Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

Crowell, Ryland, Gonderman share Antioch Speedway Winner’s Circle, Saturday night

Sunday, April 17th, 2016

AntiochSpeedwayLogoBy Don Martin II

Serving notice to the competition that he will be a force in the A Modified division this season, Aaron Crowell won the 20 lap Main Event Saturday night at Antioch Speedway.  Fred Ryland returned and won the 20 lap B Modified finale, while Dan Gonderman grabbed the checkered flag in the non stop 20 lap Wingless Spec Sprint feature.  Richard Papenhausen rebounded from his season opening disappointment with a Late Model Main Event triumph, and Mike Gustafson won the Limited Late Model feature.

Aaron Crowell figures to be a major player in the A Modified point battle this year.  The 2004 division champion grabbed the lead in the Main Event and led a trio of past champions in posting the impressive victory in the season opener for the division.  It was Kellen Chadwick driving a good race to finish second ahead of 2014 champion Carl Berendsen II.  Josh Combs brought it home in fourth as double division racer Chester Kniss finished fifth in the 22 car field. Kniss blew a motor at the checkered flag.  Defending champion Scott Busby won the first heat race ahead of Norman Boeck, while Combs held off Jeff Thomas to win the second heat.  The third heat race win went to Mikey Slaney ahead of Crowell.

With his protege, Marcus Smith, landing a ride in the Richard Basden Spec Sprint this year, two time division champion  Dan Gonderman got the ride in Smith’s #28 car.  The second generation racer took full advantage of it by scoring an impressive victory in the Main Event.  Coming off of back to back Top 3 point efforts, Rick Panfili started his season off right by collecting another career best second place finish.  Panfili set the pace for 12 laps before being passed by the flying Gonderman.  His second place finish didn’t come easy with the division’s all time win leader, Jim Perry Jr., in hot pursuit for a hird place finish.  Past Chowchilla Speedway Spec Sprint Champion Brandon Burd brought it home with a fourth place finish.

After missing a race two weeks ago, 2015 B Modified champion Fred Ryland returned to remind the rest of the pack that he is still a force in the division.  Fred drove to his second feature win of the season, while wife Patti Ryland made it a Ryland Racing 1-2 finish at Bob Kempf’s checkered flag.  K.C. Keller collected a career best third place finish ahead of title hopeful Brian Pearce and Paul Mulder, who was making his season debut.  Pearce won his heat race ahead of Al Johnson, while F. Ryland beat P. Ryland in the other heat race.

The Late Models opened the night with a heat race duel between 2014 champion Richard Papenhausen and defending champion Jeff Decker.  Papenhausen made a last lap pass to grab the lead and win from Decker.  Coming off of his heat race win at the opener, Chester Kniss had high hopes of winning the feature from his front row start.  He led for several laps before steering issues dropped him back in the pack.  Papenhausen made his move from last starting to get the win ahead of Decker and David Newquist.  Kniss settle for fourth as Dennis Souza rounded out the Top 5.

Two time Limited Late Model champion Mike Gustafson was back behind the wheel of his familiar blue and yellow #2 Limited Late Model, and the division’s all time feature win leader looked as fast as ever in collecting the win in their 20 lap feature.  Previous winner Larry Damitz had to start in the back as per track rules, and his charge to the front was cut short as he pitted around the halfway mark of the race.  At that point, the red flag flew when Jim Freethy’s car caught fire.  As Gustafson led Mark Garner and rookie Kimo Oreta, Lori Brown’s fourth place run was cut short with mechanical issues.  The mechanical gremlins struck again as Garner’s run ended with a few laps remaining.  Gustasfson collected the win ahead of Oreta.  Garner and Brown were scored third and fourth, respectively.  Donny Richardson won the heat race ahead of Brown.

Racing continues at Antioch Speedway next week with Winged 360 Sprint Cars headlining along with A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  For further information, check the official Antioch Speedway website at www.antiochspeedway.com.

Antioch Speedway, Saturday, April 16

A Modifieds

Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Scott Busby, Josh Combs, Mikey Slaney.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Aaron Crowell, Kellen Chadwick, Carl Berendsen II, Combs, Chester Kniss.

B Modifieds

Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Brian Pearce, Fred Ryland.  Main Event (20 Laps)-F. Ryland, Patti Ryland, K.C. Keller, Pearce, Paul Mulder.

Wingless Spec Sprints

Main Event (20 Laps)-Dan Gonderman, Rick Panfili, Jim Perry Jr., Brandon Burd.

Late Models

Heat Winner (8 Laps)-Richard Papenhausen.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Papenhausen, Jeff Decker, David Newquist, Chester Kniss, Dennis Souza.

Limited Late Models

Heat Winner-Donny Richardson.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Mike Gustafson, Kimo Oreta, Mark Garner, Lori Brown.

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Deer Valley High boys varsity soccer team earns CIF and NCS scholastic honor for GPA

Saturday, April 16th, 2016
DVHS 2016 Boys Soccer Team - Top row from left to right: Fabian Wence, Omar Alsugire, Edgard Morazan, Luke Fernandes, Christian Rodriguez, Ryan Eng, Jonathan Amavisca, Enrique Fajardo, Cameron Park, Isaiah Moreira, Coach Juan Tannus,  Bottom row from left to right: Diego Ruiz, David Espiritu, Daniel Huerta, Armando Fajardo, Corey Alford, Rodolfo “Rury” Saucedo, José Navarro, and our Manager Alex Wilmes. Not pictured : Edgar Contreras.

DVHS 2015-16 Boys Soccer Team – Top row from left to right: Fabian Wence, Omar Alsugire, Edgard Morazan, Luke Fernandes, Christian Rodriguez, Ryan Eng, Jonathan Amavisca, Enrique Fajardo, Cameron Park, Isaiah Moreira, Coach Juan Tannus, Bottom row from left to right: Diego Ruiz, David Espiritu, Daniel Huerta, Armando Fajardo, Corey Alford, Rodolfo “Rury” Saucedo, José Navarro, and our Manager Alex Wilmes. Not pictured : Edgar Contreras.

By Allen Payton

At their annual awards banquet, the 18 members of the Deer Valley High School boys varsity team were presented with scholastic achievement awards. Each player was awarded by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) and North Coast Section (NCS) with a Distinguished Scholastic Team Certificate of 3.33 GPA. Nine players earned a GPA of 3.5 or better.

“I think this is an outstanding accomplishment for our varsity team this year,” said Coach Juan Tannus. “Our school and I are very proud of this achievement.”

 

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Michael Leal becomes DVHS baseball’s new skipper at 24 years old

Monday, March 28th, 2016
New Deer Valley High School baseball coach Mike Leal. photo by Luke Johnson

New Deer Valley High School baseball coach Michael Leal. photo by Luke Johnson

By Luke Johnson

Deer Valley High School’s baseball team is going in a youthful direction and has hired Michael Leal to lead the program at just 24 years old.

“I think they just wanted to go with a younger style, just because there’s a little more energy, a little more passion, a little more want to win just like the players,” Leal said.

Leal graduated from DVHS in 2010, and led a 20-5 team with 23 RBI his senior year as the primary catcher. He also batted .308 and had an ERA of 2.50 while on the mound.

After playing at Diablo Valley College, Leal began his coaching career at Perk’s Sports Academy, which is a high level travel ball organization in Antioch. He said one of his biggest mentors has been Dennis Luquet, who coached at DVHS for 16 seasons, and made the North Coast Section Playoffs during 15 of those seasons with an overall record of 269-123. Leal was also influenced by Andy Tarpley during his time at DVC, who recently won back-to-back NCS Championships at College Park High School.

“He can teach everyone everything from making the grass grow, which he did over the fall here, to sliding into home plate,” Kevin Parker, 51, said about assistant coaching for someone much younger than him. “A guy with that much knowledge and passion to teach, which he does have, it makes it easier to coach with.”

When Leal was in high school, DVHS’s athletic program was on top of the Bay Valley Athletic League, and brought home 23 championships during his junior and senior years. But over the past two calendar years, the school has only totaled one league title. It hired new head coaches for the three most popular sports (football, basketball and baseball) as a result.

After finishing 8-15 last season, the baseball team hopes to rebuild and be competitive this year under the senior leadership of infielder Nassir Issa and five-tool outfielder Tyler Toland, along with talented junior right-handed pitcher Neftaly Perez.

“I for sure have a better chemistry with him,” Issa said about Leal, comparing him to former and older head coaches. “I can talk to him about whatever, even if it’s about school or something. Other coaches were just strictly baseball, but with him, if I have an issue, I can talk it out with him.”

The Wolverines have started off the season 3-3 with all their victories against opponents with winning records.

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Two more Antioch High underclassmen earn football scholarships

Friday, March 25th, 2016
Campbell and Omari received offers of scholarships. photo by Luke Johnson

Antioch High varsity football players Guadie Campbell and Omari Harris received offers of scholarships, earlier this month. photo by Luke Johnson

By Luke Johnson

Two star football players from Antioch High School, other than the nation’s number one recruit Najee Harris, received Division I football scholarship offers early in March.

First, freshman wide receiver Guadie Campbell was offered by Brigham Young University on March 2, followed by an offer from Eastern Washington University two days later.

On that same day, sophomore linebacker/running back Omari Harris (no relation to Najee) earned an opportunity to play at the University of Nebraska, then received the same news from the University of California, Berkeley on March 7. All of these are full-ride scholarships.

Campbell’s offers came under rare circumstances, considering he has yet to record a varsity stat. He played the entire 2015-16 regular season on the freshman team, and was pulled up to varsity during the playoffs with minimal playing time. But BYU noticed his upside and potential, and wanted to jump on him early.

Now with these new accolades, Campbell feels opponents might start targeting him due to his young age.

“I’m just a freshman,” he said. “They think, ‘Oh, he has offers. He’s just been going against little kids.’ That just gives me an opportunity to show them how I got these offers.”

Omari Harris started his high school career at De La Salle, then transferred to Antioch as a sophomore. He became a part of the Panthers’ historic 10-0 season, and finished the year strong, filling in for injured senior linebacker/running back Nick Perry. He recorded 203 rushing yards with 22 carries, four touchdowns and three sacks.

“It’s exciting, because it brings so much positivity to the team and the school,” offensive coordinator Brett Dudley said. “A couple years ago, you mention ‘Antioch,’ and no one knows where it is. Now the notoriety that our team got this year, going 10-0 in the regular season, I mention, ‘Antioch,’ and people who aren’t even college coaches say, ‘Oh, I know where that is. I know about you guys. I’ve heard of your team. I’ve heard of your running back,’ or this or that. It’s really put Antioch on the map.”

Dudley added that when he started coaching at Antioch six years ago, he could not beg anyone enough to click on a highlight tape, but now, he has college coaches and scouts in his inbox “night and day.”

When asked who they credit their success to, Campbell and Omari Harris were thankful for the same three things: God, family and Malu Fitness.

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Drivers flock to Antioch Speedway Practice Day, opener set for Saturday, March 26

Sunday, March 20th, 2016
Brian Pearce has been gone for a while, but he has returned and made some practice laps in his #15 B Modified.  Photo By Ryan Brown.

Brian Pearce has been gone for a while, but he has returned and made some practice laps in his #15 B Modified. Photo By Ryan Brown.

Antioch, CA – March 19…The racers had a need for speed Saturday afternoon.  Over 50 drivers flocked to Antioch Speedway to get one final practice in before race day comes.  Next Saturday, the gates will open on the 56th season of racing at Antioch Speedway.  Promoter John M. Soares will be at the helm for his 19th season in charge, just one year shy of his father, John P. Soares, who opened the track for weekly racing back in 1961.

Patti Ryland #7 is set to compete in her second season in Sport Modifieds.  Photo by Michael Briggs.

Patti Ryland #7 is set to compete in her second season in Sport Modifieds. Photo by Michael Briggs

Next Saturday night is sure to be an action packed night of racing as Stock Cars will take center stage.  On the card for the March 26th event will be Late Models, Limited Late Models, B Mods, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  The season will run all the way through September 24th with a possible race to be announced for October 8th.

With Late Models on the card this week, David Newquist was at the track making some good laps in practice.  Newquist has been Top 5 ranked over the last two seasons at Antioch.  Lettering had just been completed on the Chester Kniss Late Model, but the team was saving that debut for this week’s season opener.

The A Modifieds were well represented on Saturday.  Though they don’t make their season debut until the $1000 to win race on April 9th, several Modified drivers were making good laps, including potential title contender Aaron Crowell.  Crowell was the track champion in 2004 and a two time feature winner last year as he debuted his new car.

Guy Ahlwardt  #10 is making his racing debut in this beautiful #10 Hobby Stock.  He's ready for Saturday's opener.  Photo by Ryan Brown.

Guy Ahlwardt #10 is making his racing debut in this beautiful #10 Hobby Stock. He’s ready for Saturday’s opener. Photo by Ryan Brown

Four time champion Troy Foulger was there as well.  Racing for points this season may not be in his plans, but if that changes, Foulger is the driver to beat.  After blowing a motor last year while running second, past Top 3 Modified driver Sean O’Gara missed the remainder of the season, but the second generation racer was back to test his new motor.

Also back making laps in his new Modified was Mikey Slaney.  Slaney is a past Top 5 driver in multiple divisions at the speedway, and son Anthony Slaney will also be racing this year.  Trent Wentworth, Norm Boeck and Josh Combs also put their cars through the paces.

B Mods get to race for $400 to win when the A Mods make their season debut on April 9th, but they are also part of next week’s opener.  Brian Pearce debuted his new B Mod at practice.  A top 10 driver in the A Mods during the early part of the previous decade, the cost factor took him out of the running, but he’s back and made some good laps on Saturday.

Tim Hammett #33 got a little too close to the wall exiting Turn 2 make laps on practice day.  He's looking forward to this week;s opening race.  Photo by Ryan Brown.

Tim Hammett #33 got a little too close to the wall exiting Turn 2 make laps on practice day. He’s looking forward to this week;s opening race. Photo by Ryan Brown

Two talented ladies, Megan Ponciano and Patti Ryland, were practicing for next week’s B Mod opener.  Ryland is last year’s “Rookie Of The Year” and third ranked driver, while Ponciano is a past runner up in points in this division.  Both of them have won championships in other divisions at the speedway.

Two second year racers, K.C. Keller and Tim Hammett, were making laps on Saturday.  Keller is coming off a Top 10 season last year, while Hammett is hoping to bounce back from a difficult rookie year with a new car.  Though he was still dealing with handling issues, he says this car is better than his old car.

Limited Late Models were well represented in their final tuneup before next week’s opener.  Kimo Oreta was making his first laps in his new car as he sets his sights on “Rookie Of The Year” honors this season.  Larry Damitz is back and could be in line for his third straight championship.  The 86 year old has been racing since the mid 1950′s at the old Contra Costa Speedway in Pacheco.

Set to give Damitz a run for the money is Jim Freethy is the beautiful #99 car.  Freethy was making some good laps on Saturday.  He bears the distinction of being the only driver to beat Damitz for a championship since 2010.  He won the 2013 championship.  Paul Hanley and Jon Haney were other Limited Late Model racers making laps at the speedway.

After three straight Hobby Stock titles, Kimo Oreta #03 made his first laps in a Limited Late Model before this week's opener.  Photo by Michael Briggs.

After three straight Hobby Stock titles, Kimo Oreta #03 made his first laps in a Limited Late Model before this week’s opener. Photo by Michael Briggs

Dwarf Cars are at next week’s opener, and over ten cars were at the practice this week.  This included the team cars of 77 year old Charlie Correia and Mike Corsaro.  Correia, who has been racing in this division regularly for over 20 years, has recovered from a shoulder injury suffered in a hard crash at Merced Speedway last year.  Corsaro, meanwhile, could very will be the driver to beat in the championship chase after his impressive top 5 season last year.  Kevin Miraglio will also be a driver to watch as he got some good practice laps in as well.

Rookie Guy Alhwardt made his debut in a new car as the Hobby Stocks were well represented.  They will open their season this Saturday.  Danny Jones could be a serious contender.  He and daughter Jessica Jones were both making laps in their team cars.  Nick Baldwin was back for some laps after an impressive Top 10 season at Placerville after a late start last year.  Should he be back full time, he’s a definite contender.  Baldwin has ranked third twice at Antioch.  Chris Long was back in the old Bob Ackerman car.  He’s hoping to make a move up the point ladder this season.

Rob Waldrop #36 is ready for the five Hardtop races that Antioch Speedway will have this season.  Photo by Michael Briggs.

Rob Waldrop #36 is ready for the five Hardtop races that Antioch Speedway will have this season. Photo by Michael Briggs

Jack Haverty is just hoping to rinse the foul taste of the bad luck he had last year out of his mouth.  Haverty did get a win, but he had two of the harder crashes of anybody at the speedway last year.  Open wheel veteran Brian Gray, Tim Reeder, Josh Miller and Jenna Frazier were among the others taking their turns around the John M. Soares prepared three-eighths mile clay oval.

Sprint Cars aren’t on the card until April 2nd, but several winged cars made laps in tune up for the 13 race schedule they have this year at Antioch.  Veteran Dan Gonderman is hoping to improve on his fourth place ranking, and more importantly, get his first win.  Gonderman has raced in several divisions and has wins in Street Stocks, Dirt Modifieds and Wingless Spec Sprints, where he is a two time champion.  He was also making laps in the Marcus Smith #28 Spec Sprinter, which he will be racing this season.  Robby McMahan, Chico Econo Sprint champion Brandon Powell and the team cars of Shawn Conde were among the others in the winged class making laps.

Not to be forgotten are the Wingless Spec Sprints, who are set for an April 9th season kickoff.  Having ranked second in Dwarf Cars before getting his license during the winter, Adam Teves turned his first laps in the Dana Craig/Cameron Beard owned car.  Of significance is that this car is a tribute car to the legendary open wheel super star, Lloyd Beard.

It all kicks off at Antioch Speedway with a five division show this Saturday night, which will include Late Models, Limited Late Models, B  Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.  It’s going to the start of an exciting season of racing.

Antioch Speedway is located within the Contra Costa County Fairgrounds, 1201 W. 10th St. in Antioch, Calif. Admission is $15 for adults, $10 for senior citizens, and $10 for children 6-12. Children under six years old are admitted free. A family four pack of tickets is $40. Secured parking is offered by the Fairgrounds for $5. Racing begins at 6:30 p.m.  For further information, check out www.antiochspeedway.com

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High school basketball player in Antioch leads league in scoring, surpasses 1,200 career points

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Cornerstone Christian School Basketball Team #10 player Devin Hicks, Antioch, Ca.,Feb.12. by Cathie Lawrence

Cornerstone Christian School Basketball team player #10 Devin Hicks, Antioch, Ca.,Feb.12, 2016. photo by Cathie Lawrence

Cornerstone Christian boys’ basketball has best season in program history

By Luke Johnson

Antioch’s Cornerstone Christian High School senior guard Devon Hicks was born with tight tendons in his hands, which makes him unable to fully extend some of his fingers on each hand. Despite that, Hicks leads the Small School Bridge Athletic League in scoring with 22.4 points per game.

“Some people look at it as a birth defect, but I look at it as motivation to get better,” Hicks said.

Thinking with positive mindset was not always easy for Hicks. He found himself frustrated at times attempting to perform simple tasks such as catching a ball. But he said he was able to persevere through his faith in God.

“I know God has a better plan for me,” Hicks said. “There are people out there who have it far worse… When I was little I sometimes questioned why it happened to me. But as I got older I realized instead of quitting to just keep working hard… That’s my motto.”

On Senior Night, the school presented Hicks with an honor of being Cornerstone Boys All Time Scoring Leader with 1,249 points and All Time Leader Three-Points Made with 182. He’s also a two-time recipient of All SSBL Honors.

In his freshman year, Cornerstone did not have a boys’ varsity basketball program because there were not enough players to fill the roster minimum of six. According to Pastor Steve Miner, the school has approximately 60 students grades 9-12, and less than half of them are male. Fast forward to the present — the team is having its winningest season with a 16-5 record, and earned a Division-VI North Coast Section Playoff berth for the first time in program history.

“It feels unreal, because I started out literally begging people to play,” he said. “I just want to set this up for future years to come at Cornerstone.”

Hicks is the only senior on team, and will soon leave behind a legacy that has encouraged the underclassmen to step up their game.

“He’s an inspiration to all of us by his work ethic, his good attitude [and] his sense of humor. He’s a good kid,” coach Ezra Hunter said.

The Cougars could not have reached this level of success if it were not for Hicks’s right-hand man, Amari Simmons. The 6-foot-2 junior ranks number one in NCS in rebounds with 11.2 per game, and is also among the top scorers with 19.7 points per game.

The postseason begins Wednesday, Feb. 24, and Cornerstone will start off by traveling 282 miles north to face Ferndale High School (15-10) in the first round of NCS.

Cornerstone is located at 1745 East 18th Street in Antioch.

 

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2016 Antioch Speedway season begins March 12

Saturday, February 20th, 2016
(092615) Antioch Speedway Action -  Bobby Hogge IV (2) of Salinas passes Livermore's Bran Cass for the lead in the first leg of the Delta-Valley Classic Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. Hogge IV went on to win both legs of the annual event with his San Jose-based car. He won Sunday night at Merced Speedway, collecting a bonus for the unlikely feat. Hogge IV has won both legs of the event twice in four years. (Mike Adaskaveg Photo)

(092615) Antioch Speedway Action – Bobby Hogge IV (2) of Salinas passes Livermore’s Bran Cass for the lead in the first leg of the Delta-Valley Classic Saturday night at Antioch Speedway. Hogge IV went on to win both legs of the annual event with his San Jose-based car. He won Sunday night at Merced Speedway, collecting a bonus for the unlikely feat. Hogge IV has won both legs of the event twice in four years. photo by Mike Adaskaveg

The 2016 Antioch Speedway schedule was just released, and it details a season that begins with March 12 and 19 playdays, followed by the season opener on March 26.  Racing is booked nearly every week from then through September 24 with a race to be announced on October 8.  Generally, there will be five divisions on race night with the occasional six division show.

Notable on the schedule are the 25 races currently listed for the B “Sport” Mods and 20 races for the Hobby Stocks.  Those two divisions will be doing the “heavy lifting” for the speedway as the next most races are booked for the A Mods (15).  Dwarf Cars, Wingless Spec Sprints and Limited Late Models all remain on the schedule.  On alternate weeks, Winged 360 Sprint Cars and Late Models will headline the show, and California Hardtops have been scheduled five times.  The BCRA Midget Lites make two appearances.

Details of purse and point fund money for Winged 360 Sprints and Late Models are forthcoming.  Last year, and despite some low turnouts, the Sprint Cars still paid $1200 to win and $150 to start.  This year’s schedule has 13 dates for the popular Winged Sprint Cars, five more than last year.

The real question is who will be supporting the class, and will car count increase?  Oval Motorsports has made a commitment to establishing this division at Antioch.  Defending champion Shawn Arriaga, past champion Art McCarthy, Dan Gonderman, Ricky Brophy and possibly two cars from the Haulot Racing Team are among those expected to return, and the potential is there to at least maintain 10-12 cars per race.

The Late Models, meanwhile, are coming off of a season in which they usually had no less than then ten cars throughout the 14 race schedule.  It’s not anticipated that this will change for this 11 race season, but who will be coming back is the question.  Jeff Decker, Chester Kniss, David Newquist and Mike Hynes are anticipated, along with cars from the Guglielmoni racing stables, Rob Norris, Dennis Souza, Danny Malfatti and Troy Foulger.

B Mods are being put to the test with a heavy schedule.  Ryland Racing is expected to return with defending champion Fred Ryland and his wife Patti Ryland both racing.  Chuck Golden, Al Johnson, Ron Brown, Trevor Clymens, Keith Brown Jr., Megan Ponciano and K.C. Keller are others to watch for.  We should be seeing a few rookies in the class, including Jeremey Jennings and a car from the Swank Racing Team.

Some of the biggest buzz centers around the Hobby Stocks as 2015 champion Kimo Oreta moves up to Limited Late Models. This leaves the race wide open, and one question centers around how much racing past champions Brad and Melissa Myers will do this year.  Jordan Swank is anticipated to be one of the front runners along with Michael Cooper, Danny Jones, Natalie Perry, Robert Niven and Frank Furtado.

Two past champions, Dan McCown and Chris Sorensen, and hard charger Chris Long are both anticipated to be on the highly competitive roster as well Steven Rogers, Chase Templeton, Mitchell Loccicere, Jim Robbins and at least one car from the Jennings Racing Team.  Also joining the fray are rookies like Billy Garner, Brent Curran, Guy Ahlwardt, Lindsey Buirch and Natalie Waldrop.  The fact is, the Hobby Stocks are poised for a big season since it appears as if the rules situation has settled down.

Speaking of rules issues settling down, the Wingless Spec Sprints should have a better season this year as well.  While champion Kyle Bakkie may not be racing as much as he concentrates on his studies, Rick Panfili, Alan Miranda, James East, Peter Carlotto and Jeremy Newberry are anticipated this season.

It gets better as Jimmy Perry III will be joined by his father, Jim Perry Jr., this year.  Perry Jr. and Perry III are both past champions and are first and third, respectively, on the division’s all time win list.  After a runner up season in Dwarf Cars, Adam Teves is moving up to Spec Sprints to make a run at top rookie honors.

Furthermore, last year’s top rookie, Marcus Smith, was preparing a car for the new season when he landed the ride in Richard Basden’s #20 car, numbered in honor of the retiring division original Keith Shipherd.  Meanwhile, Smith’s car will be driven by two time champion Dan Gonderman.  Speaking of two time champions, Billy Macedo is anticipated for the coming season as well.

The A Mod roster should remain competitive.  Aaron Crowell should be ready out of the gate this year, which could put him in line for his second championship.  Five time champion Scott Busby may have something to say about that.  Other drivers to watch for include Bobby Motts Jr., 2014 titlist Carl Berendsen II, Trent Wentworth, Nick Viscusi III, Troy Foulger, Shawn DeForest, Josh Combs, Mike Salazar, Clay Twigg and Ed Daviess.

David Teves will return to attempt to defend his Dwarf Car championship, but he can expect a challenge from two time champion Danny Wagner and hard charger Mike Corsaro.  Ageless veteran Charlie Correia should also be back, while Kevin Miraglio is poised for a breakout season.  Other hard chargers like Kurtis Craig, Miranda Chappa, Thomas Leiby, Tim Reeder, Brian Gray, 2010 champion Jerry Doty and Josh Nelson will make this another strong season for Dwarf Car racing in Antioch.

Not to be forgotten in the equation is Limited Late Models, where Larry Damitz has won four of the last five championships and just may be the driver to beat.  As he has dialed in the car he debuted last season, 2013 champion Jim Freethy may have something to say about that, and Mark Garner will be out to improve on last season’s third place ranking.  John Evans will field the former Mike Hynes car, while Lori Brown, Eric Berendsen, Calvin Louis, Kimo Oreta, Jim Robbins, Gene Haney, John Keith, Ryan Cherezian and all time Limited Late Model feature win leader Mike Gustafson should also be on the roster.

The California Hardtops will get five races, making Antioch the track giving the Northern California vintage racing division the most races on dirt.  Mike McCann certainly assisted in the process of making this happen as he began discussions with John M. Soares.  CHA leader John Philbert was able to finalize the deal.  Rob Waldrop was the top dirt track racer last season in this group, driving for Bill McLaughlin, and he will be back this year.  Other drivers we’ll be anticipating this season include Tommy Thomson in the car he raced at Vallejo Speedway in the late 1970′s, Dan Williams, Ken Clifford, Jason Clifford, Dennis Armstrong, Jason Armstrong, Rick Ruiz, Dave Mackey, Larry Damitz and Doug Braudrick.

More details on the schedule should emerge, such as what is and isn’t sanctioned and any special races.  March 26 is the opener and will feature Late Models, Limited Late Models, B Mods, Dwarf Cars and Hobby Stocks.  As always, the schedule is subject to change.  What is not subject to change is the fact that the 19th season of Oval Motorsports promoting Antioch Speedway should offer lots of excitement for the racing fans out there.  The official www.ovalmotorsports.com website will be updated soon for Antioch Speedway information.

2016 Antioch Speedway Schedule

March 12 Practice

March 19 Practice

March 26 Opening Day Late Models, Limited Late Models, B Mods, Dwarf Cars, Hobby Stocks

April 2 Winged 360 Sprints, B Mods, Dwarf Cars, Hobby Stocks, BCRA Midget Lites

April 9 A Mods ($1000 to win), B Mods ($400 to win), Spec Sprints, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks

April 16 Late Models, Spec Sprints, Limited Late Models, A Mods, B Mods

April 23 Winged 360 Sprints, A Mods, B Mods, Dwarf Cars, Hobby Stocks

April 30 Late Models, A Mods, B Mods, Spec Sprints, Hobby Stocks, Hardtops

May 7 Winged 360 Sprints, Limited Late Models, Spec Sprints, B Mods, Hobby Stocks

May 14 Late Models, A Mods, B Mods, Dwarf Cars, Hobby Stocks

May 21 Winged 360 Sprints, A Mods, B Mods, Limited Late Models, Dwarf Cars, Hardtops

June 4 Late Models, B Mods, Spec Sprints, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks

June 11 Winged 360 Sprints, Spec Sprints, A Mods, B Mods, Hobby Stocks

June 18 Late Models, Winged 360 Sprints, A Mods, B Mods, Dwarf Cars

June 25 Winged 360 Sprints, Spec Sprints, B Mods, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks, Hardtops

July 9 Late Models, A Mods, B Mods, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks

July 16 Winged 360 Sprints, Spec Sprints, B Mods, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks

July 23 Late Models, Spec Sprints, Dwarf Cars, B Mods, Hobby Stocks

July 30 Winged 360 Sprints, A Mods, B Mods, Limited Late Models, Dwarf Cars, Hobby Stocks

August 6 Winged 360 Sprint Cars, A Mods, B Mods, Dwarf Cars, Hobby Stocks

August 13 Late Models, Spec Sprints, A Mods, B Mods, Limited Late Models, Dwarf Cars

August 20 Winged 360 Sprints, BCRA Midget Lites, Limited Late Models, B Mods, Hobby Stocks, Hardtops

August 27 Winged 360 Sprints, Spec Sprints, A Mods, B Mods, Hobby Stocks

September 3 Late Models, Spec Sprints, A Mods, B Mods, Dwarf Cars

September 10 Winged 360 Sprints, A Mods, B Mods, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks, Hardtops

September 17 Late Models, Winged 360 Sprints, A Mods, B Mods, Dwarf Cars, Hobby Stocks

September 24 Winged 360 Sprint Cars, Spec Sprints, Limited Late Models, B Mods, Dwarf Cars, Hobby Stocks

October 8 To Be Announced

* Schedule Subject To Change

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Deer Valley High suspends eight players for protest against head coach

Wednesday, February 17th, 2016
Deer Valley girls basketball team members remove their jerseys in protest before the game on Thursday, February 11, 2016. photo by Michael Pohl

Deer Valley girls basketball team members remove their jerseys in protest before the game on Thursday, February 11, 2016. photo by Michael Pohl

Parents allege their students were victims of bullying

By Luke Johnson

Minutes before a home game against Heritage High School last Thursday, players from Deer Valley’s varsity girls’ basketball team threatened to go on strike by taking off their white-home uniforms with their black-away uniforms underneath. This was in an effort to get head coach Linsey Bailey to resign or fired from his job.

DVHS girls varsity basketball coach Lindsey Bailey leaves the court before the game. photo by Michael Pohl

DVHS girls varsity basketball coach Linsey Bailey leaves the court before the game. photo by Michael Pohl

Moments later, he proceeded to exit the gym, ending the protest, so that the game could resume under assistant coaches.

Immediately following the final whistle, DVHS administration conducted an investigation that resulted in 8 out of 12 players on the roster receiving suspensions for the remaining two games of the season with Bailey continuing at the helm the program. This course of action was announced Monday.

Principal Kenneth Gardner said every player was talked to during the investigation and that nothing was found leading to “impropriety or unprofessional behavior becoming the coach,” and only two or three of the players’ concerns were related to playing time. He added that two sets of parents voiced their distress prior to the protest, only regarding playing time.

“Playing time is based on merit and skill, and is at the sole judgment of the coach,” Gardner said. “We did what we felt like we had to do.”

On the contrary, parents claim that the protest had little to do with playing time, and that their kids were victims of bullying by intimidation and verbal abuse from Bailey. One parent, Melvin Davis, said that the “principal was lying through his teeth” after hearing his comments about the investigation.

In a 454-word email sent on Jan. 4 to Vice Principals Tim Cooper and Reggie March, Davis wrote:

“The coach informed the team he has no fear of putting his hands on a player, and offered proof by saying he was currently under investigation at Antioch Middle School for placing a child in a choke hold… The coach was witnessed punching walls on several occasions, visibly cries in front of team on several occasions. I view these as inappropriate.”

Cooper replied the next day, and told Davis he would look into his concerns and talk to players as witnesses.

According to Davis, this followed up with a meeting among himself, Cooper, Bailey and Athletic Director Dan Peters. He said Bailey denied all the allegations, and players were never questioned.

“After that meeting, his treatment of the girls became progressively worse. Myself and other parents continued to complain and were told administration wasn’t going to do anything until after the season was over,” Davis said.

Some parents chose to speak anonymously, while others declined to comment in fear of their children being punished even further.

“They were out of line, and it was very unfair,” an anonymous parent said about the suspensions handed out by DVHS administration. “They just care about protecting the name of the school.”

Numerous parents claim that Bailey, who is a first-year head coach at Deer Valley, was fired from his previous coaching job at Alhambra High School (Martinez). Gardner, nor Alhambra Athletic Director Pat Ertola, could neither confirm nor deny those allegations.

A December 3rd article in the Martinez Tribune states the Alhambra High School “Bulldogs dismissed Linsey Bailey” as head coach last Spring. No additional details on why that occurred are known at this time.

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