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.






My picks for East Bay Cross Country Coaches of the Year

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.

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.


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.


Campolindo’s Tyler Petite now committed to USC

On the eve of his team’s Northern California Division III regional title game, Campolindo High tight end Tyler Petite announced that he’s switched his college commitment to USC. Petite, a four-star recruit and Under Armour All-American, originally committed to Duke over the summer.

Petite has had a big season for Campolindo, which is 14-0 and playing Sutter on Saturday in the NorCal Division III final. The 6-foot-5, 225-pound senior has 30 receptions for 867 yards and nine touchdowns.


Honoring Rodney Frazier at the Vontoure Spartan Classic

The local basketball community continues to make sure that Rodney Frazier, the slain Richmond High point guard,  is not forgotten. Last week, Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr and some of his players attended the Oilers’ home opener and offered encouraging words to Rodney’s teammates beforehand.

On Thursday, there will be a brief ceremony to honor Rodney and show support for the Richmond team and coaches before a game with Fairfield at the Vontoure Spartan Classic at De La Salle. “We can’t let Rodney become ‘just another statistic.’ We truly are all in this together,” wrote De La Salle coach Frank Allocco in an email. Allocco was a speaker at a peace rally  in Richmond  to honor Frazier last month. Several local basketball teams showed attended the rally.


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.”