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SportStars Magazine Counts Down The Bay Area’s Top 75 Athletes From 2019-20 In Its Eighth Annual Bay Area 75 Rankings •
Welcome to our eighth annual Bay Area 75 rankings — SportStars’ countdown of the top 75 Bay Area athletes from the 2019-20 school year.
Obviously, the 2019-20 season was not a normal one. With COVID-19 wiping spring sports off the map by the second week of March, we had to look at things a little differently. Even though some of the region’s best spring athletes didn’t get to compete, there were some whose talent still demanded their inclusion. We feel pretty confident you won’t fight us on those selections.
The only criteria used in generating the list were that the athletes must compete at a school from within one of the nine Bay Area counties, and they must have played in a sport which culminated in a sanctioned section title or reached a national-level of success (i.e., won a national championship or been appointed to a youth national team).
All sports fans know rankings are an opinion, and certainly subjective. They also spark debate and conversation, which is why we love them. So don’t hesitate to give us your thoughts. We’re looking forward to it.
—Chace Bryson, Editor
2019-20 Bay Area 75 Rankings
50. AUDREY PAK (Campolindo-Moraga, Sr.)
The UCLA-bound Pak was the unquestioned senior leader for a Cougars team that went 27-7 and won the CIF Div. I NorCal championship. The accomplished setter set the tone for Campolindo and was a stabilizing voice following the team’s loss in the NCS Div. I championship match. She was a CalHiSports.com second team All-State selection.
49. BROCK BOWERS (Napa, Jr.)
Bowers enters his senior year as 247sports.com’s No. 3-ranked tight end in the country for the 2020 class. The SportStars All-NorCal selection was also named the Napa County Player of the Year by the Napa Valley Register after catching 39 passes for 1,098 yards and 14 TDs for the 7-4 Grizzlies. Georgia, Oregon, Penn State and Cal are among his top suitors. The 6-foot-4 Bowers was also a presence in the paint during the winter.
48. JOEY SCHOTT (St. Francis-Mountain View, Sr.)
Schott was honored with the Nate Dillingham Memorial Trophy, awarded annually to St. Francis High’s top male athlete. He earned the honor after only appearing in his dominant sport for one game. The Baylor-bound pitcher didn’t get a chance to defend his 2019 WCAL Pitcher of the Year award thanks to COVID-19 cancellation. However, he was able to help the football team as QB/WR hybrid. He caught 26 passes for 328 yards and five TDs, and completed 28 of 55 passes for 421 yards and a TD.
47. EMMA VANE (Archbishop Mitty-San Jose, Sr.)
Soccer, Field Hockey
Vane was named both the WCAL Player of the Year and the Prep2Prep.com CCS Player of the Year after leading the Monarchs to a 21-2-3 record and the CCS Open Div. title. The junior scored 11 goals and assisted on 12 more. Two of her 11 goals were postseason game-winners, including the only goal in a 1-0 regional quarterfinal win over Berkeley. Vane was part of the 2018 Vision Academy ‘02 team that won the U.S. Club Soccer National Cup. In her final year of field hockey, Vane picked up first team all-league honors and scored the lone goal that defeated Los Gatos in the CCS finals.
46. OLIVIA WILLIAMS (Archbishop Mitty-San Jose, Jr.)
A 6-foot-1 wing who can shoot 40 percent behind the arc, Williams was a matchup nightmare for Monarch opponents. The UC Irvine commit averaged 12 points and 4.6 rebounds for a Mitty team that was clearly NorCal’s best squad. Williams picked up several postseason honors, including second team All-State (CalHiSports.com), second team All-NorCal (SportStars), CCS Junior of the Year (Prep2Prep.com) and first team All-WCAL. In late spring, she was named to New Zealand’s U-19 national team.
45. PAUL M. ROSA (Wilcox-Santa Clara, Sr.)
An injury cost him 25 percent of his season, but Rosa was nothing short of prolific in the nine games he did play. Rosa rushed for 1,787 yards and 16 TDs, caught a pair of TD passes, and even threw a 74-yard TD pass in a CCS playoff win over Menlo-Atherton. Rosa was a SportStars All-NorCal selection, a CalHiSports.com third team All-State honoree and the SCVAL De Anza Division MVP. He will continue his career at Chapman University. This is his second straight appearance in the Bay Area 75 rankings.
44. ROBBY BEASLEY (Dougherty Valley-San Ramon, Sr.)
The versatile Montana-bound guard averaged 23.3 points, 7.6 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.6 steals over 20 games. The Wildcats were 22-2 and ranked No. 4 in NorCal before Beasley suffered a season-ending torn meniscus one week before the playoffs. SportStars named Beasley second team All-NorCal and CalHiSports.com named him third team All-State Elite.
43. TATUM GEIST (San Ramon Valley-Danville, Sr.)
Geist entered her senior year on a number of state and national watch lists. The Georgetown-bound midfielder was coming off a junior season in which she was named the Brine/US Lacrosse West Player of the Year by US Lacrosse Magazine. That honor came on the heels of leading the Wolves to a perfect 22-0 season while compiling 37 goals and 50 assists.
42. LIAM JOHNSON (Sacred Heart Prep-Atherton, Sr.)
After starting his four-year Gators varsity career as a defender, Johnson eventually transitioned to forward and became one of the region’s top strikers. Prep2Prep.com naemd him CCS Player of the Year after scoring 24 goals and adding 20 assists while leading Sacred Heart Prep to an undefeated regular season. The Santa Clara-bound Johnson also earned West Bay Athletic League Forward of the Year honors for his efforts.
41. KATHERINE DUONG (Cuperinto, Sr.)
After two straight seasons of finishing as the CCS singles runner-up to three-time champion (and two-time Bay Area 75 rankings honoree) Ashley Yeah, Duong finally got her much-deserved spotlight. She won the CCS singles title without dropping a set. TennisRecruiting.net ranked Duong as the no. 3 recruit in the state and within the Top 15 nationally for her class. She signed with Illinois.
40. JAMIR SHEPARD (Palo Alto, Sr.)
Shepard ranks inside the Bay Area 75 rankings top 40 for the second straight season after another strong year both on the field and in the gym. Shepard was the SCVAL De Anza Offensive MVP after averaging 19.25 yards per catch with seven TDs in the regular season. He added four more postseason scores. He was also the team’s top player on the hardwood, scoring a team-high 17 points in a CCS Div. I semifinal.
39. TALANA LEPOLO (St. Joseph Notre Dame-Alameda, So.)
While her numbers may not jump off the page thanks to a talented and balanced Pilots lineup, Lepolo’s skill is obvious to any who watch her. She averaged 10.4 points, 3.6 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2.8 assists for a St. Joseph team that won the NCS Open Div. championship. Lepolo was also considered one of NorCal’s top defenders. She earned second team All-State honors from CalHiSports.com and was also a second team SportStars All-NorCal selection.
38. LEAH FREEMAN (Berkeley, Sr.)
Freeman will enter Oregon this fall having already played goalkeeper for both the U-18 and U-16 US Youth National Teams. This past January, she earned a shutout in goal as part of a 5-0 win over Norway at the 2020 U-18 Tricontinental Cup. Top Drawer Soccer listed her among the nation’s top 40 recruits for the Class of 2020. Freeman led Berkeley to an NCS Div. I runner-up finish, logging 17 saves in a semifinal win over Carondelet.
37. KENDALL ALLEN (Vacaville Chrisitan, So.)
Football, Basketball, Track
Shaping up as NorCal’s next great small school athlete, Allen is a name you need to know. The Falcons’ young three-sport star caught 51 passes for 12 TDs for a football team that finished 7-5. He also had three interceptions on defense. He was the basketball team’s MVP after averaging 21.8 points per game. He’s also an accomplished track athlete specializing in the 400 and 800 meters.
36. ETHAN HU (Harker School-San Jose, Sr.)
Hu graduated Harker ranked among the top 10 senior swimming recruits in the country by SwimSwam.com. He’s a six-time CCS champion and holds meet records in three of the events: 100 butterfly, 200 individual medley and 200 medley relay. The butterfly is Hu’s most dominant stroke. He had 2020’s fastest high school time in the 100 fly nationwide. He’s a two-time state champion in the event and holds the CIF record. He also picked up a state title in the 200 IM. SportStars recently named the Stanford-bound Hu to its list of the 10 best NorCal swimmers of the past decade.
35 .BRYCE MONROE (Archbishop Riordan-S.F., Sr.)
Monroe was a first team SportStars All-NorCal selection after leading the Crusaders in both points (20.2 per game) and assists (3.2). He also added 3.2 rebounds per game. The Sam Houston State-bound point guard and his cousin Je’Lani Clark (No. 51 on this list) comprised the Bay Area’s best backcourt. Monroe saved his best games for the best opponents. He scored 44 in a win over eventual NorCal Div. I-champ Campolindo. Riordan wrapped the year 23-5 after school officials pulled the team from the regional tournament as virus concerns began to peak.
34. GIANCARLO WOODS (Cardinal Newman-Santa Rosa, Sr.)
Woods was selected to the third team of CalHiSports.com’s annual All-State Grid-Hoop teams this past June. The 6-foot-1 wide receiver hauled in 52 catches for 864 yards and 13 TDs as Cardinal Newman went 14-1 and won the CIF 3-AA State Bowl championship. He also shined on special teams with 461 kick return yards and three scores. In the winter, he was a first team All-North Bay League selection for a Cardinals team that went 21-8.
33. SAMANTHA STERNFELS (Tamalpais-Mill Valley, Sr.)
The Stanford-bound Sternfels returns to the Bay Area 75 rankings for a second year after leading both the state and nation in reported goals for the 2019 fall season. She was credited with 155, and the Red Tailed Hawks would ride that firepower all the way to NCS (Div. II) and NorCal (Div. III) titles. Sternfels was also credited with 43 assists and 122 steals for 2019. She closed out her Tamalpais career with a mind-blowing 382 career goals.
32. AIDAN MAHANEY (Campolindo-Moraga, So.)
Mahaney became the first sophomore since Archbishop Mitty’s Aaron Gordon to be named the S.F. Chronicle’s Metro Player of the Year after averaging 19.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.4 assists and 1.1 steals for the Div. II NorCal champions. Mahaney was also a first team All-State Sophomore (CalHiSports.com) and a first-team SportStars All-NorCal selection. Since he arrived on campus, Campolindo is 9-0 in regional and state playoff games.
31. LEXI ZANDONELLA (Carondelet-Concord, Sr.)
In naming Zandonella its North Coast Section Player of the Year, Prep2Prep.com included the remarkable detail that she was the only player on the Carondelet roster who was never subbed out during the team’s 29-game season. The Sonoma State-bound midfielder scored 14 goals, five of which game in the postseason as the Cougars finished 23-5-1 and claimed the CIF NorCal Div. I title. Zandonella also had three assists on the season.
30. HARPER MCCLAIN (St. Helena, Jr.)
Cross Country, Track
Not only did McClain run her way to the CIF Div. V state championship, but her time of 17:13.4 was both the fastest Bay Area time of the meet and the fourth-fastest overall. She clocked in three seconds faster than back-to-back Div. III champ Riley Chamberlain of Del Oro-Loomis. One week earlier, McClain also had the fastest time at the NCS meet (17.5 seconds faster than Div. I champ Shae Hill of Granada) and won her race by 58.1 seconds. In the summer prior to her junior season, she claimed USATF Junior National Championships (15-16 age group) in both the 1,500 and 3,000 meters.
29. TROY FRANKLIN (Menlo-Atherton-Atherton, Jr.)
Though his 2019 season numbers of 43 catches for 674 yards and nine TDs appear pedestrian, Franklin’s talent is anything but ordinary. The 5-star receiving talent spurned Alabama, Auburn, LSU and just about every other major college program not named Oregon when he committed to the Ducks in mid-June. Franklin enters his final season as the nation’s No. 3 ranked receiver for his class.
28. NICHOLAS VILLARREAL (Gilroy, Sr.)
Villarreal closed out his decorated Mustangs career as a four-time CCS champion and a three-time CIF medalist. He finished as the state 285-pound runner-up for the second straight season after being pinned by Josiah Hill of Bakersfield in the finals. The Fresno State-bound talent solidified himself as NorCal’s top heavyweight by beating SJS champion Chris Island (Vacaville) in a 4-2 state semifinal. With Lucas Cook (Lincoln) ending fourth and Island fifth, there were three NorCal heavyweights in the top five. Villarreal was the best of the bunch.
27. KENNEDY JOHNSON (Bishop O’Dowd-Oakland, Jr.)
Though she still controls the paint as a scorer and rebounder, Johnson added some perimeter flavor to her game this year. The six-foot wing could hit 3-pointers if defenders sagged off too much, or drive by them if they came too close. Johnson averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds for a Dragons team that went 23-7 and won NorCal Div. I title. She was named second team All-State by CalHiSports.com in addition to being a first team SportStars All-NorCal selection.
26. BEN ROE (De La Salle-Concord, Sr.)
Roe was a Spartans team captain and a force on both sides of the line of scrimmage. He was a first team regional honoree on both offense (Bay Area News Group) and defense (S.F. Chronicle). He earned his SportStars All-NorCal honors on the offensive of the ball, though it’s possible his position will be defensive tackle when he suits up for Eastern Washington. In the winter, Roe was among the section’s top heavyweights. He was an NCS runner-up and finished 4-2 at the state meet. One more win in Bakersfield would’ve put him among the bracket’s eight medalists.