Empire notebook: Local runners shine at Spring Lake meet

At the Bob Shor Invitational cross country meet Sept. 4, Montgomery senior Mariah Briceno won the girls varsity race, completing the 3.05-mile Spring Lake course in 19:59 - ahead of Casa Grande senior Emma Baswell and Sonoma Academy sophomore Lucy Gott, who finished in 20:27 and 20:54, respectively.

Casa Grande junior Abigail Vestnys finished fourth in 21:38 and Santa Rosa junior Lael Joseph took fifth in 22:25. Santa Rosa's Jasmine Alapa, a sophomore, finished sixth in 22:34 and Sonoma Academy freshman Ally Glenn finished in seventh place in 22:35.

On the boys' side, Healdsburg junior Jack VandenHeuvel won the varsity race in 15:58, followed by three Casa Grande runners: senior Logan Moon in second at 16:04, junior William Hite in 16:09 and junior Nolan Hosbein in 16:34. Santa Rosa runners took fifth, sixth and seventh. Junior Andrew McKamey finished in 16:47, junior Steven Grams finished in 16:56 and senior Andrew Engel finished in 17:14.

Rancho spikes SR for first time in six years

The Rancho Cotate High Cougars volleyball team made mini-history Sept. 3 by beating the Santa Rosa Panthers 3-1. It was 2013 when the Cougars last beat the Panthers and the first time Rancho had beaten a North Bay League-Oak Division foe since the league was reconfigured into two divisions a year ago. The Cougars, led by sophomore Teagan Irish and junior Kaila Misi, were 3-5 heading into their contest with another NBL-Oak team, the Maria Carrillo Pumas, on Tuesday night.

Hall carrying the load for Mustangs

St. Vincent de Paul freshman Kai Hall is the back to watch on the Mustangs' football roster this season. In three games, Hall has carried the ball 46 times, with an average of more than 8 yards per go. His longest of the season is 49 yards and he's averaging 129 yards per game. In addition, he has already scored six touchdowns for the 2-1 Mustangs. St. Vincent, which fell to Willits 27-0 last week, hosts San Rafael at 2 p.m. Saturday.

Coach seminar features SSU grad, ex-assistant

Sonoma State University grad and former assistant men's basketball coach Paul Trevor will be part of a slate of college coaches who will take part in a coaching clinic hosted by Dominican University of California in San Rafael on Saturday. Also on the coaching roster hosted by Penguins head coach Booker Harris are Stanford men's coach Jerod Haase, Santa Clara women's coach Bill Carr, USF men's coach Todd Golden and Cal Poly men's coach John Smith. The course runs from noon to 4 p.m. and costs $50. For information and to register, go to

Rennard to play baseball at Michigan

Maria Carrillo grad and Santa Rosa Junior College baseball standout Noah Rennard has signed on to play baseball for the University of Michigan. Rennard, a right-handed pitcher who graduated from Carrillo in 2017, made 15 appearances for the Bear Cubs last spring, pitching to a 12-0 record and 2.17 ERA. He spent his summer playing with the Healdsburg Prune Packers, who went 38-8 on the season.

Vaughn wraps up season with Sox

Andrew Vaughn, the 2018 Golden Spikes Award winner and the No. 3 overall pick in the Major League Baseball draft in June, wrapped up his season with the Winston-Salem Dash, a White Sox Class A-Advanced affiliate, over Labor Day weekend. In 29 games, Vaughn, a right-handed first baseman, hit .252 with eight doubles, two homers and 21 RBI. After being drafted, Vaughn, who graduated from Maria Carrillo in 2016 before playing for Cal, played with the White Sox club in the Arizona Rookie League, then was pulled up to the Class A Kannapolis Intimidators, and two weeks later was summoned to the Winston-Salem squad.

Knights are rolling

The Roseland University Prep girls soccer team is off to a hot start, rolling to a 4-0 record and scoring 14 goals in the process. The Knights have given up just three goals. RUP opened the season with a 2-1 win on the road against St. Helena, then went to Middletown High - always a tough place to play - and beat the Mustangs 2-1. The next week they were again on the road, traveling to Cloverdale, where they beat the Eagles 6-0. Their first home game of the season was a 4-1 win over Credo. The Knights host Anderson Valley at 4:30 p.m. Friday. North Central III League play starts Sept. 27 at Mendocino High.

You can reach staff columnist Kerry Benefield at 707-526-8671 or, on Twitter @benefield and on Instagram at kerry.benefield. Podcasting on iTunes and SoundCloud, “Overtime with Kerry Benefield.”

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