Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Student at Givans Taekwondo in Antioch wins silver at World Junior Taekwondo Championships

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

CJ Nickolas (left) and the other medal winners at the World Junior Taekwondo Championships on Thursday, April 12, 2018. Photo by Denise Nickolas.

HAMMAMET, Tunisia (April 12, 2018) — Team USA notched its second medal in as many days as the World Taekwondo Junior Championships continued in Tunisia. CJ Nickolas (Brentwood, Calif.) took the silver medal in the male -68kg division on Thursday, April 12, one day after Anastasija Zolotic (Largo, Fla.) won gold in the female -52kg class. Nickolas is a student at Givans Taekwondo in Antioch, California.

CJ during a previous competition. Photo courtesy of Team USA.

Nickolas breezed through his first two matches of the day with a 29-1 win over Somalia’s Abdullah Fuad Dahir and a 23-5 victory against Italy’s Andrea Riondino to reach the round of 16. He then scored a 12-3 win over Afghanistan’s Rashid Sarwari and edged Chinese Taipei’s Cheng-Chi Wei in overtime to advance to the medal round.

In his semifinal match with Serbia’s Dusan Bozanic, Nickolas broke an 8-8 tie with a scoring kick in the final 10 seconds to prevail and move on to the final. The gold-medal match against Iran’s Mohammad Mahdi Emadi saw Nickolas fall behind 5-1 after two rounds and then 13-2 early in the third. The American would rally to pull within 13-8 in the final minute but Emadi held off the charge to win by a score of 18-10 and claim the gold medal.

“I am proud of him,” said Givans Taekwondo owner Ed Givans, who is also Nickolas’ father.

CJ has a 4.0 GPA…he also plays basketball, runs track and is on a dance team at his church called Generation of Praise. His favorite book is Infantry – Born to Fight by his dad, Edward Givans. favorite TV show is American Ninja Warrior…favorite movies are Planet of the Apes, The Incredibles and Kingsmen/Secret Service…favorite singer is Stevie Wonder…favorite foods are Korean barbeque, burrito bowls from Chipotle and Sprite…favorite athlete is Derrick Rose…favorite taekwondo athlete is Alexey Denisenko…his mother is his biggest inspiration…his proudest moment in Taekwondo to date is making the Cadet National Team for a second straight year in 2015 and competing at the World Championships…favorite quote: “Practice as if you are the worst, perform as if you are the best.” – Mahatma Gandhi. CJ was awarded the 2015 Stanford TKD Athlete of the Year. View his page on the Team USA website.

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2nd Annual Larry Damitz Memorial Race on tap at Antioch Speedway Saturday night

Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Larry Damitz #15 after one of his wins in 2016. Damitz was a five-time Limited Late Model champion and was recently inducted into the Vallejo Sports Hall Of Fame. Photo by Paul Gould.

By Don Martin II

The Antioch Speedway roars back into action this Saturday night with an exciting six division All Star Series program honoring the late Larry Damitz. Featured divisions this weekend include the Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modified, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.

In recent seasons, the division of choice for Damitz, who was racing well into his 80s, was the Limited Late Models. In his final seven seasons at Antioch, he won five championships and finished second in those other two seasons. He won over 50 Main Events in his illustrious career at Antioch Speedway alone, and he was also recently inducted into the Vallejo Sports Hall Of Fame.

For The Limited Late Model racers, this event is for them. They spent many years trying to beat the orange and blue #15 car, wheeled impressively by Damitz. Last season, it was Kimo Oreta taking the wheel and making sure the Sun Drop Racing team maintained their championship status. Though he was very consistent and won multiple races, he still had to fight off the challenges of 2013 champion Jim Freethy and Mark Garner.

Freethy and Garner are both expected to contend for this year’s championship. Garner was doing double division duty last season, but he has put his B Modified up for sale in order to focus on his Limited Late Model effort. The man who has won more Main Events in this division at Antioch than anybody else, Mike Gustafson, will be another driver to watch out for. He was a two-time feature winner last season. Chris Long is anticipated in the John Keith car, and other drivers to watch for include John Evans, Lori Brown, Chad Hammer and Ryan Cherezian.

The A Modified division kicked off their 2018 season two weeks ago with Nick DeCarlo scoring the impressive victory. DeCarlo tends to bounce from track to track, but he has championships to his credit at Watsonville and Petaluma. A decision on Nick’s behalf to compete for the Antioch crown would certainly make him a top threat. Reigning champion Bobby Motts Jr notched the second place finish at the opener as he attempts a title defense. Five time division champion Scott Busby has his eyes on a track record 73 career feature wins, and other drivers to watch for this week include Sean O’Gara, rookie Buddy Kniss, hard charger Trent Wentworth, Mike Salazar and Bobby Montalvo.

Fred Ryland might have been a surprise entrant at the opener as he was the 2017 Merced Speedway champion. However, he picked up right where he left off with another Antioch win. The 2015 Antioch champion, who also has a Hobby Stock championship to his credit, is rapidly approaching 50 career feature wins. Ryland’s presence in the field makes things very interesting and helps make Antioch one of the most exciting B Modified programs in the state. Other drivers to watch for in the field include 2016 champion Trevor Clymens, 2017 champion KC Keller, past Street Stock champion Todd Gomez, past Hobby Stock champion Guy Ahlwardt and Tommy Fraser.

The Wingless Spec Sprint division enters its 20th season on the roster, and it appears as if 2004 champion Bob Newberry has his sights set on the championship. Newberry won more Main Events than anybody last season before settling for third in the standings. Another driver to keep an eye on is the only driver to have competed in all 20 seasons in this division, 2017 runnerup Rick Panfili. A competitive group of racers in this class includes Alan Miranda, Roy Fisher, Shannon Newton, Brandon Burd, Abigail Gonderman, Adam Teves, James East and Bryan Grier, who hasn’t officially said if he’s attempting a title defense this year.

The Hobby Stock division continues to have a strong presence at the speedway. In the opener, Michael Cooper looked very impressive in scoring the win, leaving the battle for second between reigning champion Cameron Swank and 2010 champion Chris Sorensen. Past Super Hobby Stock and Figure 8 champion Jim Robbins threw his hat into the ring this year and looked very fast in the opener. Likewise, Chris Bennett also figures to be in line for his first career feature win. Other drivers to watch for this week include Jordan Swank, Travis Tabucchi, Ricky Foster, Josh Leach, Russell Shearer and Haley Gomez.

There was plenty of disappointment to go around in the Dwarf Car community after the rain out canceled what was sure to be a big event last week. Regardless, Mike Corsaro enters the season as the reigning champion. Corsaro may very well be the driver to beat this year as he has become very consistent in recent seasons. David Michael Rosa is knocking on the door to his first career feature win and may be another driver to watch in the championship hunt. Other drivers to watch for this week include last season’s top rookie, Devan Kammermann, Brian Gray, David Rosa, Charlie Correia and 2016 champion Kevin Miraglio.

It looks as if the weather will open a window and allow this exciting six division program to unfold. For further information on this and other happenings, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.

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Compete for prizes in East County Muscle’s The Novice bodybuilding competition April 28

Monday, April 9th, 2018

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Antioch, Deer Valley High school baseball season preview

Friday, April 6th, 2018

By Jesus Cano

Antioch Panthers

The Panthers have not had a .500 record in league play since 2011. This year head coach Carlos Gonzalez has set the standard to break that slump, and water Antioch’s 20-year playoff drought.

“Obviously to get there we have to take it game by game and try and compete at a very high-level each game,” Gonzalez said. “Our guys are young and very hungry, they all have the same goal in mind and that is to change the culture of baseball at Antioch High School.”

Gonzalez highlights two players to be his top guys on the team, Josh Cordova and RJ McDowell.

Both teammates record 15 RBIs each for the Panthers last season and had a batting average above .300. Gonzalez also says that both these players will see a hefty time on the mound. Now, they both both over .400.

Devon Crump is a player that made an impact according to Gonzalez. This year, his numbers are steady, as he is .538.

Another player Gonzalez says is vital to the team due to his consistent bat and defensive ability is Sergio Carrillo.

Deer Valley Wolverines

Joshua Hannah has been appointed to be Deer Valley’s fifth head coach in the past five years.

“Being the new head coach for DV baseball is an honor,” Hannah said. “It presents a fun and exciting new challenge.

Hannah has an extensive baseball background. He played college baseball at Fresno State, where he batted a .293 batting average and has 51 RBIs, in addition to 13 homeruns In 1998. His numbers in college were able to catch the attention of the Minnesota Twins, as he signed with them.

The Wolverines ended with a 2-8 record in BVAL play last season and have been struggling early in the season according to Hannah, but he adds that this team has a strong willingness to work and learn.

Senior Justin Tallmier returns for his senior campaign. Last year, he led the team in batting average (.342) and had 21 RBIs, the most in the entire BVAL.

Jose Dominguez returns for his final year of baseball. With a .333 batting average and and five RBIs, it comes as no surprise Hannah says he is a top player to watch.

Keith Hogan, Jesus Hernandez and Aj Levias are also another player according to Hannah.

 

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Antioch, Deer Valley High girls’ softball season preview

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

By Jesus Cano

Antioch High

In the past couple of years, the Panthers have struggled to perform well when it comes to league play.

Last year, they made it into the division II playoffs, and knocked off Windsor, one of the top seeded team. Head coach Nick Wisely says his team is coming in strong and hoping to create some noise in league play.

“The goal is to get into the playoffs and at least win two games in there.” Wisely said.

Ayanna Sanchez was only a freshman when she made headlines by tossing a perfect game. Fast forward to her senior year, she has developed even more as pitcher and team leader according to Wisely. She is also committed to Chapman University.

The pitching depth continues for Antioch, as sophomore Bailee Reed has had to make appearances on the circle with the absence of Sanchez early in the season. In the teams 14-0 pre-league victory over Las Lomas, she threw a no hitter, recording 15 strikeouts. Reed is also is the team’s second baseman, where she batted a team high .381 batting average.

Freshman Haley Painter is a key batter for the Panthers according to Wisely. She leads the team in RBIs with eight and has a batting average of .375.

One obstacle Wisely notes, is that the BVAL is a tough competition with top teams like Heritage and Freedom always going back and forth for the league title. He says his team is up for the task.

Jazmine Alanís,Priscilla Self and Alissa West.

Deer Valley High

The Wolverines are coming off a tough season where they finished league play with a 3-7 record, and now face the challenge of having to play shorthanded.

“We’re adjusting to having players play positions they are not used to playing due to the fact we had players not return from last season that we were counting on returning.” said head coach Amy Tillson.

Even with the unexpected lack of returning players, Tillson says he team demonstrates a “Never Quit” mentality.

Junior Jaleah Hardy has had to showcase her versatility this year, stepping into pitch, the position for the Wolverines squad that faces the most adversity. Hardy has pitched in every single game this season, tallying up a ERA of 2.97.

Hardy’s primary position is first base, but with her having to pitch, freshman Leila Engelhard has had to step up to the plate, and takeover first base. She is batting an average of .429, the most on the team.

One of the returning players of the team is senior Desttany Parker, who is described by Tillson to be a huge leadership presence. She is also a leader on the statistics sheet, as she has the team high slugging percentage (.533).

Other notable players include Sarah Figueroa and Haley McKenna.

Both Antioch schools will clash for bragging rights to open up the BVAL season on Tuesday, April 17 at Antioch High School.

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Antioch, Deer Valley High boys’ volleyball season preview

Thursday, April 5th, 2018

By Jesus Cano

Antioch High

It is very safe to say that the Antioch Panthers want to put last season in the books, as the team went from BVAL champions, to not winning a single game.

Second year coach Mary Granado says that there is a huge attitude change between the team.

“The lack of egos this year has played a huge roll and allowed for open doors on growing together,” Granado said. “The boys have made huge strides in becoming a team and understanding what changes needed to be made for a more successful year.”

She also expects a growth in for every single player, so the development of team can be seen.

Termain High has been described to me the heart of the team with his strong ability to deliver big hits for the Panthers. Another hitter that has the size and strength is senior middle hitter Manny Mejia.

Mejia is part of the middle duo wit Kemar Carson, who according to Granado is a strong asset to the teams

Sophomore setter Timmy Luu stepped up big time last year for the Panthers, this year he has hit the ground running and continues to impress Granado.

Deer Valley High

The Wolverines have been one of the strongest programs in the past decade and is coming off a bounce-back season by claiming back its BVAL title.

Steve Evans has been in the program for seven years, and this year has been named to be under the helm of the Wolverines’ program

“I am really excited to be coaching the Varsity boys team,” said Evans. “I believe the boys have the talent to do very well in their league and expect them to go to the North Coast playoffs. The boys have a great work ethic with very supportive parents.”

Last year’s head coach Andrew Zollars remains on the staff.

Senior Erich Krueger is a four-year starter at the libero position, and played with some of Deer Valley’s best teams, but this year he has transitioned as an outside hitter.

Marc Reus lead the the league in assists with 967, which was a landslide, and along with Krueger, he’ll also have hitters Chris Pho and Justin Walters.

Walters is the returning player win the most kills from last with 168. Pho trails behind with 150.

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Antioch High School pool named for former teacher, coach Greg DeCristofaro

Thursday, March 29th, 2018

Greg DeCristofaro. Courtesy of AUSD.

By Allen Payton

At their Wednesday, March 28, 2018 meeting, the Antioch School Board voted unanimously to name the new pool at Antioch High School after former teacher, swim/dive/water polo coach Greg DeCristofaro.

The decision was made following in which the Board encourages community participation in the process of selecting names for Facilities. That process requires a Citizen Advisory Committee to be appointed to review name suggestions and submit recommendations for the Board’s consideration.

Antioch High School formed a Citizen Advisory Committee comprising of parents, community members and staff of Antioch High School to discuss the naming and dedication of the swimming pool planned to be completed in April 2018. The Committee voted unanimously to name and dedicate the swimming pool in honor of a former teacher, swim/dive/water polo coach Greg DeCristofaro, who dedicated 37 years to Antioch High School.

They voted to name the new swimming pool facility at Antioch High “Greg DeCristofaro Aquatic Center”.

During discussion by the board, Trustee Debra Vinson said, “I don’t know who this individual is but people in the community do. I don’t know if there are any concerns to the public. Is this permanent?”

Yes, responded

I’ve known Greg for 40 years, I guess,” Board Chairman Gary Hack said. “He’s been involved from day one. He’s a great guy. Sports is his forte. My son did water polo with him years ago. If you’re going to make a choice he would be a good representative.”

“I understand from Superintendent Anello that there has been no opposition from the community,” Vinson added.

Trustee Diane Gibson-Gray said, “He was a teacher there when I was in school. My sons went there. I would have no qualms with naming anything in the district after him. But the pool site is more than apropos.”

With that the board voted unanimously for the naming.

About DeCristofaro

The Citizen Advisory Committee, made up of Lead Petitioner Catharine Harrison, Willis Ball, Craig Carson, Trine Gallegos, Antioch High Principal Louie Rocha, and Athletic Director Steve Sanchez, compiled the following background information about DeCristofaro.

It’s fitting that Greg DeCristofaro would be a swim and dive coach for decades because he’s the kind of teacher and leader who – literally and figuratively – would jump into the deep end for his students and school.

Mr. DeCristofaro – known lovingly as Coach De – taught for 37 years, his entire education career at Antioch High campus as part of a strong biology team. In that time, he coached countless students, quickly taking the lead on swim teams in the early 1970s. Soon after that, he spearheaded a boys’ water polo team and never looked back. Some two decades later, he helped the girls get their own water polo team. Over the years, there were numerous successes, including many of his teams and individual athletes making their way to championships and titles. The first year it was formed, the girls water polo team made it to the North Coast Section playoffs.

Along the way, DeCristofaro also spent some 15 years coaching the Antioch Delta Skimmer swimmers. “I had two families – the Delta Skimmers and my Panther family,” he says. If his pull to water isn’t clear – take in this detail: For 20 years during his teaching/coaching time, Coach De, wife Kathy and twin boys lived on a houseboat. “My boys didn’t have skateboards, they had wind surfboards.”

Many have fond memories of Mr. DeCristofaro, especially fellow teacher Craig Carson.

“Greg was the head boys swimming and diving coach when I came to the school in 1979,” said Carson. “He was there in the early 1970s when they had some great swimmers, including Tim Boyd and Sean Bogan to name just two. They are both in the Antioch Sports Legends Hall of Fame.” Together Coach Carson and Mr. De started the Antioch Relays in 1982 and continued running the annual swimming/diving team fundraiser for 20 years.

“(Greg) was always there for everything ‐ available to step in when needed for nearly 40 years and did so. He truly had the best interest of the kids at heart always,” Carson said.

And, there’s also Willis Ball, an AHS track coach and fellow biology teacher.

“I was busy coaching track at the same time Greg was coaching swimming,” Ball said. “I know from talking to him many times that he was the most dedicated person I ever knew when it came to wanting to do the right thing in preparing his athletes to be the best they could be. He would do whatever it took to be successful. I hope this becomes a reality in naming the swimming complex after him. It’s surely well-deserved after all the work he put in, and all the successes he had in his many years of coaching those athletes.”

Catharine Harrison, parent and community advocate, said “Coach De is a legend. While my children never swam for coach DeCristofaro (he had retired), he is well known in the aquatics community. His support and commitment for both recreational and high school swim is rock solid. His many years of dedicated, quality coaching and support of our youth should more than ensure his legacy will live on with the naming of the new AHS aquatics center.”

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Antioch High JV girl’s basketball player scores big, moved up to varsity team for playoffs

Saturday, February 24th, 2018

Brizhit “Bree” Turner with her Freshman Girls Basketball Team MVP trophy and certificate. Photos by Rossolyn Turner

By Rossolynn Turner

Antioch High School no longer has a secret.  It came out when Brizhit Turner, a JV girls’ basketball player, scored a total of 25 points, seven rebounds, two steals and two assists against the Panther’s rival school, Deer Valley High beating the crosstown Wolverines 36-26 on Thursday, February 8. Brizhit showed her skills again on February 13 scoring a double double with 26 points and 14 rebounds, plus four steals, three assists and three blocks creating a victory against their other rival school, Pittsburg High, edging the Pirates 47-45.

Turner “breezes” by an opponent on her way to the hoop.

The sophomore Brizhit, also known by her nickname Bree, is a scholar athlete currently averaging 10.2 points per game, while maintaining a 3.5 GPA.  She was MVP and captain during her freshman year and is currently the captain of her JV team.

Bree had a slow start this year, but thanks to Coach Armenta, who believed in her, he was able to get that drive going again and the old Bree started showing up from her freshman year, causing everyone’s morale to fly high and score those victories.

Bree is a great leader keeping her team motivated and has great chemistry with her players, and  was recently chosen to move up to play for the Panthers’ varsity team in time for the playoffs. She is definitely one player to keep your eyes on.

Keep up the good work, Bree and congratulations on being moved up to varsity to play in the playoffs with your new team!

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Do you have a story about the accomplishments of your child or someone you know in Antioch, who you’re proud of and would like to share it with our readers? The Antioch Herald will publish it for free. That’s why we call ourselves The People’s Paper and The News Of, By and For the People. Please email your story as a Word document to us at editor@antiochherald.com with your name and phone number and relationship to the person about whom you’ve written. We reserve the right to verify the information, as well as edit and retain ownership of the article once submitted, without compensation to the author or photographer.

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