Placer squads blooming in springtime

By: Todd Mordhorst, Journal Sports Editor
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It’s spring, and that’s almost always good news for Placer High’s athletic program. The Hillmen are once again dominating the Pioneer Valley League and in some cases in desperate need of a serious challenge. The Placer track team is crushing the rest of the PVL — and most of the Sac-Joaquin Section for that matter. The Placer boys in particular are talented and deep, led by pole vaulter/high jumper Derrick Hinch, who could be the next Hillman to take his talents to the major college level. The Placer tennis program is even more dominant. Seniors Andy Riggs and Dan Fraguglia are on another level while yet another foreign exchange student — Marco Varela of Italy — has made an impact for the Hillmen. Coach Tom Isaac’s boys would no doubt love to get a shot at coach Jen Isaac’s Del Oro boys’ team, but Placer’s co-ed tennis program makes that an impossibility. The Placer girls are holding up their side of the deal for the tennis squad, led by senior Amelia Arnold. Coach Larry Prewitt won’t take anything for granted, but his Placer baseball team is looking like a PVL juggernaut. No team in the league can match the Hillmen when it comes to experience or talent. Placer, which is hosting several night games at James Field for the first time this season, will see some tough competition over spring break at the Lions Invitational in San Diego next month. Placer hasn’t been able to break Colfax’s hold on the PVL golf scene. The three-time defending PVL champion Falcons are again undefeated. Colfax lost Colby Smith — now playing at UNLV — but looks unbeatable again with Derek Zachman emerging as an MVP candidate. … Shelby Madigan knew Kayla Campora as an opponent, but a postseason honor and a carpool brought the two basketball standouts together last week. Madigan, a Placer High senior, and Campora, a Forest Lake Christian senior, joined forces on the North squad for Saturday’s Optimist All-Star Game in Sacramento. They had faced each other in junior high and in AAU games numerous times over the years. Their respective high school squads never hooked up, but the two slick ball handlers stayed in touch throughout their careers and got one last chance to play together Saturday. qqq Todd Mordhorst’s column runs Sundays in the Auburn Journal. Comment online at