Tennis champs, girls softball top sport stories

By: Mike Ray, Gold Country News Service
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One of the top sports stories for Del Oro athletics in 2008-09 was the championship run by the Lady Eagles girls softball team. Savannah Pingree, shown above, was one of the team's mainstays and was selected as the Sierra Foothill League's Most Valuable Player If nothing else, the athletes and teams at Del Oro High in the 2008-09 school year kept their fans and followers on the edges of their seats with plenty of excitement and action-filled games. The Black and Gold teams had more than its share of highs and lows in ?08-09 and while there were many highlights, the school?s run to a boys section tennis championship and the return to glory of the girls softball program were at the top of the list. However, let?s not forget the outstanding seasons put forth in girls cross country, another CIF title, the wrestling program sending five grapplers to the state meet and the impressive efforts of Geoff Broyles? boys basketball squad and Mike Takayama?s hustling girls team. Here?s a quick season-by-season review of Del Oro sports for the last year. Fall While the success in the terms of wins and losses with Del Oro?s varsity football team slipped a bit in 2008 in comparison to recent years, the school?s JV and freshman football squads gave Golden Eagle fans plenty to cheer about. The Del Oro JVs completed an 8-2 season and shared the Sierra Foothill League title with Granite Bay. Top efforts for the team were turned in by Kenny Andri, Max Magleby, Tyler Adair, Cody O?Sullivan, Ryan Cope and Aaron Harvey. Del Oro?s frosh team, meanwhile, had a banner season of its own by posting a 10-0 record on its way to winning the SFL crown. Del Oro?s season included five shutout wins. Del Oro, which outscored its opponents by a 359-22 count, was sparked by the play of Bobby Heatherington, Nick O?Sullivan, Blake Covey, Russell Smith, Tylor Johnson, Aaron Thomas, Tanner Huber and Jake Jackson. In cross country, the Del Oro girls grabbed the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III championship. At the section meet, Del Oro received a 6-7-8-9 finish from Alissa Hood, Caitlin Devitt-Payne, Jessie Rozario and Emma Freeman on its way to easily outdistancing second place Placer by a 47-89 score. Alexa Lus, Kelsey Seaman and Megan Atkins also came in with top 20 performances. At the CIF State meet in Fresno, the Lady Eagles finished in 14th place as a team in Div. III. Del Oro?s girls golf team also excelled. The Lady Eagles won their second straight SFL title and finished second at the CIF Div. II sections to advance to the Masters tournament. Sisters Cami and Bailey Furgeson and Olivia and Cherie Nixon teamed with Danielle LaRose and Maddie Elder to bolster coach Hal Steinbach?s linksters. Winter Both the Del Oro boys and girls basketball teams and the school?s wrestling squad had outstanding seasons to highlight the winter sports scene for the Golden Eagles. Despite having a young squad, Geoff Broyles? boys hoopsters posted a record of 22-9 and advanced into the CIF NorCal Regional tournament after finishing second in the Sac-Joaquin Div. III tourney. Del Oro also finished second in a very competitive SFL race which included state power Rocklin. Top play was turned in by Spencer Butterfield, Brian Rowe, Nico Ruiz, Aaron Hendricks, Jon Root and Garrett Penney. The Golden Eagles also swept through three straight games in December to win its own Del Oro Invitational. In girls basketball, the Lady Eagles won their first 12 games of the season before suffering a loss then reeled off 14 more consecutive wins before finally completing their fine season at 26-2. The Lady Eagles featured a balanced attack led by Courtney Nolen, Madeline and Lucy Campbell, Meghan Huckaby, Katie Pulliam and Sam Hodge. Coach Mike Takayama?s girls won their fourth straight SFL championship pennant and advanced to the semi-final round of the CIF section playoffs. Del Oro?s wrestling team also stood out as Dave Sanchez?s Golden Eagles grabbed the SFL title and then sent several wrestlers deep into divisional and masters competition in the sections. Five Golden Eagles qualified for the CIF state meet including Corey Johnson, Jesse Stafford, Conner Morgan, Bobby Gallagher and Casey Shumacher. Stafford, at 140 pounds, earned a fourth place medal at the state event. Del Oro finished 25th as a team out of 50 squads. Spring The spring was a busy time for Del Oro athletes and teams with top efforts being turned in by the boys tennis team, girls softball and the boys golf and baseball squads. Del Oro?s boys tennis team, coached by Jen Isaac, won a tough season-closing match against Granite Bay to win a share of the SFL title, then saved its best for last in posting clutch wins over Rio Americano and Granite Bay to capture the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Div. III crown. Freshman Brett Bacha-rach, doubles players Taylor Carrington and Nick Koop and Brandt Steinmetz and Paul Villa all played key roles in the Del Oro success. Andrew Milton and Brandon Bailey were also solid for the Black and Gold. The year was 2003 the last time a Del Oro girls varsity softball team won a league championship. This season, the Lady Eagles rewrote the history book as coach John Peck?s squad got hot at the right time of the season and won several close key games down the stretch to win the SFL flag. The Lady Eagles also made a run in the playoffs reaching the Div. II finals before being eliminated. Pitcher Savannah Pingree was the SFL MVP and also had plenty of help from the likes of Jordan Courage, Annette Merjano, Aspen Echelmier, Olivia Nixon and Hannah George. Del Oro?s baseball squad, behind the pitching of Mason Magleby and Cole Perez and the hitting of Mike Schnell, Casey Cox, Ben Consulo and Fred Cargile, made a run at the SFL title and qualified for the playoffs. The Golden Eagles? track team also is sending pole vault ace Mackenzie Landry to this week?s state meet and golfer Austin Smotherman, only a freshman, qualified for the Masters tournament.