Show me the money: Community rallies to raise funds for Placer snowboard team

By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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Last year the Placer High snowboarding team had to deal with some financial woes. 
This year it seems like the Hillmen are getting plenty of help to try and avoid another similar situation. 
The Auburn community came together Wednesday at Old Town Pizza, raising funds for the Placer snowboard team which struggled last year in the post pay-to-play era. 
Donations were made from numerous businesses around town for the event, sponsored by Academy Snowboard Co. and Boards N Motion.
Raffle tickets were being sold by the dozens at a buck a pop for items such as lift tickets to Boreal/Woodward and Sugar Bowl, a $500 gift certificate from Consolidated Painting, two oil changes from Meritage Auto, an Academy snowboard, a Sage fly fishing rod courtesy of Ron Obray and $140 towards a gym membership to Fit1. 
Placer coach Mark Faulkner said the occasion would not be possible if not for the kind acts of Jeff Baughn of Academy Snowboards, who has organized the fundraiser for three consecutive years. 
“The guy has no intrinsic attachment to Placer High School,” Faulkner said of Baughn. “He doesn’t have any kids that go there. He has kids that use his gear, but every year he wants to put on one or more fundraisers to help kids that are low on funds. 
“It’s all about Jeff and Academy. I don’t have the time to put together the production he does and make all the contacts and run around. He does it without asking for anything in return. We’re benefiting on behalf of Academy’s work.”
The Placer team will begin practicing again around winter break, though some of the boarders have already gone up to Boreal themselves. The first meet of the season is Jan. 7 at Boreal.
“I’m every excited,” said junior T.J. Devaney, who was on last year’s varsity boys team, which won a state championship. “It’s cool to see a lot of perception this early.”
Top boarders on the varsity boys this season, according to Devaney, include Andrew Carrier, Scott Murkai, Jacob Peek, John Worthington …
“And me, of course,” Devaney added. 
Devaney also believes his team will repeat as state champs, but Faulkner said that’s not what the team is all about.
 “It’s not what the kids are about,” the coach said. “They do well, but it’s all about having fun and a good time, and exposing kids to a different environment. … It’s not like traditional sports. 
“It’s about having a good time and learning some skills. … Anything more than that is icing on the cake. Last year I happened to have some very fast boys out there. It all came together.”
Devaney said the top boarders on the varsity girls team include Ruth Braica, Julie Paige and a bunch of freshmen. 
One of those freshman is Lily Worthington, John’s younger sister, who considers snowboarding a family activity.
“Everybody in my family either skis or snowboards,” Lily said. “My mom, my dad, my little sister and my older sister. It’s like a family sport. Everyone loves it.”
Lily said the Worthingtons would be out in full force Wednesday to help raise money for the team. 
But, as Faulkner said, this event wouldn’t have happened without Baughn and Academy Snowboards. 
“It’s something he’s worked on real hard,” Faulkner said. “He’s brought the older community into the night, making it entertaining for the adults to come here and have a good time. They become a part of the Placer snowboard community.” 
Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkime