Top Roseville/Granite Bay sports stories of 2009, Part I

Big year for athletes in individual sports
By: Kurt Johnson, The Press Tribune
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Editor’s note: An examination of the local sports landscape for 2009 in search of the year’s top stories left us struggling to fill out the back half of the list.

With so many interesting events out there, once we cleared the top three or four, there were more than a dozen other feats worthy of consideration. With that in mind, we have done our best to select the more prominent sports stories from the Roseville/Granite Bay area in 2009.

We know we may have missed something, and we encourage you to go online to and share your thoughts on stories of particular interest to you that we might not have mentioned.

Today, we give you the second five (stories six through 10) and the top five will be supplied in Wednesday’s print edition of The Press Tribune and online early next week.


No. 10

In a sport that is as competitive on the local sports landscape as cross country, winning one section title is impressive. That makes the Woodcreek girls team’s 2009 accomplishment even more worthy of mention.


The Lady Timberwolves made it two Sac-Joaquin Section titles in a row with an impressive section meet performance. Injuries and illness took their toll all year long, but Woodcreek delivered when it counted the most, led by senior Courtney Crosta.


The depth of the Woodcreek girls’ team was on full display once again this year. The defending section champions combined to edge St. Francis for another team crown.


Courtney Crosta paced the effort with a third-place run, but it was the placing of all five scored runners in the top 25 that delivered for the Timberwolves.


“The girls barely pulled it out on Saturday which made the race extremely exciting for all watching,” McKillop said. “Courtney Crosta passed three girls in the last 400 to place third and Stephanie Romo, who was injured all week, held on to take 10th.”


That result was made even more impressive when considering that one of Woodcreek’s top runners, Sami Gomez, was unable to finish the race. Gomez usually runs third for the Timberwolves and her teammates - Ciara Donnelley, Ashley DeVriend and Jennifer Romo were there to answer the call.


“The Woodcreek girls stepped up the last 800 to keep our hopes alive for the championship,” McKillop said. “Ciara (Donnelley) had a huge finish and Ashley DeVriend, who has been out injured a good portion of the season, had a phenomenal race to keep us in the mix.”


The Timberwolves, who were also second in the section in 2007, finished ninth at this year’s state finals.



No. 9

It was one of the most dominating performances in any sport in recent memory. The Granite Bay High girls tennis team not only won the Sierra Foothill League and Sac-Joaquin Section titles in 2009, but the Grizzlies were not seriously tested in either event.


The Granite Bay dominance was largely a family affair as sisters Karolina and Kammy Kecki were the finalists at both the league and section singles finals. Karolina won both matches.


The doubles duo of Lily and Chloe Forlini won both levels as well, beating league rivals Bryn Bacharach and Hailey Shaban of Del Oro in both finales.


As a team, the Grizzlies also won the league and section title as well, shutting out almost every opponent in their path 9-0 along the way.




No. 8

The 2009 high school girls golf season had two primary storylines in the Roseville/Granite Bay area.


The first was the outstanding play of the Oakmont High team that won the team title and advanced to the section tournament as a unit.


The second major story was the overwhelming dominance of a pair of freshman that burst onto the local high school golf landscape. Granite Bay’s Paige Lee and Oakmont’s Madelin Gedeon were atop the leaderboard at every major league event, in a conference that returned most of its top golfers from a season ago.


After an amazing run that took her through the divisional and section tournaments, Lee fell just short at the Northern California finals in at the Almaden Country Club in San Jose. She fired a five-over par 77 on a day when a 75 would have qualified her for a playoff to earn the third at-large spot in the state tourney.


In windy conditions at the section tournament that sent scores soaring into the triple digits in many cases, Oakmont and Gedeon bowed out, while Lee managed to keep her game under control in winning the individual title at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II tournament in Lodi.


“It was a miserable day on the golf course,” said Granite Bay coach Jason Sitterud. “The wind was consistently blowing in the 30 mph range with gusts up to 50 mph. It did not let up the entire day and it was a cold wind. I would say it was probably a plus 10-stroke wind. Its biggest impact was on the greens. It made the two footers an adventure.”


Lee was the lone Sierra Foothill League golfer to move on as the top three teams and top three individuals advanced to the Masters.



No. 7

While the state track and field championships did not go as well as he would have liked, the 2009 season was an impressive one for Granite Bay long jumper Justin Sutter and a number of other local athletes.


Six was the number of the night for local athletes competing at the CIF California State Track and Field Championships in Clovis. It was the number of competitors from the Roseville/Granite Bay area who qualified for event finals at the state meet, and it was also the best finishing position of the evening for any of those athletes.


Oakmont's Jazmin Harper ran her final 400-meter dash of the high school season, and posted her fastest time of the year, but even with that the sophomore finished two seconds behind the leader, in sixth position.


The result is a solid one for Harper, whose future is bright after a 55.35 on Saturday night puts her in great position with two high school years remaining.


”Jazmin gets pretty nervous and if she can relax just enough she will amaze you every time,” said Oakmont coach Mark Morrison. “She did just that and was truly amazing to watch. What a thrill to be able to be there as coaches and to see Jazmin run her 55.35 PR in the 400 and medal for the second year in a row.”


For Sutter, a sixth place finish was less anticipated. The senior entered the finals in possession of the longest leap in the state so far this season at 24 feet, 4 inches, but watched as two athletes went far beyond that as they surpassed 25 feet.


His 23-01.75 on jump three turned out to be his best of the night, and that was good only for the No. 6 spot on the final standings. That result does not diminish what was an amazing season for an incredible jumper who has moved on to jump at the University of Arizona. Sutter was the hot name in long jumping throughout the state in 2009.


Woodcreek senior Kayla Kamaka hit the number of the night with her sixth place result in the girls pole vault. Kamaka cleared 11 feet, 10 inches sooner than Granite Bay sophomore Katie Zingheim, as both maxed out there, with Zingheim taking the No. 7 spot.



No. 6

Innovators never seem to take the easy road, and doing anything for the first time almost always involves overcoming adversity. The Granite Bay High boys volleyball team had to travel a rough road to get there, but won the first ever Sac-Joaquin Section boys volleyball title in a thrilling five-game battle with Nevada Union Thursday night at Jesuit High School.


With a large crowd on hand, including a strong contingent from the Nevada Union student body sitting at center court while sporting full face paint and color-coordinated attire, the mood in the gym was electric from the outset.


Riding the emotion of its supporters, the Miners took the first two games, but the Grizzlies came back to win the final three in dramatic fashion to take a 19-25, 20-25, 25-22, 25-13, 16-14 victory.


“We knew were not out of it at any point,” Honberger said. “We are great under pressure. That is why we play the tough schedule, to prepare us for matches like this one.”


Granite Bay was led by Jack Powell with a lot of support from Mike Naki and a deep and talented roster as it won the title in the first year that the section offered a boys’ volleyball championship.


“I have been fighting for this moment for seven years,” Honberger said. “In the courts, and wherever we need to go, we fought to get a section title game and we would really like to be playing Bellarmine next in a Northern California final. Being first feels great especially since we feel like we could have won this the last five years.”