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St. Mary’s High football players commit

A pair of St. Mary’s High senior football players announced their oral commitments this evening on Twitter.

Ron Smith tweeted “Happy to announce my commitment to San Diego State University to continue my football career.” Smith, rated as a three-star safety by espn.com, had six interceptions this season. He was also rated as a three-star athlete by rivals.com.

Aaron Mercadel III also tweeted today “Blessed to say I will be taking my collegiate football career to North Dakota State.” Mercadel  had more than 100 tackles at linebacker for the Panthers this season.

On Tuesday, St. Mary’s Ben Schrider announced on Twitter that he committed to the University of Richmond. Schrider had 15 sacks and five fumble recoveries as a defensive end for the Panthers this season.

All three players were selected to the all-Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division first-team defense.

 

 

 

 

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My picks for East Bay Cross Country Coaches of the Year

Boys
Tony Fong, St. Joseph Notre Dame — Despite losing its top runner and two seniors in its top five from last year’s Division V state championship squad, the Pilots were within 13 points of winning its third straight California Interscholastic Federation Division V state title. St. Joseph Notre Dame finished second with a score of 99, and beat highly-regarded Flintridge Prep-La Canada Flintridge by 11 points. Its team time of 1:22:22 was one second faster than team champion Xavier Prep-Palm Desert. The Pilots also won their fourth straight North Coast Section Division V championship title, and dominated the Tri-County Athletic League championship race with an outstanding score of 19.

Girls
Chuck Woolridge, Campolindo — The Cougars came within 11 points of winning its second straight CIF Division III state championship, as they finished second with a score of 95. Its five scorers had a good 42-second gap between them, and the Cougars’ team time of 1:33:31 was 20 seconds faster than champion Palos Verdes-Palos Verdes Estates. Campolindo also won its third straight NCS Division III title with an outstanding score of 26 and a team time of 1:31:48. The Cougars also won the Diablo Foothill Athletic League championship race with an excellent score of 21.

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James Barnes resigns as Berkeley football coach

James Barnes has resigned as Berkeley High School’s football coach, he confirmed today.
Barnes said that it was by mutual decision. Mark Coplan, Public Information Officer for Berkeley Unified School District, confirmed today in an e-mail to the Bay Area News Group that Barnes resigned from his position last week.
The Yellowjackets finished the 2014 season with a 2-8 overall record and 2-3 mark in the West Alameda County Conference-Foothill League. In 2013, Barnes’ first season as Berkeley coach, the Yellowjackets were 3-7 overall and 1-4 in the WACC-Foothill league.
“Berkeley High needs to go in a different direction. The past two years, the success I was looking for didn’t happen,” Barnes said. “They needed new leadership, a new voice.
“I enjoyed my time there. I think I learned a lot. … You learn the ins and outs of being a head coach in a large program like that.”
Barnes, who has also coached at Arroyo and Castlemont, announced his resignation via Twitter on Friday evening. He said today that he has been contacted by “a few junior colleges” about assistant positions. Barnes said he was a graduate assistant at Grand Valley State University in 2003.
“I think I will try the college level. It’s time to move up,” he said.

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Fremont High football star chooses UC Davis

Fremont High football star Tyshone Gaines orally committed to UC Davis this morning.
The 6-foot-2 Gaines was a first-team all-City defensive back this past season for the Tigers, who reached the Silver Bowl and finished with an 8-4 record. He had 31 tackles, four interceptions, 18 passes defended, three fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns this past season.
On offense, he caught 38 passes for 700 yards and 15 touchdowns this past season. Gaines said that he was recruited as a defensive back to UC Davis, but may be used on offense as well.
Gaines is interested in a career in politics.
“Davis is close to the state assembly office in Sacramento,” said Gaines, who also said he has known Davis’ coaching staff for about a year. “The program is up and coming.”
Gaines, who has a 4.0 grade point average, said that he also considered Harvard and Yale, but “the support group is back home,” he said. “Staying home is great.”

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Two East Bay runners headed to Foot Locker Nationals

Campolindo High’s Toni Finnane and Bishop O’Dowd’s Colin Burke finished in the top 10 of the Foot Locker West Regional girls and boys seeded races respectively today and have qualified for the Foot Locker national championships.

Finnane was fifth in the girls seeded race with a time of 18 minutes, 15 seconds for the 3.1 mile course at Mount San Antonio College in Walnut. There were only two California runners that finished ahead of Finnane.

Burke was 10th in the boys seeded race with a time of 16:00. There were only three California runners that finished ahead of Burke.

The Foot Locker National Championships are Dec. 13 at Balboa Park in San Diego. The girls race is at 9:15 a.m. and the boys race is at 10 a.m.

Finnane, a first-year cross country runner as a senior, said in a telephone interview that she was probably in the top 15 at the first mile, then moved up to seventh in the second mile.
“As the race went on, I took advantage of the hills to power through,” said Finnane, who likes hills.
“It’s incredible,” said Finnane about qualifying for the national meet. “It’s definitely going to be an amazing experience.”

In a telephone interview, Burke said that he was probably 25th during the first mile, but made his major moves in the second mile
“Going up the switchbacks, I made up some ground on a lot of guys,” Burke said.
He said that he was around 15th place at the two-mile mark and that he had advanced up to 10th place going down the final hill of the course with about 1200 meters to the finish.
“I was just extremely thankful I had a chance to qualify and extend my season for one more week,” said Burke about his placing.

At the Nike Cross Nationals on Saturday at Glendoveer Golf Course in Portland, Or., Las Lomas’ Chloe Hansel was 51st with a time of 18:40 for the 3.1 mile course.

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Kyle Kearns decommits from SMU

Foothill High star quarterback Kyle Kearns announced on Twitter last night that he decommitted from SMU and would be opening up his recruitment.
Kearns thanked “all the coaches at SMU who’ve recruited me over the past year” and wished the new staff the best of luck.

Former Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris was named SMU’s head coach this week. June Jones, who had been at SMU since 2008, resigned after the Mustangs’ second game and Jones’ top assistant served as interim head coach the rest of this season.

On June 3, Kearns announced that he had orally committed to SMU. He had also taken unofficial visits to Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Cal and Stanford before that announcement.
In 10 regular-season games this season, the senior completed 137 of his 197 passes for 2,016 yards, 26 touchdowns and just three interceptions.

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Las Lomas’ Chloe Hansel selected for national meet

Chloe Hansel, who won the California Interscholastic Federation Division III girls state cross country championship individual title yesterday, has been selected to compete in the prestigious Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, Oregon.

The meet will take place on Saturday at Glendoveer Golf Course. The girls championship race will start at 10:05 a.m.

Hansel is the only East Bay runner and one of only two Northern California runners selected to compete in the event, along with Davis’ Fiona O’Keefe.

“It’s amazing. I’m so lucky to have that opportunity,” Hansel said.

The two California schools selected to compete as teams in the girls championship race are Great Oak-Temecula and Saugus. There were no Northern California schools or athletes selected to compete in the boys championship race, which will be held at 11:35 a.m. at the same place and date.

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Valley Christian-Dublin forfeits football game

Valley Christian-Dublin’s varsity football team is forfeiting its scheduled game tonight against Salesian due to a lack of players, Vikings coach Justin Lowell confirmed in a text to the Bay Area News Group.
With the victory, Salesian ends the regular season with an undefeated Tri-County Athletic League-Rock Division record (6-0) and an 8-2 overall mark. Valley Christian falls to 4-6 overall and 1-5 in TCAL-Rock action.
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CIF endorses football clinic

The California Interscholastic Federation announced today that it is endorsing a free clinic about football techniques that will be held in February in Santa Clara, UC Davis, UCLA and Balboa Park in San Diego.
The Practice Like Pros clinic, which will have former NFL stars Warren Moon and Anthony Munoz as panelists among others, advocates less contact on high school practice fields. The CIF will issue clinic invitations to high school coaches, athletic directors, team doctors, athletic trainers, principals/headmasters and players’ parents.
The tour itinerary is as follows: Feb. 4 at 9 a.m. — Palisades Ballroom, UCLA; Feb. 4 at 2 p.m. — San Diego Hall of Champions, Balboa Park, San Diego; Feb. 5 at 9 a.m. — The Theater at Santa Clara Convention Center; Feb. 5 at 2 p.m. — Wright Hall, UC Davis.