This is our year-end “Best of Sports 2018”. We’ve featured some of the standout performances from the foothills area over the spring time, but now we’ll finish up with the fall season.
THROUGH THE FIRE
One of the brightest shining moments of 2018 came in the wake of tragedy and devastation.
The Forest Lake Christian volleyball team epitomized human kindness for a suffering community that lost nearly everything in the Camp Fire.
When the Lady Falcons hosted Paradise Adventist Academy in a Northern California regional playoff match, they provided one of the warmest welcomes Paradise residents for have ever imagined.
The Forest Lake community raised more than $16,000, including food, clothes, toiletries and full uniforms and volleyball gear for the fire-ravaged neighbors to the North.
The kindness demonstrated by Forest Lake gave a sense of restored faith in humanity.
FOOTHILL DOMINANCE ON THE GRIDIRON
What a year for football in the foothills. Placer, Del Oro, Colfax and Bear River were all unbeaten for the first eight weeks of the season. The Bruins’ only two losses of the year came to Colfax.
All four competed for a Sac-Joaquin Section championship with Colfax winning its fifth and Del Oro completing the task for its 12th overall. Both the Falcons and the Golden Eagles had a fourth-quarter shot at a state championship as well.
Foresthill at 5-5 also finished its best season since 2013, concluding with a thrilling 26-25 season-finale against Valley Christian Academy.
THE GIRLS CAN PLAY TOO
Bear River senior Shelbi Beghetti made history on the gridiron, becoming the first female ever to score a touchdown for the Bruins’ football program. Beghetti took a 1-yard handoff into the house during Bear River’s Oct. 3 49-0 trouncing of Lindhurst.
In total, Beghetti rushed 20 times for 31 yards in 2018 while also fulfilling duties on the defensive line for the Bruins.
RUNNING AWAY FROM THE FIELD
Even with a longstanding history of excellence of Del Oro cross-country, the future seems even brighter.
Eagle freshman Riley Chamberlain took the cross-country circuit by storm, winning 11 of her 12 races in 2018. She also won the Sierra Foothill League, Sac-Joaquin Section and State championships all during her first year at Del Oro. She also earned a spot in the National Championship race in Portland, Oregon.
Speaking of cross-country excellence, the Placer boys team earned its 10th overall section championship, tying for the fourth-most all-time. Led by individual champ Jesus Guerra-Reyes, Placer took third as a team at the state finals.
The Foresthill and Del Oro girls reached the state finals as well. Forest Lake junior and D-V section champ Amber Jackson and Del Oro’s D-III boys section champ Brayden McLaughlin each placed third overall at the state final individually.
A plethora of Most Valuable Player hardware was spread across the foothills this fall.
Bear River’s Callie Bickmore and Colfax’s Halle Neumann shared MVP honors for Pioneer Valley League volleyball. The Falcons’ Jake Green (offensive) and Tucker Klopotek (defensive) were the PVL’s top football players, and head coach Tony Martello, who earned his 200th career win early in the season, was the PVL Coach of the Year.
Placer, who won its seventh straight league championship, represented extremely well in the Foothill Valley League awards department. Coach of the Year Joey Montoya, Offensive Player of the Year Hans Grassmann, Co-Defensive Players of the Year Chase Laguana-Scott and Chandler Dakin and Co-Linemen of the Year Joey Capra, Blake Baughman and Colton McElroy underlined the FVL’s best.
For good measure, Placer’s Amy Hiatt took the MVP of the Optimist All-Star volleyball game in December.
MORE SECTION CHAMPS
Led by Sierra Foothill League Co-MVP Ali Isaac, the Del Oro girls tennis team won the D-II Sac-Joaquin Section title over league rival Granite Bay. It was Del Oro’s first tennis title since 1989.
Isaac also paired with Emma Dobson to beat Rocklin’s Canela Luna and Roxana Shahi for the Division I doubles section crown.
Bear River took the D-V girls golf title over runner-up Colfax, who featured the top D-V individual golfer, Jordan Rooker.
Sierra College athletics had a banner year for many fall sports. Women’s water polo won not only the school’s first state championship, but it was the first state crown for any Northern California community college in the women’s pool. Shanti Reisinger’s overtime penalty shot lifted the Wolverines to the championship against Fullerton.
After starting the year with 20 straight wins, the women’s soccer team finished 2018 as its winningest season ever. At 22-2-1, the Wolverines fell one win shy of reaching the state tournament.
The women’s volleyball team won its third straight Big 8 Conference title with a 14-2 record. The Wolverines were 23-5 overall and fell to eventual state champion American River College in the NorCal Tournament.
At 7-4, the Wolverines’ football team finished with its best record since the 2008 season and ended the season with a 24-10 victory over Sacramento City in the Grizzly Bowl, held at Sierra College.
OUR OWN LOCAL HALL-OF-FAMER
After decades of outstanding local coverage and an encyclopedic knowledge of all things regional sports, Gold Country Media sports contributor Mike Ray was inducted into the Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in October.
GCM thanks and congratulates Mr. Ray for everything he does for the local sports community.
We’re looking forward to 2019. Happy New Year!