Empire notes: Santa Rosa High track and field to honor John Bribiescas

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As an English teacher at Santa Rosa High for 35 years, John Bribiescas often asked his students to do more than they thought they could, or get past a hurdle or two. So it is fitting that as part of the Panthers’ track and field fundraising campaign to replace the squad’s 120 hurdles, an entire row was sponsored in honor of “Mr. B,” who died Feb. 18 at the age of 71.

Track coach Carrie Joseph said the spring campaign asked for $125 to “sponsor” an individual hurdle. The team will have decals to acknowledge the donors or the person in whose name they are sponsored.

After years of ordering replacement hurdles in batches of three, or six, the fundraiser has been resoundingly heartening: More than $16,000 has come in — good enough for a full set for the program.

But perhaps no donation was more heartening than the one from a family that donated $1,000 to sponsor eight hurdles in honor of Bribiescas — who was not only a teacher on campus for 35 years but also an SRHS graduate who liked to sign off his emails with: “Once a Panther, Always a Panther.”

State finals at stake for SRJC

Rolling on a four-game win streak, the Santa Rosa Junior College men’s basketball team faces the Columbia College Jumpers in Sonora Saturday night. The Bear Cubs took out West Valley 88-64 Saturday night to advance. The winner Saturday advances to the state finals tournament. The Bear Cubs are 22-7 overall and went 13-3 to take the Big 8 Conference title behind the play of sophomore guard Atmar Mundu, the conference player of the year. If Bear Cubs fans are making the trip to Tuolumne County, tip-off is at 7 p.m.

Bear Cubs with big bats

In other Bear Cubs news, the softball team is off to a roaring start. The Bear Cubs were 11-4 overall and 3-1 in Big 8 play coming into Tuesday afternoon’s home game against Sacramento City College (17-2 overall, 2-1 in the Big 8). The Bear Cubs have been led by the big bats of freshman out of Montgomery High, Anna Zoia-Buescher — who is hitting a team best .659 — and sophomore and Rancho Cotate grad Janaea Mason, who is hitting .460 with four homers and 21 RBIs. Freshman Haley Titone, out of Cardinal Newman, is batting .444 with a team-leading 29 RBI. Up next is a double-header at home against Folsom Lake. Games are scheduled for noon and 2 p.m.

Bear Cubs tennis loaded with locals

In keeping with the SRJC theme this week, let’s look at the men’s tennis team. They are, in a word, dominating.

The Bear Cubs, loaded with names prep tennis watchers will surely recognize, are clobbering all comers, building up an 8-0 record coming into Tuesday’s away match with Solano College. They have blanked five of their eight opponents 9-0.

Maria Carrillo grad and sophomore, Dat Tran, as well as Ryan Leung and Justin Richter, both freshmen and Montgomery grads, lead the charge for the Bear Cubs.

Their next home match is at 1 p.m. Thursday against Folsom Lake.

El Molino’s multi-sport star Sani heading to UC Irvine

El Molino multi-sport standout Kassidy Sani is going to be an Anteater.

Sani, a discus specialist who last spring was the first El Molino athlete to make the CIF state track and field championship meet since 2008, will compete for UC Irvine next year.

Sani has also excelled in volleyball and basketball for the Lions. Sani made her commitment official in a ceremony on campus Tuesday.

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