Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category
Saturday night at Antioch Speedway featured another action packed event that entertained the crowd and concluded at a reasonable time. When the checkered flag flew on the five Main Events, it was Jeff Decker (A Modifieds), Jim Perry Jr. (Wingless Spec Sprints), Trevor Clymens (B Modifieds), Mark Biscardi (Dwarf Cars) and Melissa Hansen (Hobby Stocks), collecting the victories.
All last season, while he was winning the Late Model championship, Jeff Decker was working on his A Modified. It’s ready now, and he has begun racing in this division as well. With a few of the name drivers not at the track tonight, defending champion Scott Busby was hoping he might add to his all time division leading win total. Unfortunately, he ran into to an obstacle in Decker’s #84 car. Decker drove a good race and earned the victory, forcing Busby to settle for second. Trent Wentworth enjoyed one of his best efforts in a while as he won his heat race and finished third in the feature. The other heat race winner, 2014 champion Carl Berendsen II, was fourth as Norm Boeck rounded out the Top 5.
After back to back third place finishes in Wingless Spec Sprint competition, Jim Perry Jr. decided he had enough of that. The all time winner in Spec Sprint racing with over 40 feature triumphs, Perry Jr. grabbed the lead and set sail for his first win of the season. Only one early yellow slowed the pace, and Perry Jr. would leave the pack behind from there. He was chased across the line by his son, Jimmy Perry III. The father and son are both past division champions. After winning his heat race, Roy Fisher collected a respectable third ahead of defending champion Kyle Bakkie and heat winner James East.
Last time the Dwarf Cars were in action, Bay Area Dwarf Car competitor Mark Biscardi paid the track a visit and brought home the victory. He liked it so much that he returned and impressed with another feature win. Biscardi’s win came ahead of title contender Kevin Miraglio, who is still searching for his first win. This second place finish was Miraglio’s third Top 3 finish of the season. Miraglio was also a heat race winner. Tim Reeder enjoyed his best career finish in third, while heat race winner Chuck Weir was fourth. Teammates Mike Corsaro and Charlie Correia were fifth and sixth, respectively. Corsaro came into the night as the point leader ahead of Miraglio.
The Hobby Stocks produced a solid 15 car field, and point leader Guy Ahlwardt was a heat winner along with Danny Jones and two time division champion Melissa Myers. The Main Event was a fast paced, non stop affair that saw Myers grab the lead. Once she had it, she would not relinquish it as she became the fifth different feature winner in five races. Ahlwardt gave a it a good effort before settling for second. After rolling his daughter’s car in his season debut last time out, past Street Stock champion Rob Waldrop was just happy to keep his car on four wheels. He did better than that as he grabbed the final podium position in third.
Trevor Clyemens is on a roll in B Modifieds and will creep back up the point leader if this continues. The second generation leadfoot collected his second straight Main Event victory. If not for missing a race, Clymens might very well be leading the standings now. Clymens had to work for this one after starting back in the fifth row. He steadily worked his way to the front to battle with Brian Pearce for the lead as they hit lapped traffic down the stretch. Clymens would use traffic to get the win. Pearce wasn’t as lucky as contact with one of the slower cars sent him into the front wall. Meanwhile, rookie Shane DeVolder would grab his second runner up finish of the season. DeVolder came into the night second in points and will gain a little on incoming point leader Al Johnson, who missed the top five this time. Heat winner Lloyd Cline grabbed a season best third ahead of K.C. Keller and double division racer Danny Jones. Paul Mulder was the other heat race winner.
Racing continues next Saturday night at Antioch Speedway with a six division program that features Winged 360 Sprint Cars, A Modifieds, Limited Late Models, B Modifieds, Dwarf Cars and California Hardtops. For further information, check out the official website at www.antiochspeedway.com.
Unofficial Race Results, Saturday Night May 14
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Carl Berendsen II, Trent Wentworth.
Main Event (20 Laps)-Jeff Decker, Scott Busby, Trent Wentworth, Carl Berendsen II, Norm Boeck.
Wingless Spec Sprints
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Ray Fisher, James East.
Main Event (20 Laps)-Jim Perry Jr., Jimmy Perry III, Fisher, Kyle Bakkie, James East.
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Guy Ahlwardt, Danny Jones, Melissa Myers.
Main Event (20 Laps)-Myers, Ahlwardt, Rob Waldrop.
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Paul Mulder, Lloyd Cline.
Main Event (20 Laps)-Trevor Clymens, Shane DeVolder, Cline, K.C. Keller, Danny Jones.
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Chuck Weir, Kevin Miraglio.
Main Event (20 Laps)-Mark Biscardi, Miraglio, Tim Reeder, Weir, Mike Corsaro, Charlie Correia.
Host Irvington High from Fremont in NCS playoff game, tonight
By Luke Johnson
For the first time in two decades, Antioch High School’s boys’ volleyball team brought home the Bay Valley Athletic League Championship after finishing undefeated (10-0) in inter-league competition, on top of a 25-6 overall record.
The Panthers’ crosstown rival Deer Valley dominated the BVAL the past decade by going unbeaten in league play the previous nine seasons without losing a single set the latter five seasons. But the departure of legendary coach Lou Panzella, who won three consecutive North Coast Section Titles, along with graduating multiple key players among that dynasty, caused contention for the BVAL crown to become wide open.
“I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t [think this was possible],” senior outside hitter Josh Johns said, who led the NCS in attack kills with five per set, more than double the amount of anyone in the BVAL. “I thought Deer Valley was going to win it all four years that I was in high school.”
Coach David Diskell was a junior in 1996, when Antioch last won BVAL, but said he did not play on the team due to an injury. Ironically, the coach of the Panthers back then was Panzella; the year before he transferred to the newly established high school on the other side of the city.
“Anytime you’re in the same category as a Lou Panzella-type coach, who in my eye is a legend, is an honor,” Diskell said. “To even be thought of as a such a great coach to bring a championship back to Antioch as he did is a huge compliment, and I never thought I’d be in the position to be talking about Lou Panzella and myself.”
Along with Johns, a pair of other fellow seniors propelled the team to prosperity. 6-foot-8 middle hitter Jake Perky led the BVAL in blocks with 67, and was third in attack kills with 203. Setter Jordan LaBier was also a leader in NCS with 8.5 assists per set.
Antioch High School was in a dry spell the past four school years (2011-15), and did not win one league championship. But the Panthers rallied for two this year in boys’ volleyball and football.
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
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Scott Busby, Josh Combs, Mikey Slaney. Main Event (20 Laps)-Aaron Crowell, Kellen Chadwick, Carl Berendsen II, Combs, Chester Kniss.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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