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Taylor Ziemer, a Montgomery High School soccer star for the past four years, is officially a freshman.

Ziemer graduated from Montgomery early and is now enrolled at the University of Virginia where she will play for the Cavaliers, who finished fourth in the nation last season after being upset by Rutgers University in the NCAA tournament.

Ziemer, a regular player on the U.S. Women’s U18 squad, said she and the Cavaliers have started spring soccer workouts.

Moberg gets the call

Maria Carrillo graduate James Moberg, a senior at Washington, was selected 50th overall by the Vancouver Whitecaps in the MLS SuperDraft. Moberg, who grew up in Windsor and played club soccer for Atletico Santa Rosa, tallied 10 goals and 21 assists in 69 career games for the Huskies before his senior season was cut short with a knee injury. Moberg is expected to report for camp Monday Feb. 1, according to the Whitecaps.

Bonfigli milestone

Cardinal Newman’s Tom Bonfigli is on the brink of another milestone. If his basketball team wins at Montgomery tonight, he will move into a tie for 13th place on the all-time win list for California coaches.

Bonfigli’s next victory will be No. 717 and that will put him alongside the retired Joe Chappell of Salinas.

It took Chappell 42 years to reach 717 while Bonfigli is in his 34th season. Newman has won 79 games the past three years.

Signs of spring

Winter is in full swing, but athletes and coaches are already gearing up for spring sports. The first day of practice for baseball, badminton, boys golf, lacrosse, softball, swimming/diving, boys tennis and track is Feb. 8.

The local colleges are starting some spring sports later this week. Santa Rosa JC has a home baseball game on Thursday, the Bear Cubs softball team hosts doubleheaders Friday and Saturday and the Sonoma State baseball team will play a doubleheader on its field Saturday.

College tennis began last month.

All-Empire on deck

The Press Democrat’s naming of the All-Empire teams and players of the year will begin this week, calling attention to the best performers from the fall schedule of sports.

The series begins with the selection of the All-Empire girls golf team and golfer of the year.

The series begins Thursday in The Press Democrat and on pressdemocrat.com.

Bruning to Humboldt

The best defensive player in the North Bay League isn’t ready to retire from the game. Windsor linebacker Mitchell Bruning announced via Twitter on Monday evening that he will play at Humboldt State next fall.

“I am extremely blessed and honored to announce my commitment to Humboldt State University! #HSU #Dreams #GoJacks,” Bruning tweeted, along with a photo of himself in a No. 8 Humboldt jersey.

Bruning had 55 tackles, seven tackles for loss and two fumble recoveries as a senior.

Not bad for a guy on a bum ankle. Bruning suffered a high ankle sprain the second week of the season. That limited him to defense, though he had been Windsor’s leading receiver as a junior. Against Rancho Cotate a few weeks after the injury, he convinced the Jaguars staff to let him try offense — and promptly hurt the ankle again. It didn’t stop him from being voted NBL Defensive Player of the Year.

“He’s as good as I’ve coached,” said Windsor’s Tom Kirkpatrick, who previously led the Healdsburg program for 19 years. “He’s the real deal, and he’s a great kid, too. He’s very knowledgeable. He studies the game, and he’s one of those kids that – I tell you what, he has a passion for football.”

Humboldt State plays in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.

Kerry Benefield, Phil Barber and Howard Senzell contributed to this report.