Elliott’s state title crowns winter sports season
The winter sports season ended six days after spring actually began, but the crowning achievement for Roseville schools occurred three weeks earlier, when Oakmont High School junior Jake Elliott had his hand raised under the solo spotlight of the CIF State Wrestling Championships in Bakersfield.
Elliott, in his first trip to the state meet at Rabobank Arena, capped his eye-opening season with the state title at 145 pounds and a 39-1 record. Not even ranked in the top 30 in his division at the start of the season, Elliott avenged his only loss en route to the championship.
“It really hit me when I got my hand raised,” Elliott said in an interview with the Press Tribune two days after he won the title. “You know, in the sixth and seventh grade, that was my dream – to be a state champ.”
Thanks to the play of the Woodcreek and Granite Bay boys basketball teams, the winter season stretched another two weeks and didn’t end until the Timberwolves fell to San Jose-Archbishop Mitty 67-44 in the CIF Northern California Regional Division II championship game at Power Balance Pavilion. Mitty won the state title a week later with a 53-50 victory over Fontana-Summit.
Sandwiched between busy fall and spring seasons, winter sports offer just boys and girls basketball and wrestling. Even so, they were big on exciting moments.
Who could forget:
* Three and a half weeks after losing to Woodcreek 65-34 in the final of the Rocklin Holiday Tournament, Oakmont’s senior class celebrated its first victory over the Timberwolves in boys basketball, a 61-57 non-league finale in which Vikings star John Adenrele had game highs with 31 points and 16 rebounds.
* Woodcreek beat Granite Bay 58-51 in a Sierra Foothill League opener.
* Roseville 130-pounder Dylan Jankovich learned he was accepted at the United States Military Academy at West Point.
* Granite Bay won its annual Grizzly Duals, took the SFL dual-meet championship, its first in school history, and advanced to the final in the Division II team dual tournament, where it lost to Bella Vista 32-27.
* Nate Brillington made a three-pointer in the final seconds as Granite Bay edged Woodcreek 57-56 in their SFL rematch. They’d go on to share the SFL championship.
* Woodcreek’s senior class entered the section boys basketball playoffs with 100 victories.
* Woodcreek, 11 days after losing to Antelope in a Division II section semifinal, destroyed the Titans 58-39 in a CIF NorCal Regional semifinal. The win at Antelope was the Timberwolves’ third in a row on the road.
* Roseville scored what was believed to be its first wrestling dual-meet victory over Del Oro since the 1990s. The teams tied 34-34 in regulation, and the Tigers won on criteria.
* Several area athletes signed national letters of intent, including Oakmont senior track star Jazmin Harper, with Stanford.
* Valley Christian Academy’s boys and girls basketball teams each finished 12-0 to win Sacramento Metro Athletic League championships.
* Valley Christian’s sister-brother duo of Carly and Jason Gish led their teams in scoring, Carly at 19.8 points per game, Jason at 19. Carly, a senior, reached double figures in the Lady Lions’ last 16 games. Jason, a junior, scored in double digits in his last 15 games. Carly had a season high of 39 points, Jason 30. And in the end, they totaled an identical 514 points.
* Woodcreek senior John Peska had a 31-point game and later a 33-point outing before scoring a school-record 44 points in an 85-65 victory over Nevada Union.
* League MVPs and more: Woodcreek senior Devin Murphy and Granite Bay senior Jon Davis in SFL basketball, Valley Christian’s Carly Gish and Jason Gish in SMAL basketball, Granite Bay 189-pounder William Anderson in SFL wrestling and SMAL coaches of the year Brad Gunter Jr. and Kim Contreras of Valley Christian.
* Buljan Middle School’s cheer team won three championships at the JAMZ Nationals in Las Vegas.
* Cooley Middle School capped a two-year run in which its boys basketball team went 42-0.
Contact Bill Poindexter at email@example.com.