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Empire notes: SRJC's Haggard headed to Indiana

Luke Haggard is going to Indiana University. A standout football player at Petaluma High who went on to star at Santa Rosa Junior College earned a ton of Division I interest this season including from Fresno State, San Jose State and the University of Connecticut. But on Wednesday, Haggard, a 6-foot-6, 280-pound offensive tackle, is scheduled to sign with the Hoosiers. “Obviously it’s in the Big 10 and it’s big-time football,” Haggard said. He is scheduled to move to Bloomington in January to enroll for the spring semester.

Double honor for Middletown athletes

Middletown High School was doubly honored by the California Interscholastic Federation, as both North Coast Section Spirit of Sport award winners for the fall season were Mustangs. Volleyball player Alessandra Diaz and football player Jared Pyzer were the section’s two winners for “demonstrating the 16 principles of Pursuing Victory with Honor.” Pyzer was a defensive tackle for the Mustangs as they played to the NCS Division 6 semifinals, where they were beaten by eventual champs St. Bernard’s. Diaz had 169 assists on the season for the Mustangs, leading the team in assists per set. Her serving percentage was just shy of 91% on the season.

Choice taking down records

Cardinal Newman senior Anya Choice is barely into her senior basketball season and she’s already re-writing the record books. Committed to play at UC Santa Barbara, Choice broke the single-game 3-point record at Cardinal Newman with her nine 3s against American Canyon on Thursday. In that same effort in which she scored 39 points, Choice broke the single-game scoring record (her own) of 35. She now holds the single-game records for points, 3-pointers and is tied with 2019 grad Avery Cargill for assists (10). Choice is also the all-time program points leader with 1,621 as of Saturday. The Cardinals, who are 8-0, host Piner at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Cargill off to good start as Shark

Speaking of Cargill, she is off to a strong start in her freshman season at the University of Hawaii-Pacific. Last year’s co-MVP of the North Bay League for the Cardinals, Cargill is making 40% of her three-pointers and averaging more than six points and three rebounds a game in 14 minutes as a reserve.

Brown goes off in Kringle finale

Gianni Brown had a huge night, but it wasn’t enough for the Santa Rosa Junior College men’s basketball team to pull off a win against Redwoods in the final game of the Kris Kringle Tournament at Haehl Pavilion on Saturday night. The sophomore who prepped at Copper Academy in Carson was 12 for 18 from the field and 2 for 3 from behind the 3-point line for 29 points in the Bear Cubs’ 84-80 loss. The Bear Cubs, 8-4 overall, next play at home Saturday against Diablo Valley. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m.

Codding pacing the Gaels

Santa Rosa High grad Emily Codding is picking up where she left off last year with the St. Mary’s University basketball team - and then some. Codding, who graduated from Santa Rosa in 2017, is averaging 15.6 points per game, second among the Gaels in her junior season. Her 74 rebounds lead the team as do her nine blocks. The Gaels are 4-5 overall and will play the University of Central Florida Friday in the UCF tournament.

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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