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Remembering a remarkable year in sports

By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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It was a banner sports year in 2011. There were remarkable feats, thrilling victories, gut-wrenching defeats and dynamic personalities on display. We at the Auburn Journal did our best to cover it all.
The following 10 stories were, in our judgement, the top stories of the year. Reflect, appreciate and give us your thoughts at AuburnJournal.com.
Del Oro football makes history, Bowl game
The Golden Eagles’ rich football history gained another major chapter last fall. Del Oro marched methodically to second straight titles in both the Sierra Foothill League and the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III tournament. The Eagles were then selected to represent Northern California in the CIF State Division II Bowl Championship in Carson.
Del Oro lost 35-24 to Helix, but it couldn’t put a damper on a remarkable 13 wins. Coach Casey Taylor credited the Eagles’ offensive line for leading the team all season. Seniors Zach Heath, Kevin Love and Logan Lamb paved the way for tailbacks Nick O’Sullivan and Brandon Monroe to combine for more than 3,000 yards.
Jornet becomes first international WS champion
One year after neglecting to carry water on the Western States Trail, Spaniard Kilian Jornet — water bottle in hand —cruised to victory at the Western States 100-mile Endurance Run in June.
Jornet became not only the first foreign runner to win the race from Squaw Valley to Auburn, he was also the youngest at age 23. He finished in 15 hours, 34 minutes on a course that was heavily altered due to unusually deep snow covering the first 30-plus miles of the trail.
Jornet outlasted a field that had been billed as one of the best ever at Western States. Geoff Roes, the 2010 champion and course record holder, dropped out of the race near the halfway point.
Canadian Ellie Greenwood joined the international party, winning the women’s title in 17:55.
Colfax boys basketball team wins section title
When Colfax High star Chase Mosier was carried off the court at Power Balance Pavilion last March, many figured the Falcons’ chances at a section title were going with him. But Colfax showed remarkable grit and beat Amador 53-44 to capture the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV title.
Mosier, who is now playing at Sierra College, averaged 20 points per game for the Falcons. In the section title game he went down in the third minute of the game. Colfax rallied behind Austin Oberg, who scored 15 points, and Elliot Forsman, who replaced Mosier in the lineup and scored seven points to go with three steals.
The Falcons finished the season 22-10.
Del Oro girls fall to nemesis St. Mary’s in Section, NorCal finals
The Del Oro High girls basketball progam’s best team ever gave one of the top teams in the country all it could handle, but came up short in its quest for both section and Nothern California titles last season.
St. Mary’s of Stockton – a familiar foe for the Golden Eagles for several years now – stopped Del Oro 70-65 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II title game. Despite the efforts of stellar seniors Madeline Campbell, Crystal Sewell, Belle Obert and Becky Duncan, the Eagles fell to the Rams 56-48 in the Nor-Cal Final.
Campbell moved on to the UC Santa Barbara basketball program. Sewell is playing at Chico State and Obert had an outstanding freshman volleyball season at Butler.
Placer soccer takes first league title, plays in section title game

Coach Mark Miller guided a talented senior class and a godsend of a foreign exchange student to historic heights on the soccer pitch at Placer High last fall.
Chilean exchange student Benjamin De La Barra earned Pioneer Valley League MVP honors in helping the Hillmen win their first league title this century. Seniors Eddie Santamaria, Ulises Bautista, Mauricio Vera and Ulises Arellano went out with a run to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship game. Placer lost to Natomas 1-0 and finished the season with an outstanding 19-3-4 record.
Bear River’s Nielsen wins Section team title, by herself
Kendal Nielsen set a meet record in the triple jump, won the long jump and placed forth in the 100 meters and the 200 to win the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Track & Field meet by herself.
Nielsen, who is now a senior, recently committed to compete at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo next year.
Placer boys cross country wins section crown

Senior Christian Finkbeiner capped his cross country career with an excellent showing to lead the Hillmen to their fifth Sac-Joaquin Section Division III championship.
Colfax football wins PVL title, records undefeated regular season
The Falcons weren’t the early favorites, but a huge road win over Placer turned heads, and eventually led to a second straight Pioneer Valley League football championship.
HIllmen rekindle rivalry with Del Oro on the gridiron
Placer High posted a hard-fought win over Patterson to open the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, setting up a highly anticipated second-round game in Loomis. More than 5,000 fans packed Golden Eagles Stadium for a game that the Hillmen led at the half. Turnovers crushed Placer’s upset hopes as Del Oro won 41-12 on its way to the section title.
Del Oro girls softball falls in section title game

The Golden Eagles put together a tremendous run to make the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II softball final. But a determined Casa Roble team was waiting and the Rams denied Del Oro the section crown with a 6-0 win at the Sacramento Softball Complex.
Expect the Eagles to soar again in 2012 as pitcher Jordan Courage returns along with a sensational senior class.