From the elementary schools and youth recreation programs to community athletics and Del Oro High, Loomis is a hotbed for sports. I’ve covered sports in the foothills for the Auburn Journal since November 2007, following more than two years on the sports desk at the Fairfield Daily Republic in Solano County. My sports reporting began at age 12 in Arcata, a small college town on California’s North Coast, where I spent five years covering high school and community sports for the Arcata Eye, a weekly paper that shares many qualities with the Loomis News. In terms of sports, tight-knit towns like Loomis foster some of the most exciting competition and intriguing storylines. As evidence, just look at a few of the many outstanding athletes produced by this community. Sally Edwards, a 1964 Del Oro graduate, has completed more than 150 races, including 16 Ironman Triathlons. She was selected to the Triathlon Hall of Fame in 1999. Don Verlin, a 1983 Del Oro alumni, is the head men’s basketball coach at University of Idaho. In 1996, Randy Fasani and James Irvin played football together on Del Oro’s league champion squad. Fasani, one of five brothers, passed for more than 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns during his career with the Eagles before graduating to call plays at Stanford. He played in four games for the Carolina Panthers in 2002. Irvin went a different route after his days on Del Oro’s gridiron. He attended Azusa Pacific before entering mixed martial arts. The former World Extreme Cagefighting champion earned his nickname, “The Sandman,” and has compiled a 14-5-1 overall MMA record. Most recently, 1999 Del Oro product Mark McLemore became the first Eagle to play Major League Baseball when he made his Houston Astros debut two years ago. There are more sports stars waiting in the wings, more stories waiting to be told. The fact is that there’s much more to Loomis sports than tradition-rich Del Oro football. I need your help in recognizing the hard work of dedicated athletes and coaches in this community. Whether it’s fencing or fishing, darts or dodgeball, please call or e-mail me to share your story suggestions. I’m happy to be a part of the Loomis News and the town’s enthusiastic sports community. I look forward to working with you in the days ahead. Eric Gourley can be reached at (530) 852-0244 or firstname.lastname@example.org.