback Tony Thomas threw him four passes in a Turkey Day game setting a single game section record for interceptions that will probably never be broken.

Warren also pitched and played on the 1970 section champion baseball team and became a star pitcher on the 1971 team that lost only one game. Accepted to Stanford, John chose instead to attend UC Davis where he played one year of football and four years of baseball.

Warren has been an assistant football coach for 30 years, and he has also coached JV and frosh baseball (10 years) as well as basketball and track.

When you look up in the sky at night with a telescope, you might even see the John Warren Star. One of his ex-students who went back during the summer to Harvard discovered an un-named star. So she named it after her favorite science teacher, John Warren.

The 2013 C. K. McClatchy Hall of Fame players and teams come primarily from the years 1963-1979. Next year we will plan to choose athletes and teams from the 1980’s as well as going back and picking up athletes/teams we missed from the first 40 years.