As it’s our final issue of 2014, we feel the need to reflect. This is truly an original idea. We’re quite certain we’re the only publication that indulges in year-end lists to commemorate all the good things of the previous 12 months. We’re not? Well, good luck finding a bunch of other lists on the best things surrounding high school sports in 2014. Take that!
Alright, let’s get to it. Here are some of the top things we’ll remember from 2014.
>> The Year of Folsom — Public schools, take solace. The Bulldogs, as well as Campolindo-Moraga in the Bay Area, have proven you can build and sustain success throughout your athletic program without having the so-called advantages of private schools. Folsom’s 2014 was extremely impressive as the boys basketball team went 32-3 and reached CIF Division II state championship, the wrestling team produced a state champion in Nick Fiegener, Austin Carter had a monster track and field season and the football team reached the CIF Div. I State Bowl game behind a pristine 15-0 mark. Oh, did we mention the team’s quarterback set a national record? It was kind of a good year.
>> East Bay Football Rises Up — For the first time in the eight-year history of the CIF Bowl Games, three East Bay teams will travel south. De La Salle-Concord goes for its eighth year and play in the Open Div. bowl, Campolindo makes its second trip to play in the Div. III game and Clayton Valley Charter-Concord makes its maiden voyage to Carson for the Div. II contest. All three teams play on Dec. 20 and will be broadcast in the Bay Area, which should be a fun day for East Bay football fans. Who’s having a viewing party? We’ll bring the nachos!
>> Johanna Gruaer Finishes On Top — The Bay Area has produced some of the country’s most dominant softball pictures, and Grauer’s four years at Amador Valley-Pleasanton certainly seemed like the start of a similar career path. After missing out on a chance at a mythical national title in 2012, Grauer helped the Dons bring one home in her senior season. She went 27-0 with an 0.51 ERA, 290 strikeouts and allowed just 60 hits in 191.1 innings. She also carried a .429 batting average with 20 RBI. Amador Valley finished undefeated and No. 1 in the MaxPreps.com final national rankings.
>> Nate Moore Makes History at State Track Meet — It’s unlikely the Bay Area, or the entire state even, will see a jumping talent like Moore again anytime soon. The 2014 Castro Valley graduate became the first boy to win back-to-back state titles in both the long jump and triple jump. Ever. His winning jumps at the state were top national marks of the season in both events.
>> Pleasant Grove Girls Hoops Sports the Glass Sneakers — Our favorite Cinderella story of 2014 was the CIF Div. I NorCal Championship run by Pleasant Grove girls basketball. Led by UC Irvine-commit Aaliyah Pena, the Eagles — who didn’t win their league and lost in the Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals — traveled 606 miles to win three straight road games by a combined total of six points. Then they knocked off perennial state power Berkeley 51-42 in the regional championship before falling short in the state final.
There were obviously plenty more worthy stories to mention here. We didn’t even get to Monte Vista-Danville girls soccer finishing as mythical national champs, the East Bay’s three McDonald’s All-American girls basketball players or Central Catholic-Modesto football reaching a third straight CIF Bowl Game. Got a favorite or your own, let us know. Until then, Happy Holidays from SportStars and we’ll do it all over again in 2015.
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