Del Oro athletes compete at colleges

By: Mike Ray, Loomis News Sports Editor
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Several former Del Oro High athletes are continuing their athletic careers at the collegiate level this spring and, as they did when they wore Black and Gold, they are all helping their teams by making positive contributions.

Here’s a quick rundown on how some of those ex-Del Oro athletes are faring this spring.

Brett Bacharach, UC Davis, Tennis: A year ago, Bacharach was competing against the likes of players from Roseville and Woodcreek in Sierra Foothill League play. Now, despite being just a freshman, Bacharach is holding down the No. 4 singles spot for the NCAA Div. I Aggies.  To date, the 2012 Del Oro graduate is 8-6 in singles play and 8-5 in doubles competition for the Aggies, who are 4-7 on the season. UC Davis will host the University of Hawaii Saturday, at 2 p.m. in Davis.

Whitney Smith, Fresno State, Softball: Another freshman who has been thrust into a starting role, Smith has taken over the Bulldogs’ second base position after an injury to Brooke Ortiz. Smith has played in all 36 of Fresno State’s games and in last Saturday’s 4-3 win over Nevada stroked a two-run single. Earlier, playing before family and friends against Texas State in the Sacramento State tournament, Smith rapped her first collegiate home run in helping Fresno notch a 6-5 win.  Fresno State is currently 21-15 on the season and 2-1 in Mt. West Conference action.

Casey Wheeler, Sacramento State, Track:  When he graduated last June, Wheeler had set both hurdle records at Del Oro. He capped off a fine senior season by placing 6th in the state meet in the 300 hurdles. Both Del Oro marks by Wheeler, 14.26 in the 110H and 37.53 in the 300H, were set at the state meet. This season, Wheeler has stepped off a 14.69 when he finished third in the 110 hurdles at the Aggie Classic and a 53.40 for first place in the 400 intermediate hurdles at the Hornet Invitational.

Ryan Xepoleas, Santa Rosa Community College, Baseball: After a standout freshman season last year at SRCC, Xepoleas has already signed a letter of intent to play next season at George Washington University, a Div. I, NCAA school in Arlington, Va. An outfielder with the Bear Cubs, this season the 2011 Del Oro graduate is hitting .292 with 13 RBIs and an on base percentage of .447.  Xepoleas’ Santa Rosa team is 21-3 on the season and currently in a battle with Sierra College for the lead in the Big 8 Conference.