Some short, sweet wishes for Christmas

Sierra Scoop
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Given the blessings bestowed upon the sports community in the foothills recently, Christmas wish lists are brief this year. But here is a sampling of what some local sports figures’ letters to Santa might look like: Placer High boys basketball coach Mark Lee is asking St. Nick for some friendly rims and kind bounces at the Kendall Arnett Tournament this week. The Hillmen have seen visitors hoist the championship trophy each of the past seven seasons. It was 2004 when Placer — led by seniors Kyle Reeves and J.P. Landry along with sophomore sensation Charles Brodhead — last won the Kendall. Meanwhile Colfax hoops coach Mike O’Connell is wishing for another MVP performance like Chase Mosier’s in the 2010 Kendall Arnett. The Falcons finally broke through to win the historic tournament for the first time as Mosier drilled a 3-pointer at the buzzer in the title game last December. Colfax has a tough task in the first round Wednesday, facing talented Del Campo. Skiers and boarders are wishing, and wondering if it will ever snow this winter. While many resorts in the Sierra are open, the snow is thin (less than two feet in most places). Needless to say, the historically dry weather is really hurting business. Stay tuned to see if our prep ski and snowboard teams are able to get on the snow when the season begins next month. The lack of snow could be a blessing for ultrarunners and endurance riders. Many top competitors at the Western States Endurance Run were grumbling last year about the drastically altered course. The “snow course” eliminated much of the challenging, rugged terrain high in the Sierra. But access to that part of the course was extremely limited because of the unusually deep snow in the area and officials had no choice but to use the alternate route. After dealing with snow the past two years and smoke from wildfires the year before that, the runners are definitely wishing for a normal 100-mile trail run, if that is possible. Switching gears to football, Joey Montoya is in need of a bigger mailbox. The Hillmen play-caller neglected to check his mail at Placer one day last fall and found an overflowing mess the next day. Eddie Vanderdoes was to blame. Vanderdoes, Placer’s devastating defensive lineman, will be flooded with recruiting mail from all over the country between now and signing day, 2013. The junior already has full-ride offers from San Jose State, Oregon State, UCLA and Cal and many more are sure to come. The 6-3, 295-pound Vanderdoes plans to be even bigger, faster and stronger next fall. Montoya’s mailbox better be ready. Down in Loomis, Casey Taylor is relishing some well-earned days off after Del Oro’s marathon of a football season. The coach might be wishing for another month or two on the calendar before his Golden Eagles tackle a schedule that will make coaches around the state shudder. The non-league slate opens with back-to-back games against Southern California powers Oaks Christian and Westlake. Then comes Grant, which will no doubt be hungry after a disappointing 2011 campaign. Taylor can take solace in the fact that all-everything Pacer Shaq Thompson will be playing on Saturdays next fall. But the Pacers return some serious talent and rarely have back-to-back down years. Merry Christmas sports fans. And cheers to a great 2012!