Putting together retrospective issues like this are always a fun project. This is the second year we’ve done this, but the first time in which we’ve been able to make it its own special edition. Going through our photo archives from the past nine months obviously brought out a lot of memories and underscored just how good a year Bay Area high schools had in 2013-14.
In issues like these, I like to use this space to reflect and highlight a few of my favorite moments. But this year, I feel like structuring it a little bit different. This time I’m going to highlight the things I learned from the 2013-14 year in Bay Area high school athletics.
I learned that…
>> Justin Alumbaugh is going to be just fine as the replacement for legendary De La Salle football coach Bob Ladouceur. Having known Alumbaugh for several years as an assistant, I wasn’t concerned for the future of the Spartans. And despite the CIF Open Division State Bowl loss to St. John Bosco-Bellflower, it seemed clear De La Salle will remain every bit as dominant going forward.
>> Freedom’s Joe Mixon is inherently a good kid who probably handled the pressure of being one of the most-watched running backs in the country — on a young, struggling team — better than he was given credit for. I wish him all the best at Oklahoma.
>> Anyone who appreciates good water polo should make a point to see San Ramon Valley’s Kat Klass play during her senior year next fall. She’s not Danville-native-turned-Olympic-champion Maggie Steffens — but she might be her teammate in the coming years. (Also, Menlo School-Atherton’s Nick Bisconti, who is already appearing with the men’s national team.)
>> Monte Vista boys basketball coach Nick Jones will be a coach to watch for quite some time. His guidance of the Mustangs — in just his second year heading the program — to a 32-1 season and first state title was masterful. His team’s effort, commitment to defense and the team concept, was all very reminiscent of some of the best teams coached by renown De La Salle coach Frank Allocco.
>> For the same reason water polo fans should see Kat Klass, basketball fans MUST SEE Bishop O’Dowd’s Ivan Rabb. There’s a reason he’s the nation’s No. 1 recruit for the Class of 2015.
>> Despite not being one of three McDonald’s All-Americans from the East Bay, Carondelet-Concord do-everything point guard Natalie Romeo was my favorite girls player to watch this winter. Nebraska fans will love her.
>> Castro Valley track and field star Nate Moore is baaaad man. You can read all about why on the next page.
>> Piedmont HIlls-San Jose freshman hurdler and sprinter Reonna Collier will grace our cover at some point over the next three years. Winning an individual state gold. and a silver as part of a relay, will certainly grab our attention.
>> I’m betting on UCLA softball for the next four years. They are adding the Bay Area’s best pitcher over the last four years in Amador Valley’s Johanna Gruaer (read more on her on Page 28), and the East Bay’s best hitter over the last four years in Alhambra shortstop Kylee Perez.
>> The nine-week break between now and our 2015 Football Preview is gonna seem like forever.
Happy Summer, everyone.
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