Empire notes: Morgan Bertsch caps college career with big game

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Morgan Bertsch, UC Davis’ all-time leading scorer and rebounder, scored 25 points in 34 minutes in the Aggies’ 79-54 loss to Stanford in the first round of the NCAA women’s tournament Saturday. It was the Santa Rosa High grad's final game as an Aggie.

To put those points in perspective, consider this: Only three players have hit Stanford harder this year and one of those players is Oregon’s Sabrina Ionescu, the two-time Pac 12 Player of the Year. Ionescu put up 27 against Stanford twice this season. Washington’s Amber Melgoza scored 32 in the Huskies’ loss to Stanford on March 9 and Tennessee’s Evina Westbrook scored 29 points in the Vols’ 95-85 loss on Dec. 18.

That’s not bad company.

P.S. The WNBA draft is April 10.

Calistoga softball scrapped due to not enough players

Calistoga High School has folded its softball team for the season, with officials citing too few players on the roster. Calistoga High co-athletic director Eric Heitz alerted North Central League II officials of the move Monday, according to Gus Morris of the Napa Valley Register. The Wildcats were 0-2 on the season before calling it quits.

The Wildcats were 13-3 overall last season and finished second in the North Central III behind Laytonville. They were seeded 10th in the North Coast Section Division 5 tournament and lost to 7th seed Making Waves Academy 14-13 in the opening round.

More locals on Healdsburg Prune Packers roster

The Healdsburg Prune Packers have added some more local names to their summer baseball roster.

Casa Grande class of 2017 grad Chris Joaquim is currently playing his redshirt freshman year at UNLV but is slated to return to Sonoma County this summer to play for the Prune Packers, along with Noah Rennard, a Maria Carrillo grad who is currently playing for the Santa Rosa Junior College Bear Cubs, who were 19-6 overall and 8-4 in the Big 8 heading into Tuesday’s home game with American River. Rennard currently boasts a 7-0 record and 1.56 ERA in 52 innings for the Bear Cubs. The Prune Packers open their season at Recreation Park in Healdsburg at 6 p.m. on June 1.

Schulz big in Big West track

El Molino grad and UC Santa Barbara freshman Brian Schulz was named Big West Men’s Track Athlete of the Week after winning the 5,000-meter race at the school’s tri-meet with Cal Poly and UC Riverside on March 9. Schulz, who as a Lion ran the fourth-fastest 3,200 in Redwood Empire history (9:09), crossed the line in 14:30.22. That is the fastest time posted in the Big West this season and is third fastest in the nation.

Carr to play for Boxers

Montgomery High senior and football standout Matt Carr has signed to play next fall for the Pacific University Boxers in Forest Grove, Oregon. Carr was named Defensive Player of the Year for the North Bay League-Redwood champion Vikings last fall. The Boxers compete in the Northwest Conference and are a Division 3 program.

Guzman will be a Mustang

Vintage High senior Manny Guzman will continue his running career at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. The distance specialist on Thursday signed a letter of intent to run with the Mustangs. Guzman, winner of the Vine Valley Athletic League cross country title last fall, qualified for the CIF state cross country championships as a junior and senior, finishing 22nd in the Division 2 race in the fall.

Connors on family leave

Spotted: 2004 Montgomery grad and professional mountain biker Larissa Connors in the latest issue of VeloNews magazine. Connors, two-time winner of the Leadville 100, is a top-tier endurance mountain biker who developed rhabdomyolysis (when muscle fibers die and break down into the bloodstream) at last fall’s La Ruta de los Conquistadores in Costa Rica, rumored to be the most difficult mountain bike race on the planet. She also won the True Grit Epic 100, Tatanka Epic, High Cascades and Pierre’s Hole 100 last summer in the National Ultra Endurance Series. Connors, a high school math teacher at Trabuca Hills High School, has since announced that she is pregnant and will take some time off from competition.

Ukiah grad Swoboda setting records at Corban University

Ukiah grad Robert Swoboda is making a name for himself early this track season at Corban University in Salem, Oregon. Swoboda, who graduated from Ukiah High in 2017, set a school record in the 5,000-meter race with his first-ever race of that distance clocked in at faster than 15 minutes. Swoboda crossed the line in 14:59.82 at the Willamette Invite Saturday. In his senior year in high school, Swoboda clocked the second-fastest time in the Redwood Empire in the 3,200, finishing in 9:21.

Codding’s freshman run ends in women’s NIT

The St. Mary’s women’s basketball team finished the season 21-12 overall and 12-6, good for third place in the West Coast Conference. They were ousted in the second round of the NIT on Sunday after losing 65-61 to Pepperdine, a team they had split with during the regular season. Santa Rosa High class of 2018 graduate Emily Codding started 30 of 33 games for the Gaels this season, averaging nearly eight points and 3.7 rebounds and two assists per game. Codding scored just 3 points in the loss to Pepperdine Sunday.

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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