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Empire notes: SRJC men's soccer hauls in big awards

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Members of the Big 8 Champion Santa Rosa Junior College men’s soccer team traveled to Baltimore to pick up some pretty hefty awards last week.

Derek Neidlinger, a sophomore out of Windsor High, was honored as both All-American and Scholar All-American at the United Soccer Coaches Convention. Neidlinger, a center back who anchored a defense that allowed just .77 goals per game, was the Big 8 Defender of the Year and is headed to play Division I soccer at Old Dominion next fall. He is the first Bear Cub in any sport to win both All-American and Scholar All-American honors, according to longtime men’s soccer coach Marty Kinahan.

Freshman Adrian Fontanelli also came home heralded. The Rancho Cotate grad was also named an All-American after scoring 13 goals and tallying eight assists in a prolific offense that scored 73 goals in 22 games.

Chung to represent US at Pan Am championships

Windsor High class of 2019 grad Lucas Chung is already making a splash on the running scene at St. Mary’s College in Moraga. On Saturday, the freshman became one of two Gaels to qualify for the Pan Am Cross Country Championships on Feb. 29 in Victoria, British Columbia.

Chung earned his spot after finishing eighth at the U20 USA Track and Field National Championships in Mission Bay. The race called for the top six to advance but two runners who finished above him opted out, clearing the way for Chung along with fellow St. Mary’s freshman Rayna Stanziano to qualify to represent the U.S. at the Pan Am games.

In his freshman campaign, Chung finished 53rd at the West Coast Conference Championships, covering the 8K course in 25:53. He finished 136th at the NCAA West Regional meet hosted by Washington State University on Nov. 15 in 32:25 on the 10K course. At that race, El Molino class of 2017 grad Brian Schulz finished 42nd in 30:45.

It’s Trojans at the front

Vine Valley Athletic League hoops is about to hit the turnaround spot in league play and on the boys side, it’s been all Petaluma High. The Trojans are 4-0 in VVAL games and 12-5 overall. The Trojans are coming off of a 59-52 win on the road against American Canyon. Up next for the Trojans is a home game against Napa High (5-14 overall, 1-4 VVAL) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday. The Vintage Crushers are still in the mix at 10-8 overall and 4-1 in league.

Bear Cubs remain in first in Big 8

Santa Rosa Junior College men’s basketball continues its winning ways into the turnaround of Big 8 Conference play. The Bear Cubs were 6-1 in conference heading into their Tuesday night game against Cosumnes River, a team that sits in last place in the standings. On Friday, the Bear Cubs are scheduled to host Folsom Lake at 5:30 p.m. at Haehl Pavillion.

The last time those two squads met, the Bear Cubs put up an incredibly balanced attack to beat the Falcons, with Atmar Mundu, a sophomore from Washington High in Fremont, and Gianni Brown, a sophomore from Cooper Academy in Carson, putting up 14 points (Brown also chipped in 10 rebounds); sophomore Damian Wallace and freshman Nathan Capurro, both Cardinal Newman grads, chipping in 12 points apiece (while Wallace dished out 10 assists); and Edward Turner, a freshman from Foothill High in Bakersfield, contributing 10 points to go with his 11 rebounds.

Panthers get a new leader

Roy Keegan is the new coach of the Santa Rosa High School football team. Keegan, who is in his fourth year as an assistant with the Panthers after spending six years as an assistant at Montgomery High, follows Russell Ponce, a Santa Rosa High grad who stepped down after the fall season. Ponce was hired in 2017 — it was his second stint as head coach at Santa Rosa. The Panthers went 4-6 overall in the fall and 3-0 to win the North Bay League-Redwood Division. Keegan will take the helm as head coach just as the Panthers are elevated to the NBL-Oak Division next fall.

We are now taking requests

After that piece on the very first Cardinal Newman-versus-Montgomery boys basketball game ran Sunday, we’ve gotten a lot of feedback, and one request: Why didn’t we run the box score from 50 years ago?

We’ll remedy that now: For Cardinal Newman: Wilkev: three field goals, four free throws for 10 points; Magrini: six field goals, four free throws for 16 points; Lumpkins: four field goals, five free throws for 13 points, Bonfigli: one field goal, one free throw for three points, Anderson: one field goal, five free throws for seven points. For Montgomery: Webb: eight field goals, four free throws for 20 points; Erickson: two field goals for four points; Mevers: four field goals, three free throws for 11 points; Reed: two field goals, three free throws for seven points: Stimack: three free throws for three points. Newman shot 30% from the field, Montgomery 38%. Both teams missed eight free throws and both teams committed 18 fouls. In this little exercise, I even unearthed a mystery. The box score lists Montgomery guard Steve Bell with the following stat line: Four field goals, three free throws for 10 points. Except that does not equal 10 — it equals 11. So in that long-ago box score from 1970, the final of Cardinal Newman 49, Montgomery 55 doesn’t add up. Hmmmmm.

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