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Empire notebook: Strong showing from locals at Santa Rosa Marathon events

Three runners with local ties finished first in their races, and three more finished in the top five. Plus, more local sports news and notes|

Locals clogged the leaderboard at the Santa Rosa Marathon and its affiliated races last weekend.

El Molino class of 2012 grad and former Press Democrat All-Empire Cross Country Runner of the Year Nicole Lane was the first female finisher in the half marathon. She finished in 1:17.06. It was the fourth-fastest half marathon finish from a female runner from the Redwood Empire, according to Jim Crowhurst of Redwood Empire Running.

Mariah Briceno, a senior at Montgomery High, was the first female finisher in the 10K race, crossing the line in 43:45. Casa Grande junior Nolan Hosbein came in second in the men's 10K race, finishing in 35:41. Andre Williams, named The Press Democrat's Small School Boys Scholar Athlete of the Year in May, won the 5K in 15:58. Santa Rosa High and Santa Rosa Junior College alum Justin Thurman finished third in 17:05 and Isaac Rason, 16, of Middletown, finished fourth in 17:08.

Bear Cubs football suiting up Thursday

The Santa Rosa Junior College Bear Cubs football team will open the season with a scrimmage against Sierra College on Thursday and face a familiar foe. The Wolverines' head coach, Ben Noonan, played for SRJC coach Lenny Wagner back in the late '90s.

The game will feature a new look at quarterback for the Bear Cubs after last season's starting QB Jake Simmons, a Rancho Cotate grad, signed with San Jose State after one season at the JC. The game kicks off at 5 p.m. at Santa Rosa High School, 1235 Mendocino Ave. The Bear Cubs open their season against Fresno on Sept. 7. Conference play starts Sept. 19 against San Mateo.

Pumas poised for cross country run

The Maria Carrillo boys cross country team is already garnering attention and the season is barely out of the starting gate.

MileSplit ranks the Pumas high on their list of teams to watch, noting the speed and experience of the team's top three runners: seniors Rory Smail, Colton Swinth and Pierce Kaputska.

After coming in second to Campolindo at the North Coast Section championships in poor air quality conditions last fall, the Pumas finished sixth at the CIF state cross country championship.

As juniors, Smail finished 13th at the state meet, Swinth finished 23rd and Kapustka crossed in 30th place.

Kelseyville's Bryant wants another shot

It had the intensity of a postseason game when Kelseyville lost to Cardinal Newman in volleyball Monday night, but Kelseyville High senior player Allison Bryant is reminding the Knights that it's still early and the squad has some learning to do.

Kelseyville fell to Cardinal Newman 3-1 in the first big test of the season for both teams. The Knights won the first set against the hosts, but then dropped three straight.

“We just weren't really ready yet,” she said. “On defense we let a lot of stuff drop. We need to just be more aggressive.”

Kelseyville went all the way to NorCals last season and return loads of talent. Bryant, for one, would like a chance to play Cardinal Newman again.

“I'd like to face them again,” she said. “It was a great game, great girls. It was fun, the crowd was fun.”

Bear Cubs volleyball opens Friday

Santa Rosa Junior College volleyball opens their season Friday with a home game against Foothill College.

The Bear Cubs feature loads of Redwood Empire talent and return two of their top offensive weapons in sophomore Ingrid Jungferman, a graduate of Cardinal Newman and a 2016 first team All-Empire pick, and Logan Peck, a 2017 Montgomery grad who earned second team All-Empire honors as a high school senior.

Jungferman had 177 kills last season while Peck had 181, as the Bear Cubs went 14-15 overall and 7-9 in the Big 8 Conference. Next up is the Delta Classic Tournament Sept. 6-7 at San Joaquin Delta College.

Tigers Give Back is a go

The Analy High snack bar will feature some familiar faces at the Tigers' football home opener on Sept. 13. Former players, as part of the just-launched Tigers Give Back campaign, will man the snack bar, thereby giving football parents a chance to watch the game instead of handing out nachos and making change.

Organizer and Tigers parent Laura Parks helped conceive the program as a way for former players to say thank you not only to the program but to parents who make it go.

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

Kerry Benefield

Columnist, The Press Democrat

Have a story that is wild, wacky, bizarre or beautiful? Tell me about it. Have a question that starts with, “What’s the deal with…?” Let’s figure it out together. This column is about the story behind the story, a place to shine a light on who we are, what makes us a community and all of the things that make us special. With your help, I'll be tackling the questions that vex us: (the funny, the mundane, and the irritating.)

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