John Beam now heading Laney’s football program

Laney College athletic director John Beam has become the head coach of the Eagles football team, after serving as Jay Uchiumi’s offensive coordinator the past seven years.

A local legend, the retiring Uchiumi stepped down in January but will remain as defensive coordinator for one final season. The Eagles are coming off a rare poor season, in which they finished 2-8 overall and 0-5 in the powerful NorCal Conference.

“It’s bittersweet, right?” said Beam of his new title. “It’s been such a pleasure working with Jay, we’ve had a great partnership. Not having Jay around anymore will be a little tough because he’s great mentor. He’ll stay on for one more year as a D-coordinator, and we’ll see what happens after that.”

Beam previously coached for 22 years at Skyline High-Oakland and two years as the offensive line coach at Serra High-San Diego. He expects the Eagles football team to rebound strongly next season.

While proud to be the head football coach, Beam said he is “more proud” to be the school’s athletic director. Beam is delighted with the program’s progress. The Laney women’s track team, led by the brilliant sprinter Ashton Purvis, won the Northern Regional title last week in San Mateo and stands a good chance to win the state championship. The baseball team made the Northern regional playoffs for the first time since 1997, and the powerful women’s basketball team won the Bay Valley Conference title.

“I’m excited about all the things here,” Beam said. “I’m excited because we’re a viable option for all the kids in Oakland and in Berkeley and in every area that we service. We don’t go out of state (to recruit). We stay local. We’re a place that the local kids can come to and perform.”

Beam chuckled when he said his administrative workload tripled with his new position. He is pleased that four football players from the 2011 team were accepted to Cal academically.

“We’re trying to maintain our 90 percent transfer rate, and so a lot of work has to occur,” Beam said. “You’re missing a guy (Uchiumi) who’s been doing that for over 30 years, so there’s some big shoes to fill right now.”


Amador Valley wrestler Tommy Yozzo strikes gold

Amador Valley High wrestler Tommy Yozzo earned the gold medal at 126 pounds in the California USA Wrestling State Championships in Los Banos last weekend. Yozzo became the first state champion from Pleasanton, according to Amador Valley wrestling coach Mark Hamilton.

Yozzo first won by fall over Mason Sauseda of Chico, who had previously beaten him him twice. He pinned Taylor Hall of Moreno Valley, who was third at the CIF State Championships in Bakersfield. He beat Leif Dominguez of Gilroy in the finals. Yozzo wrestled seven matches and never lost a single period.  He led the field in pins with four and in a total of 2 minutes and 54 seconds. 

Next for Yozzo are the nationals in Fargo, N.D.


East Bay softball poll — 5/15

Here’s our final East Bay softball poll before playoffs begin next week.

Team Record Points Last week
1. Amador Valley (6) 22-0 90 1
2. James Logan 20-1 84 2
3. Heritage 20-2 78 3
4. Newark Memorial 17-4 72 4
t5. Alhambra 19-4 61 7
t5. Concord 18-4 61 6
7. Monte Vista 14-8 56 8
8. California 15-7 48 5
9. Alameda 15-3 40 t9
10. Arroyo 19-4 37 t9
11. Castro Valley 12-8-1 30 11
12. Pinole Valley 13-6 24 9
13. Freedom 10-7-1 18 14
14. Livermore 12-10 15 NR
15. Granada 11-11 4 15

Also receiving votes: Bishop O’Dowd (16-6, 2 votes). The East Bay Prep Softball Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group-East Bay.


East Bay Baseball Poll – 5/14

Here is this week’s baseball poll. Records are through Saturday.

Team Record Points Last week
1. Campolindo (6) 17-4-1 90 1
2. Dougherty Valley 18-4 83 2
3. Deer Valley 19-2 79 3
4. De La Salle 16-6 72 4
5. College Park 17-5 65 7
6. San Ramon Valley 14-7 59 6
7. Northgate 20-2 50 9
8. Newark Memorial 17-5 47 5
9. Acalanes 16-6 44 10
10. Monte Vista 13-9 35 NR
11. James Logan 14-8 30 13
12. Granada 14-8 24 11
13. Clayton Valley 17-5 19 15
14. Alameda 16-6 13 14
15. California 11-11 5 8

Also receiving votes: Arroyo (13-9, 4 points), Heritage (14-8, 1). The East Bay High School Baseball Poll is voted on by the prep sports staff of Bay Area News Group-East Bay.


NCS baseball heads back to the Coliseum

Good news for all you North Coast Section baseball enthusiasts out there. NCS associate commissioner Karen Smith told me today that the NCS Baseball Championships will be held at the Oakland (or O.Co, if you prefer) Coliseum this year on June 2. And, it won’t be just one game. It’ll be four games! Start times will be 10, 1, 4 and 7.

Divisions have not been set yet, but four games in the Coliseum is much better than two. I’m looking forward to it!


BSAL best?

I was just looking over the Bay Shore Athletic League Championship Track and Field Meet Records, and it’s possible that the league can justifiably compare itself with any other league in the state, if not the nation, from 2001 to the present based on the total quality of the marks below. Do you agree? Remember that these marks were run only in the league championship meet, which takes place three weeks before the state championships:
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Wilson scratched from league meet

St. Mary’s High track star Trinity Wilson has been scratched from all of her events in the Bay Shore Athletic League championships this week due to her fractured toe, St. Mary’s girls coach Jeff Rogers told me this afternoon.

Wilson suffered the injury to the big toe of her left foot. It occurred in a preliminary heat of the girls 100-meter high hurdles at the Stanford Invitational on April 7. Trinity won the race in 13.41 seconds, the fastest wind-legal high school time in the nation this season according to the DyeStat Elite 100 rankings.

Rogers said that Wilson will not hardship in any individual events into the North Coast Section Bay Shore Area Championships on May 19.

Wilson won the California Interscholastic Federation state championship 100 hurdles title in 2011 to end her high school season and proceeded over the next two months to also win 100 hurdles titles at the USA Junior Outdoor Championships, the World Youth Championships and the Pan-American Junior Championships. Her time at the USA Junior Outdoor Championships, a wind-legal 13.15 seconds, ranked No. 1 in the event among national high school female athletes in 2011.