Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Registration for Antioch Little League continues on Saturday

Friday, December 15th, 2017

At Mountain Mike’s Pizza in the Raley’s shopping center.

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Olympic Gold Medalist Eddie Hart to sign his book about tragedy and triumph at the ’72 games in Antioch, Dec. 18

Thursday, December 7th, 2017

Eddie Hart with his new book entitled “Disqualified”.

Meet the two-time World Record-holder at Barnes & Noble

By Allen Payton

Having previously equaled the World Record, Martinez-born and Pittsburg-raised Eddie Hart was a strong favorite to win the 100-Meter Dash at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. The inexplicable happened, he was disqualified for arriving seconds after his quarterfinal heat. Ten years of training to become the “World’s Fastest Human.” The title attached to the Olympic 100-meter champion was lost in a heartbeat. How could this have possibly happened on athletics’ biggest stage, the Olympic Games?

Hart provides his story in a new book he’s written with the help of friend and former Oakland Tribune sports reporter, Dave Newhouse, entitled “Disqualified – Eddie Hart, Munich 1972, and the Voices of The Most Tragic Olympics.”

A Champion Since High School

Hart moved to Pittsburg when he was eight years old, and attended Village Elementary and Central Junior High. He graduated from Pittsburg High in 1967 where he lettered every year as a member of the track team, in the 100, 200 and long jump. He won “the conference in four events, including the 4×100 relay in 1966, then he repeated in the 100 and 200 in 1967,” Hart shared.

He then went on to attend Contra Costa College in San Pablo.

“That’s where I really blossomed,” Hart said.

It’s where he won the 100 and 200 at the junior college state meet in 1969.

Hart then transferred to U.C. Berkeley where he majored in Physical Education, because he wanted to be a track coach. In his first year, he won the 100-meter race at the PAC-8 championships and placed second in the 200.

Then at the NCAA national championships that year, Hart won the 100 and running anchor, helped his team win the 4×100 relay, as well.

One of his teammates, Isaac Curtis, who went on to play wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, came in second in that same 100-meter race, making it the only time in NCAA history that teammates from the same school placed first and second in the championship race.

“At the end of that year I made the U.S. national team and toured Europe for six weeks competing in various meets,” Hart shared. “We competed in France, in Russia and Oslo, and Sweden, also.”

Champion in the 5,000-meter Steve Prefontaine was on that same team.

“I knew Pre, well,” Hart said.

First Major Challenge

Then in 1971 he placed second in the 100 and third in the 200 at the NCAA Championships due to an injury earlier in the year, having missed half the season and not even competing in the conference championships.

First Comeback

Hart withdrew from school to train for the Olympics and became an assistant to the head track coach in 1972, at the same time. He entered open competition that year and during the meets Hart made the qualifying times in the 100. In fact, he missed the World Record by just 1/10th of a second running 10 flat at the West Coast Relays in Fresno.

Second Major Challenge

Three weeks before the Olympic trials Hart injured his right hamstring while running in the 200 at the U.S. Championships in Seattle. He couldn’t do any starts between that injury and his first race at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.

“It was terrifying,” he said. “It was tough.”

Then at the trials, “It was a nightmare,” Hart said. “Each race, everyone was ahead of me.  I just kept pulling up.”

Asked if he was hesitant, he replied, “Oh, very much so. I was afraid I was going to reinjure myself.”

“You have to run four races,” Hart explained.  “A heat, a quarterfinal, a semi-final and then the final.”

Second Comeback

In the semifinal I was fourth and they only took four to the final. “I barely made it,” he stated.

“It was a wind-aided race and the first five guys ran a 9.9 in the 100 meters and the fifth-place guy didn’t even qualify,” Hart continued. “I was the fourth guy and I was scared to death, because from the finals they only took the top three.”

In the blocks at the starting line, he was still thinking about his leg, which was bothering him.

“This was all the marbles right here, there was nothing to save,” he shared.

“The gun went off and I was in a dream,” Hart explained. “I ran the best race of my life.”

Before or after, “Ever,” he said. “That was it.”

“I was an Olympian, an Olympic trials champion and the World Record holder at 9.9,” Hart stated proudly.

“It was legal, not wind-aided,” he added.

Hart had equaled the World Record in the 100-meter dash, which had been achieved by only two others before. It wasn’t broken until 1991 when Carl Lewis ran it in 9.86.

He also qualified for the Olympics as the anchor for the U.S. Men’s 4×100 relay team, which was made up of the four finalists in the 100-meter race.

From Triumph to Tragedy

About a month later he was with the U.S. Olympic Team in Boden, Maine for a few weeks to train in similar weather as Munich, Germany. They then competed in Oslo, Norway, France and Italy before arriving in the Olympic Village just a few days before the Opening Ceremony.

A few days later he ran and won his heat.

“It was easier to make it to the finals at the Olympic games than it was to make the finals at the Olympic trials,” Hart shared. “Of the top 10 to 15 sprinters in the world, the top 10 were in the  U.S. at that time.”

After all three U.S. sprinters had won their heats, the coach said “let’s go back to the Olympic Village and rest” Hart explained, “because there was so much time between races. But, that was his schedule.”

The Village was only about a mile or less away from the Olympic Stadium. But, the coach had the incorrect time for the start of the quarterfinals.

They rushed back to the stadium, but it was too late for Hart.  He had missed his race and was disqualified. Thus, the title of his book.

Tragedy Ends in Triumph

Hart’s Olympic story didn’t end there. The following week after the tragic murder of the 11 Israeli team members had halted the games for a day for the memorial, Hart once again ran anchor for the U.S. 4×100 relay team. They won that race in World Record time and he became an Olympic Gold Medalist and a World Record holder, once again. See video of Hart’s leg of the race here.

Returning to Pittsburg he was met with celebrations by the Mayor of Pittsburg and the city.

Hart returned to college to complete his degree, and became a paid assistant track coach at Cal Berkeley. He has since started his philanthropic efforts through his Eddie Hart All In One Foundation which holds an Olympian Track Education Clinic at Pittsburg High, each year.

Faith has been a big part of his life, all of his life. Hart has been a member of Stewart Memorial Methodist Church in Pittsburg since elementary school. He’s taught Sunday School for 35 years and for the past 20 years he’s taught the men’s class.

Asked if faith played a part in his Olympic journey, Hart responded, “In every aspect. I grew up in the church, it couldn’t have been any other way.”

“I never prayed to God for success in track,” he shared. “I asked God to give me strength in life to face the challenges as they come.”

“My prayer is that His will be done. God is interested in spiritual things, in our soul not our flesh,” Hart continued. “Ultimately at the end of the day whatever physical things we’ve accomplished here will be left here. It’s about our souls which are eternal. Our flesh is going to burn up. The Bible is clear.”

Asked if his story will become a movie, Hart said, “We’re working on it.”

But, he has to think about who will play the part of him, he shared with a laugh.

His book includes a foreword by Harvard professor Dr. Cornel West who has been a friend since high school, and whose brother Cliff was Hart’s roommate at Cal.

See Eddie Hart and get your copy of his book signed on Monday, Dec. 18 at 7:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble book store in Antioch at 5709 Lone Tree Way.

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Kiwanis Club’s annual Holiday Run & Walk for Health at Contra Loma, this Saturday, Dec. 9

Monday, December 4th, 2017

To download the entry form, click here: holiday_run_2017_registration_entry_form

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Antioch Panthers end season strong in semi-finals versus Freedom Falcons

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

The Panthers scored another touchdown making it 33-31 Antioch with 7:52 left to go in the game. But it wasn’t enough for victory. Photos by Allen Payton

By Jesus Cano

In a flash, during the North Coast Section Division 1 semi-final game last Saturday night, Freedom’s Giles Jackson shattered the hearts of many Antioch High football fans and players, especially the seniors, as his seven-yard run in overtime helped seal the ticket for the Falcons to win the game 45-39. They advance to their first ever NCS Division I championship game and will face Brentwood’s Liberty High Lions in their first championship appearance in over 100 years, at Heritage High, Saturday night, Dec. 2.

Freedom’s Giles Jackson runs it in for a touchdown in OT winning the game 45-39. They head to the NCS Division 1 Championship game for the first time ever as the song “Hang on Snoopy” played over the loudspeaker at the Falcons’ stadium.

Many of Antioch’s players had their heads down, with tears running down their eyes which is perfectly normal reaction to have. Especially when some of these players will never be able to play another snap of football in a black and gold uniform.

According to the experts, Antioch was not supposed to get this far. The Panthers were not supposed to receive a number three seed in the NCS playoffs. Let alone, Antioch was not even supposed to win two games.

But they did, and they should be pretty satisfied with this season for shutting all the doubters up.

Najee Harris is a familiar name throughout the entire Bay Area, but Antioch is not a one-player team. They clearly asserted that with their performance.

Offensively, they had Dalaan Green getting a majority of the carries leading the team in rushing with 1,059 yards, followed by athlete Omari Harris backing him up when it came to power drives.

Antioch scored again tying the game at 39 with 3:40 left to play. The Panthers were going to attempt a 2-point conversion. But with two penalties totaling 20 yards Antioch chose to kick and it was blocked again, for the third time in the game.

However, Willem Karnthong was the best of both worlds. Not only did he break the record for the most career touchdowns in Antioch history, but he is on pace to break the record for most career touchdowns. Essentially, making him the statistically best quarterback in Antioch’s history. And he has a whole campaign left in him.

He had a plethora of options to throw to, including junior Gaudie Campbell and senior Isaiah Avery.

Defensively, Antioch had one of the most dangerous offensive lines with Garrett Robinson and Timmy Dorsey. In fact, Robinson was robbed out of the Bay Valley Athletic League MVP award. The achievement instead went to Liberty’s Nicky Einess.

The most impressive performance by Antioch was during the Big Little Game against Pittsburg. Yes, they lost 14-12, but they were the team that came closest to beating the BVAL champs. Pitt beat the two teams in the championship game, blanking Liberty 35-0 and besting Freedom 47-32.

The Panthers will come back strong, fierce and hungrier than ever to win next year’s BVAL title. Antioch will have plenty of weapons remaining in their arsenal including junior linebacker and tight and Vinny Ballardo, along with sophomore DeJuan Butler.

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Tickets to Monday night’s Antioch Family Night with the Warriors still available

Sunday, November 26th, 2017

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Awards banquet honors Antioch Speedway Champions

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Promoter John M. Soares gave a brief State Of The Race Track speech before the ceremonies. Photos by Paul Gould

Art McCarthy

By Don Martin II

John and Donna Soares wrapped up their 20th season of promoting at Antioch Speedway with the awards banquet Saturday night, Nov. 18.  Eight champions and “Rookie Of The Year” awards and the Top 10 drivers in all eight divisions were honored.  The Top three drivers also received point fund money, and the champions received two championship jackets sponsored by Hoosier Tire and the track.

Bryan Grier

Soares went to the podium before the awards were handed out.  He thanked all of the racers for their support and talked a bit about the state of racing.  Soares noted that he feels the track is on the upswing.

“At many places, racing is down. We’re doing okay and the numbers are coming around,” said Soares.

Jeff Decker

For those keeping track of the history of the track, John and Gladys Soares, the current promoter’s parents, opened the gates and ran the track from 1961-1980.  This means a Soares has promoted the track for 40 of its 57 seasons.

“Dad built this track and I felt I should keep the family name here,” Soares explained.

Art McCarthy made the biggest comeback of the season by making up over 60 points to win the Winged 360 Sprint Car title.  McCarthy won three Main Events en route to his second Antioch championship season.  Marissa Polizzi had a great season in second, and Burt Foland Jr. was third.  Jake Tuttle finished fourth in points and was this year’s top rookie.

Mike Corsaro

Jeff Decker skipped the speech, letting his six wins and his third Antioch Speedway DIRTcar Late Model championship do the talking for him.  The battle for second went down to the wire, and David Newquist edged Shawn DeForest to finish there.  Kimo Oreta finished fifth in the final standings to win”Rookie Of The Year honors.

Bobby Motts Jr. and family.

Bobby Motts Jr. set out to win the A Modified championship in dedication to Steven Cunningham, a family member and fellow racer who died prior to the season.  Motts, who has teamed with Mike Ferry for years, is a past Antioch Speedway Street Stock champion.  One win and four second place finishes helped propel him to the championship.  Sean O’Gara had his best season in second, and Eric Berendsen claimed Rookie Of The Year honors with his third place point season.

Bryan Grier needed his fourth win of the season to wrap up his Wingless Spec Sprint championship.  Grier won a very close battle for the Spec Sprint title three years ago at Watsonville.  He remarked that it is very difficult to win a points race before thanking his crew for their hard work.  Rick Panfili was just two points out of the lead going into the finale, but an opening lap crash ended his race.  Second is sill Panfili’s best season as he has been a part of the Spec Sprints since they were added to Antioch in 1999.  Five-time winner Bob Newberry ended up third.  Abigail Gonderman finished seventh in points and won the Rookie Of The Year award.

Kimo Oreta

Kimo Oreta was already set to drive the Sun Drop Racing Late Model for his rookie season.  When Larry Damitz died before the season, they picked him to pilot Larry’s #15 championship Limited Late Model as well.  Oreta responded by winning four Main Events, finishing second five times and giving the team their eighth division championship between Antioch and Merced.  Oreta thanked the Sun Drop team for letting him drive their cars.  He also recalled how he had switched from racing pavement to dirt and how Damitz was there to help him win his first Hobby Stock championship.

Jim Freethy had a solid season and held off Mark Garner in a close battle for second.  Freethy won three Main Events, while Garner won two.  Garner maintained an impressive double division effort, and he used three wins to finish second in B Modified points.  Chad Hammer finished sixth in Limited Late Model points to win the top rookie award.

K.C. Keller

K.C. Keller had an amazing B Modified season that saw him only miss the Top 5 once during the year.  He scored four feature wins and won the championship.  Following Garner was Chuck Golden in third.  Two-time winner Todd Gomez was seventh in the standings and won Rookie Of The Year honors.

Cameron Swank

Another of the close battles took place in Hobby Stocks.  It was a four-car battle for much of the season before Chris Sorensen and Chris Long faded.  Cameron Swank had two wins late in the season after he had four seconds.  This resulted in him winning the championship. Rookie Of The Year Brent Curran won two races.  Though he had four of his five second place finishes in the last four races, Curran settled for second in points ahead of fellow rookie Chris Bennett.

Mike Corsaro won his first Dwarf Car championship on the strength of three wins.  He was quick to thank long time Dwarf Car racer Charlie Correia for getting him involved in the sport and all of his support.  Devan Kammermann was the top rookie and second in points after a close battle with David Michael Rosa.

Soares is already at work planning the 2018 season.  For more information visit www.antiochspeedway.com.

 

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Antioch loses to Pitt in Big Little Game for second year, but blanks Irvington 38-0 in first round of playoffs

Friday, November 17th, 2017

Antioch celebrates stopping Pittsburg in their first red zone trip during the Big Little Game on Friday, Nov. 3, 2017. Photo by Jesus Cano

Panthers play Dublin Saturday, Nov. 18; Deer Valley makes first round of playoffs, but falls to Amador Valley

Antioch’s Dalann Green scores the Panthers’ second touchdown during the Big Little Game. Photo from AUSD Facebook page.

By Jesus Cano

PITTSBURG, CALIF. – Donovan Crosse’s interception with three minutes remaining secured the Bay Valley Athletic League title for Pittsburg. The host Pirates narrowly escaped the 99th Big Little Game with a 14-12 win over Antioch.

The teams scored equal touchdowns. However, the difference was two missed extra-point attempts by the Panthers.

“After missing the first kick we had to go for two,” Antioch head coach John Lucido said. “I’m never satisfied with losing but these guys rose to the challenge.”

This victory ended a two-year title drought for Pittsburg – the longest under head coach Vic Galli’s 16-year tenure.

The JV and Varsity Cheer teams from Antioch and Pittsburg High School performed together at halftime. Photo by AUSD

Quarterback Justin Boyd is in his first year at the varsity level but is no stranger to big games, having played against juggernaut teams such as Serra and Centennial. The Pittsburg junior threw for 147-yard and two passing touchdowns.

“We should have won by more,” Boyd said. “I’m confident in my boys. They’re a good team, but we made a lot of mistakes.”

Boyd completed his first touchdown to his cousin A’Jae Boyd on a 74-yard catch-and-run in the second quarter. He then connected with Willie Harts III for a 66-yard go-head score in the third quarter.

Harts also believes his team should have won by more than two points. He said that if this game was played again, it would be contrasting.

“The result would be totally different,” Harts said. “We’ll be more prepared and take it more serious.”

Antioch was three points away from giving Liberty its first league championship in since 1985. Since the Lions defeated Freedom 37-35 yesterday, the Pirates needed to win in order to claim the BVAL title.

Antioch’s Noah Wallace blocks the Pittsburg ball carrier. Photo by AUSD

The Panthers scored on their first drive of the game after a series of Willem Karnthong keepers. The junior quarterback finished it off with a 41-yard soaring pass to Gaudie Campbell. As soon as Campbell’s feet touched the surface of the end zone, the entire home side of Pirate Stadium was on mute. Meanwhile, the visiting side erupted.

Antioch extended its lead later in the first quarter on a Dalaan Green six-yard rush after Karnthong set him up with a 28-yard pass to Campbell.

Despite Pittsburg winning the 99th Big Little Game and BVAL title, Galli was not satisfied with his team’s win. However, he acknowledged Antioch’s level of competitiveness.

“That team played their a** off tonight and they brought it to us,” Galli said. “Our offense owes our defense a lot.”

To watch a recap of the game, on MaxPreps, click here.

Antioch Blanks Irvington

In the first round of the North Coast Section (NCS)/Les Schwab Tires Division 1 championship on the evening of Veterans Day, Saturday, Nov. 11 the 3rd seed Antioch Panthers beat the 14th seed Irvington High Vikings of Fremont 38-0. Antioch was up 35-0 at half-time. The win gives Antioch a 7-3 record for the season.

Wolverines Fall to Amador Valley

In their first round of the NCS playoffs, the 7th seed Amador Valley Dons were too much for the 10th seed Deer Valley Wolverines beating them 26-13.

Panthers Face Dublin Saturday Night

Antioch moves on to the second round of post-season play when they face the 11th seed Dublin Gaels Saturday night, Nov. 18 at 7:00 p.m. in Dublin.

Good luck, Panthers!

Allen Payton contributed to this report.

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Delta Baseball & Softball League now accepting 2018 online registration, 10% discount before Dec. 1st

Friday, November 10th, 2017

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