Falcons took flight in winter

Snowboarders carved out state title, while girls, boys surged on the basketball court
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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As the temperatures dipped, Colfax High athletics got better and better in 2009-10.
The Falcons soared in the winter as both basketball teams were back contending for section titles and the snow sports squads were some of the best in the state.
On the hardwood, the Colfax boys retained its status as the top team in the Pioneer Valley League after a one-year hiatus. The Falcons didn’t stop there. They cruised through the first three rounds of the playoffs before falling to speedy Modesto Christian 88-80 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV title game at Arco Arena.
In the CIF Northern California playoffs, Colfax knocked off Sutter before falling to St. Mary’s of Berkeley. The Falcons finished the season 27-6 under first-year coach Mike O’Connell.
Senior Ryan Salmonsen was the surprise of the foothills’ basketball season. The 6-8 center emerged as a force in the paint, averaging 14 points and 7.4 rebounds per game to pace the Falcons.
Senior Justin Witt was the emotional leader for Colfax with his scoring punch (12 points per game), playmaking and defense. Kyle Greer was a true defensive stopper and Joey Jergo could score in a variety of ways.
Junior Chase Mosier was a spark as the Falcons’ sixth man and will be a key for Colfax next season along with returning point guard Austin Oberg.
Girls Basketball: Under first-year coach Dave Campbell, the Falcons came out of nowhere and wound up making the section semifinals for the first time since 2004.
Using a fine-tuned offense and gritty defense, Colfax took second place in the PVL, then won a pair of home games to start the playoffs. Only an overtime loss to Argonaut kept the Falcons from advancing to Arco Arena for the championship game. The Falcons picked up a win in the CIF NorCal playoffs at Central Valley before falling to McKinleyville to end the season 19-13.
Seniors Cassandra Campbell, Audrey Lewis and Kacy Capuchino keyed the Falcons’ success while junior forward Michelle Walker was one of the most improved players in the area. Junior April Littlejohn was excellent at point guard while Erica Heikila and Haley Biles also contributed.
Snowboarding: After parading to the top of the podium all season, the Colfax boys didn’t change their ways at the California-Nevada Interscholastic Ski and Snowboard Federation State Championships.
Austin Leal took second and Danny Kern was third, leading the Falcons to the state title. In the slalom, Mackey Leal took sixth and Isaac Merrit was 12th for Colfax. In the giant slalom, Nick Ash took 19th and Sam Rydell was 23rd to help the cause.
In a Feb. 8 giant slalom competition at Squaw Valley, Colfax had the top five finishers in the boys race.
Colfax freshman Nelly Steinhoff had a brilliant start to her career, taking fifth in the overall at the state championships.
Skiing: Allison Gutierrez took fifth at the state championships to cap a great season for the Falcons. Meanwhile Nicola Lorang was ninth as the Colfax girls finished second to Placer as a team.
Wrestling: Colfax’s young squad could not keep up with the top teams in the PVL, though senior Vinny Coralejo wrestled well, taking fifth at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV meet at 152 pounds. Sophomore Ken Mathe also made a surprise run to sixth place in Division IV at 215.
The Falcons returned to the postseason after falling short in 2008, though they took an unconventional path to get there. Colfax’s Pat Rawlins rushed for a school-record 1,559 yards to lead the Falcons, who finished 6-5 and fell to eventual section champion Modesto Christian in the opening round of the Div. IV playoffs.
Among the highlights for the Falcons was a Monday-night thriller at Bear River, which the visitors pulled out 31-30 in overtime. Colfax nearly nipped Placer before falling 34-27 at Le Febvre Stadium.
Expect the Falcons to contend in the PVL in 2010 as linebacker Tommy Baldoni leads a tough defense.
Volleyball: Coach Vicky Satterlee’s squad took second in the PVL with some great play from seniors Audrey Lewis, Cassandra Campbell and Amber Cramer.
Sophomore setters Haley Biles and Iona Lofrano played key roles while senior Holly Klang and Erica Heikila provided steady play for the Falcons, who fell at Orestimba in the first round of the Div. IV playoffs.
Boys soccer: Senior Steven Smith led the team in scoring (20 goals) and assists (7) as the Falcons finished 12-11 and took fourth in the PVL.
Cross country: The Colfax girls raced to a second-place finish at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championships, paced by senior Sara Howard, who took third individually. Junior Haley Walker was seventh individually.
Senior Nick Read turned capped a strong individual career by taking fourth at the section meet.
Girls soccer:
The Falcons’ nemesis Whitney kept them from winning a Pioneer Valley League crown, but the Wildcats couldn’t spoil an outstanding season in Colfax.
The Falcons were unbeaten until May 5 when they lost to Whitney in a match to decide the PVL title. They finished the year 19-2-3 overall after falling to West Campus 2-1 in the second round of the Division IV play offs.
Colfax’s senior class was sensational. Senior Ashley Tobiasz led the team in scoring with 16 goals. Ashley Broussard and Kate Bianchi anchored the defense. Kelly Johnston and Hailey Davidson were strong in the midfield and Kacy Capuchino and Adrienne Van Auker played well up front. French foreign exchange student Mathilde Bosgiraud gave the Falcons some extra offensive pizzazz and senior goalkeeper Amber Cramer was one of the best in the section.
Softball: A young Falcons’ squad battled to finish 6-6 in the PVL and 9-12 overall. Cassandra Campbell was the lone senior on the team and starred at shortstop and at the plate. Sophomore Randi Anderson improved in the pitcher’s circle while Ashley Scott, Steffany Dunn and Caressa Sharpe played well for the Falcons.
Swimming: The Colfax boys and girls had a strong spring in the pool under first-year coach Lori Osmond. On the girls side, Lyndee DeShane, Erin Peskin and Jessica Glazner all advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships in Lodi. Rick Tuttle, Kyle Barney, Anthony Giuliani and Isaac Merritt led the Colfax boys.
Tennis: The Colfax tennis squad had a tough time keeping up with league powers Placer and Bear River despite several outstanding individual efforts.
Laura Zajac turned in an excellent season at the top of the Falcons’ lineup. Justin Witt was also strong, teaming up with Carissa Millanes to take second in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III mixed doubles tournament.
Track and field: The Falcons were shorthanded in many of their dual meets, but had some excellent individual performers in the spring.
Senior Emily Colon led the way, winning the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III title in the discus. Allison Gutierrez was a standout in the hurdles while Sara Howard shined in the 3200 meters. Haley Biles had a strong season in the 400 and Jacey Crane was a leader in the pole vault.
Senior Nick Read led the Colfax boys with his second place finish at the Division III meet in the 3200. Connor Sullivan took fifth in the 400 and Michael Manning and Evan Kaiser had strong seasons in the pole vault. Pat Rawlins and Brennan Holman were outstanding in the horizontal jumps. Adam Pugh was a standout in the discus.
Boys golf: The Falcons fell from their perch at the top of the PVL, finishing 2-10, though Patrick Cabrera earned all-Pioneer Valley League honors.
Loren Sunding was much improved for Colfax while Chris Bauer was a consistent low scorer. Freshman Paul Ramseth showed promise for the young Colfax squad.
Baseball: The Falcons had a tough year on the diamond, finishing 4-16 overall and 0-12 in the PVL.