Whitney Loses 21-17 with a last ditch attempt at the 2 yard line with seconds remaining, but a snap past the QB pushed the Wildcats out of striking distance and fell to the Grizzlies who go to 2-0 on the year. Whitney goes to 1-1 heading into the Quarry Bowl.
By Jeremy McDonald
For the first time in school history, Whitney celebrated their inaugural Hall of Fame class which took a interesting approach to make being inducted into the Hall of Fame a ‘true honor’.
Athlete’s would have to wait seven years, coaches will have to be at Whitney for 10 years. After that, you have to receive a certain amount of votes to get the nod.
“So We kind of set it up to be a cross between Major League Baseball, the Hesiman Trophy and kind of the NFL,” Wildcat Athletic Director Jason Feuerbach. “So it is a true honor, so I mean to have those three honors to be in the first class is truly remarkable.”
Of nine nominees in 2015, three made the cut.
For the 2015 class they are Mike Gimenez, Deja Edwards and Austin Wentworth.
Gimenez coached since the school’s inception in 2003 and put Whitney on the map that included a perfect 13-0 season, a section championship in 2008 before stepping down after the 2014 season.
“It’s a huge honor,” said Gimenez. “This school means so much to me and being with the kids and watching them and being a part of the process it’s been a huge honor.
“It’s thrilling and it’s fun to be around the school and watch it grow. This is the next step, honoring all the past athletes, coaches and teams, it’s pretty awesome.”
Gimenez is still teaching at Whitney High School, helping out with the golf team and will helped Feuerbach in the Athletic Department office and be in the press box Friday night’s this upcoming season.
Interesting enough, Feuerbach was coached by Gimenez in an All-Star game and coached in Gimenez’s staff before becoming Athletic Director at Whitney.
“It’s a weird situation,” said Feuerbach. “I played for Gimenez in a All-Star game. I coached as his peer for several years, for about 11 years and now when I moved to Athletic Director, I became his boss.
“So it’s a weird dynamic. He’s the ultimate role model for me. He’s a man I looked up too and respect., a man to go to if I need something.”
Edwards was a dominant force on the track, holding several school records after transferred to Whitney before her junior year as she got a full ride to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas and majored in Kinesiology. She also spoke of her opinion on being inducted.
“It’s great,” said Edwards. “It’s a honor I never thought I’d be inducted into a Hall of Fame. I worked hard, so it’s great to be recognized for that.
“At a short time here, Whitney was my third high school, but while I was here I was focused. I stayed in school and stayed on track.”
Edwards is now working on her master’s degree in Social Work at UNLV.
Despite not being in attendance due to prior commitments, but sent a video message to the event, Wentworth was also part of the original graduating class at Whitney and was a dominant force on the offensive line for the ‘Cats.
Wentworth went to college at Fresno State before going undrafted to the Minnesota Vikings where he played in seven games in 2014.
“With Austin and Deja, you have two great, highly successful college athletes, with Austin advancing to the professional ranks, but I think they’re all great people," said Feuerbach. "They were great students at Whitney, great student-athletes, I mean I couldn’t be anymore prouder of those three.”
By Jeremy McDonald
On Wednesday May 27, the Whitney Athletic Department held their second-annual, End of the Year Banquet called The “Claw” Awards that were hosted by and ran by the students of Whitney High School.
Through research at different types of award shows, the “Claw” Awards managed a string of highlights and speeches in 75 minutes!
“The goal was we watched the ESPYs on ESPN, and said, ‘we can do that. We can do that here at Whitney High School in Rocklin, California’, and I think we came pretty darn close,” said Wildcat Athletic Director Jason Feuerbach. “It’s a student run production, I think you saw that with all the kids participating and all athletes coming up and speaking, thanking people.
“It flows pretty well and it’s something we’re extremely proud of and the hard work that goes into it and what the kids did tonight”
Below are the winners from this year’s awards:
Best Aquatics Athlete- Lauren Votava
Best Basketball Player- Sterling Quinton
Best Football Player- Devon Brocchini
Best Golfer- Brain Sterri
Best Performer (Dance/Cheer)- Hailey Nyal
Best Player on the Diamonds- Dylan Rudnicki
Best soccer Player- Clayton Soto
Best Tennis Player Konner Macias
Best Track and Field/Cross Country Athlete- Hannah Arnold
Best Volleyball Player- Cole Aidnik
Best Wrestler- Jacob Schroeder
Christian Daniels for Hard Work- Christina Daley
Outstanding Citizenship Award- Eric Leverenz
Best Breakthrough Athlete- Sterling Quinton
Best Comeback Athlete- Andrew Gruber
Best Moment- Men’s Volleyball Winning a Division-I Section Title
Best Record-Breaking Performance- Women’s Golf Team-Most section Titles and League Titles in a Row
Best Upset- Softball Beating Rocklin
Best Female Strength and Conditioning Athlete- Katie James
Best Male Strength and Conditioning Athlete- Joe Roberts
Best Female Scholar Athlete- Christina Daley
Best Male Scholar Athlete- Konner Macias
Best Female Athlete- Lauren Votava
Best Male Athlete- Daniel Jones
By Jeremy McDonald
It was an interesting and entertaining opening round of the CIF-NorCal Regional Playoffs between fourth-seeded Whitney and fifth-seeded De La Salle Tuesday on the volleyball court at Whitney High School.
Through the crazy plays and the intensity of the game, Daniel Jones punched the Wildcats ticket to the semi-final round with a fourth set, game winning kill for the 25-20,29-27, 21-25, 25-17 win over the Spartans of Concord.
“It feels awesome,” said Jones on the game. “Going from a team that was losing in league, we didn’t even win league; we built upon each other as a team, we won sections and now were on our way to the NorCal Championships again.”
Whitney used an 11-4 run to lead 14-10 early on in the first set. De La Salle answered and kept the game within two, but the ‘Cats would finish the set on top 25-20.
The Spartans responded the first set loss with strong plays by Scott Ficken, Darius Monsarrat-Ford and Bailey Militar to lead Whitney 15-13 halfway through the second set, looking to have the momentum to break even in the set win column.
That was before a strong play by Cole Aidkin kept the Wildcats at or above even with the Spartans as neither team had more than a one point lead on the other.
Tied at 27 and in need of a winning blow after a string of crazy sliding saves and intense hits, Whitney turned to their hot hand in Aidkin who helped the ‘Cats get the 29-27 set win.
Jones described the first two sets as Whitney Volleyball, head coach Erich Means agreed to a point.
“Defensively yes, offensively our services where it’s been it led out offense to be stagnant a bit,” said Means. “We haven’t mixed it up as much as we have been, so we didn’t have a lot of people involved.
“It’s something we’ll work on going into Thursday’s game, making sure we’re getting everyone involved.”
The set seemed to have the Wildcats complacent as they came out flat on the third set.
“After the first two, we started to get complacent a little bit and started to relax a bit too much” said Cavan Stewart. “You can’t do that against a team who is desperate to win.”
Down 14-11, Aidnik tried to rally the troops, but De La Salle’s senior captain Ficken’s strong play helped the Spartans steal set three to avoid the sweep and elimination.
That loss however, gave Whitney a renewed sense of confidence entering the fourth set.
Behind the play of Will Bebinger with the game tied at five, the ‘Cats slowly built a 14-10 lead in the set before Stewart’s play got Whitney to one point of advancing.
De La Salle rallied off a few points in desperation to keep their season alive, but Owen Descheemaeker set up Dan Jones at the net for the game sealing kill for the 25-17 set four win.
Jones described the fourth set as a wake up call after going through the motions in the third set.
“In that third set we probably thought we had already won the game and we were kind of going through the motions,” he said. “Then when they went up on us, it was a check that we can’t let this go any further.
“Our passing improved, our hitting improved and our ball game improved tremendously and that was the two differences honestly.”
Was Whitney nervous about the ‘De La Salle’ name and their history in sports?
Of course not.
“You take a team as they come,” said Stewart. “We don’t heed big names, we come to play a team that’s coming to play us.”
Up next for the Wildcats is Saint Francis of Mountain View. Since the Lancers are the number one seed, Whitney will travel to the Bay Area for the 7pm match up at Saint Francis High School with the plan to mix it up.
“If we can mix them all around and continue to control the game defensively like we have been the last couple of weeks, good things will happen,” said Means.
By Jeremy McDonald
SACRAMENTO – It was truly the ‘Battle of the Cats’ at Thursday night’s CIF-Sac Joaquin Section Division-I boys volleyball Section Title game between Whitney and Roseville.
After being in full control of the game entering the third set, the Wildcats were stunned by two set wins by the Tigers that forced the Section Title to come down to a decisive fifth set.
But the experience of the Wildcats proved too much, winning their third section title with a three sets to two victory, 25-18, 25-19, 19-25, 20-25, 17-15, their first title in Division-I.
"It's the greatest feeling I've ever had," said Will Bebinger. "After all the hard work and going through all the obstacles we've had, losing to them twice. They're a great team. It feels really great to win."
"Just desire, from both sides," added Daniel Jones on the game. "I feel like we've came out, really really strong and you saw it in the first two sets. We went on runs and they couldn't do anything to come back.
Whitney found themselves down in a 4-1 hole to the upbeat Roseville squad.
That was until the figurative Goliath woke up.
The Cat’s rallied and had build a 18-13 lead before the Tigers tried to answer.
Behind Trevor Pratt, Roseville managed to cut the Whitney lead to three before Whitney proved too much in the 25-18 first set win.
The 'Cats used their first set momentum to build a 12-5 lead before a Tiger 7-2 advantage brought them to two.
With the help of Daniel Jones, Whitney were within a point of a set two victory before poor outside hitting allowed Roseville to bring it to 24-19 on a 6-0 run.
Cavan Stewart ended the set with a kill, but the Tigers used the set two momentum to take set three 25-19.
“Teams fall down and they comeback up,” said Zach Mancha. "Within those two sets, we got down on ourselves. We weren't playing Roseville Volleyball how it should be.
"We fought back. We've played this team before, we knew we could play them. We just had to put our best first foot forward and just attack it."
Roseville jumped on Whitney once more in the fourth set by building a 19-6 lead.
But Stewart and company rallied on a 8-2 advantage to bring it to a 18-17 deficit.
The Tigers proved too much however as strength in their hits had caught Whitney off guard as Roseville forced a decisive fifth set for the Section title with a 25-20 set win.
Entering the fifth set, it was a pound for-pound slugfest.
One team would go up by two, the other would tie it and they would take a two point lead before the other tied it.
"Then they started to pumping it up and we let up a little bit," said Jones. "That's when they took those two sets from us. After that, it was neck to neck. A couple of balls went our way and a few great effort plays by our backrow players and it put us ahead."
It wasn't until it was tied at 15 with a kill and a block by Matt Honberger and Bebinger that would seal both teams fates.
"I'm just super proud of this team," said Tiger head coach Jason Cole. "They're young and you can see towards the end that they're experience outweighed us.
"We've been here. Pressure wise, but never been here to experience it. This is the first time and I could've asked for anything better., they didn't roll over and give them the game."
Up next, both teams are heading to the NorCal Regional Tournament. It is suspected that Whitney will get a home game following this win, but both team’s will find out Sunday afternoon or evening of where they’ll be Tuesday.
"We've been working hard," said Mancha. "Right now, we have to prove to people that we aren't a team that lose by two and give up, we push forward.
"Regionals we have to push farther. We got to show people that we can play at this level even though our experience is young."
Stay tuned to Placer 65 Sports for updates on where Whitney and Roseville will be Tuesday!
Follow 65 Sports on Twitter on @PC65Sports, like us on Facebook or email us at email@example.com with story ideas!
By Jeremy McDonald
It's dubbed 'The Battle Of The Cats', the rematch of the Capital Valley Conference season. It's Roseville versus Whitney for the CIF-Sac Joaquin Section Division-I Section Title.
During the regular season, the Tigers swept the Wildcats in CVC play, winning six of the nine sets played during league play.
But Whitney would take a tournament match however, on April 11 at the JDVBT Tournament in Chico, two sets to one.
In the playoffs the 'Cats have made some noise in the Division-I bracket en route to the section final game after being moved up from Division-II.
They swept Elk Grove and Grant in the first and third rounds and winning a five-set thriller over Nevada Union on May 14 in the second round of the playoffs.
(It’s) very excited,” said Whitney Head Coach Erich Means on the playoff push. “(The) team has worked very hard in practices and been focused on each upcoming opponent,.
“(We’re) really forward to playing in the Section Title game,” Means added. “Division-I versus Division-II does not mean too much really. The teams in each of the division play against each other all year. “
Means also mentioned that having three teams from the CVC making playoffs and are still in play, shows how strong the league is a whole.
For Roseville, who won the CVC with a 12-1 record and are 30-9 overall in 2015, have dominanted throughout the playoffs.
In their three games entering Wednesday match up with the Wildcats, the Tigers swept McClatchy to start the playoffs before upsetting Jesuit in a three-set tight sweep over the Maudaders.
Despite dropping one set to Granite Bay in the semi-final game, Roseville settled in to win three sets to one en route to their trip to the CIF-Sac Joaquin Section Division-I Section Final.
Tiger Head Coach Jason Cole did not return request for comment.
Jeremy's Prediction: Roseville Wins A Four-Set Thriller. Two of the Sets will go into extras.
First serve is slated for 730pm at Capital Christian High School in Sacramento.
By Jeremy McDonald
GRASS VALLEY-- The Whitney Boy’s Volleyball team’s continued to make some noise in the CIF-Sac Joaquin Section Division-I bracket as they made there next stop in Grass Valley Thursday night.
And after a five-set thriller, the Wildcats continue the mission to the championship with a 25-21, 29-31, 18-25, 25-20, 15-12 to advance to the Bracket’s Final Four.
“I thought both sides represented well and it really could have gone either way,” said Wildcat head coach Erich Means. “I was really happy with our energy, intensity and focus. “
After taking the opening set by four, Whitney dropped a overtime thriller and the third sets.
But the ‘Cats regrouped and took set four 25-20 before sealing their trip to the semi-final round with a 15-12 set five win.
“The second set was just an example of how even the teams are. Both playing hard,” said Means on the second and third sets. “The third was the letdown after losing 31-29. But we regrouped by refocusing and cleaning the little errors.”
But Means liked how his team did the little things and had played within themselves during the game.
“I really saw a team out there,” he said about his team. each player filling his role to the best of his ability and we were able to prevail.”
Up next for Whitney is Grant (28-4, 12-2 Delta River League). The Pacers went to the section quarters in 2014, and finished second in the DRL to Jesuit in 2015 before winning a five set match with Oak Ridge Thursday night.
“We hope to be able to continue to play strong defense on their hitters,” said Means on Grant. “Pass the ball well and stay within our system as much as possible.
“In the Final Four, there is no easy way out, we have to push hard to be better each day, each set, each point if we want to continue this journey.”
First serve is at 7pm Tuesday night at Whitney High School.
By Jeremy McDonald
Whitney didn’t miss a beat despite being moved up to the CIF-Sac Joaquin Section Division-I bracket as they swept Elk Grove 25-11, 25-11, 25-9.
“Our serves were strong and aggressive, we moved the ball around well and kept their passers back on their heels,” said Wildcat head coach Erich Means. “Elk Grove is a growing program, and we should see some significant strides from them over the next few years.”
Their middles working to the outside and the outstanding effort by Nathan Holes defensively helped clamped down the Thundering Herd.
“(Nathan Holes) positioned himself well and really made a positive impact on the game,” said Means. “Our middles had been working on getting to the outside with more consistency and that work paid off as they were able to clamp down on the outside hitters.”
Offensively, Whitney had easy swings at the ball to place them in the openings in the defense. Something that the ‘Cats have been emphasizing recently.
“We have been emphasizing playing within themselves and taking what the other team was giving them,” said Means.
Up next for Whitney is Nevada Union, who Tuesday night off, but had defeated the Wildcats 3-1 on May 6.
But the game plan against the Miners are simple.
“I believe we need to, again, stay within our game plan, and not try to do too much individually,” said Means. “They have some very talented players and we will really need to maintain our focus and utilize our athleticism and skill to counter their plays.”
But Means sees the match to be hard fought between his squad and Nevada Union’s.
“I believe the match will be hard fought with some power volleyball on display from both sides,” he said. “I am looking for the momentum from last night to carry forward into tomorrow’s match.”
The match tips off at 7pm at Nevada Union High School in Grass Valley.
By Jeremy McDonald
On the campus of Sierra College, Molly McConnell was a NSCAA Junior College All West Region Section Team goalkeeper, at Whitney High School, she’s known as coach.
But come August, she’ll be playing for a starting spot at goalie at CSU-Sacramento State.
“I love the school. I love the coaches there, they’re great,” said McConnell. “It’s always been my top one school. I always wanted to go there, it’s (Division)-I. They play competitively there and I’m really excited to play.”
In 2014, McConnell saved 137 shots for the Wolverines as she explains her time playing at Sierra as an learning experience of the game.
“I learned a lot, I matured a lot,” she said. “I learned a lot from the game from my coaches here, so it’s been a great experience.
During this past spring, in between training and class, she went back to her alma mater where she coached varsity girls soccer as a goalkeeper coach, and the experience opened her eyes from a different angle of the game.
“With Jordan Higgins, I try to train with her a little bit and try watching her play and helping coach her a little bit actually helped me learn a lot more about the game and learn a lot more about positioning.
“Just all aspects of the game with helping her and helping Cheyenne (Foster). It was really cool, those are two cool girls. I hope they get all the opportunities that I have and more.”
Once on the Hornet’s campus, McConnell will be in a battle for the starting goalkeeper position.
“It’s going to be hard competition, she’s a very good goalkeeper. She’s going to be a sophomore next year but I think it’s going to teach me a lot, push me a lot, make me better. She’s going to make me better.”
At Sacramento State, McConnell will major in Communications as academic junior, but is unknown what her emphasis within the major is going to be.
“It’s super generalized right now,” “Once I get there, I think I’ll specifiy more. I have my orientation soon so I think I’ll learn a lot more there.”
Early August you can see McConnell don the green and white at the soccer fields on the Sacramento State campus.
By Jeremy McDonald
Entering the year, Ana Jones had a very young soccer team that features 11 underclassmen compare to six juniors and three seniors and had six returners from last year’s CIF-Sac Joaquin Section Division-II Section Final team
But the veteran coach was impressed with how her team answered the call of the challenge.
“The freshmen and sophomores made a great impact on this year's team,” said Jones. “They stepped it up to the challenge, playing against really good teams from the (Capital Valley Conference) league.
“During and after tryouts I knew that we were going to be young and it was going to take some times to get the team playing together. We were not just a young team but we were a new team that has not played together.
The team started 0-1-3 entering CVC play behind the 4-5-1 front to compensate for their young backline.
It wasn’t until the second half of league, when the Wildcats were 2-2-3, when they started clicking as a squad.
“We improved by working on possessing the ball and finishing,” said Jones. “After the second half, obviously, most of the teams in this league improved as well but we always game them a good game
Whitney had their best game versus Roseville April 20 where goals from Shay Valenzano and Alyssa Rapisura against a tough goalie in the Tiger’s Hailey Loughran for the 2-1 victory.
“That gave us momentum for the last four games,” said Jones. “This win will be carry on for next year and my players will have that game in their heads knowing that we could beat any other team if we continue playing like we did at the end of the season.
Cheyenne Foster, after giving up an early goal, shut down the Roseville offense for the rest of that game.
Rapisura had a team high nine goals on the season, as a senior, but behind her was the sophomore Valenzano with five and freshman Sarah Scott who had three in her first year on varsity.
In goal, Jordan Higgins had 34 saves in eight games, Foster had 73 in 15 games and sophomore Brooke Hansen had a strong debut in the second half of the season finale against Antelope after being called up from the Junior Varsity.
All three will be battling for the starting varsity goalie spot in 2016 according to Jones.
Overall, there is positive vibes for 2016.
“Our goal next year is to make playoffs,” said Jones. “Even though we'll be young again we'll have a good core of returning players.”
By Jeremy McDonald
SACRAMENTO—The Whitney boys tennis team had their hands full Tuesday afternoon against the defending Division-II Section Champs, Rio Americano on the courts of the Del Norte Tennis Club.
The Raiders would take eight of nine matchs from the Wildcats to end Whitney’s season in the second round of the CIF-Sac Joaquin Section Division-II playoffs, after being the third seed out of the Capital Valley Conference in their first season in the conference.
The lone set win came by the number one doubles team of Thomas Gower and Bryce Pinkerton.
“They are the CIF Section champs from last year and should make a run at it again,” said head coach Matt Holm. “We put up a good fight but they are just to talented for us.
“Its been a great year for us and we took 2nd place in our inaugural season in the CVC.”
Holm’s team is losing eight seniors from this years team, including number one and two singles players, Konner Macias and Dillon Garces, but there is some positive vibes entering 2016.
“Next spring is going to be a rebuilding process for the boys tennis team,” Holm said. “We have some big shoes to fill in our #1 and #2 singles spots.
“We will go back to work this summer and see where that leads us next season but I'm hopeful for some good chemistry.”
By Jeremy McDonald
Whitney tennis opened up CIF-Sac Joaquin Section Division-II with a 9-0 win over McClatchy Monday afternoon.
Konnor Macias didn't allow one point in his 6-0, 6-0 singles win in the number one singles game and Dillion Garces allowed one in his 6-1, 6-0 in the number two singles game.
None of the six singles games and three doubles games went to a third set as the Wildcats turn their sites to Rio Americano Tuesday afternoon at Rio Americano's home court.
After defeating Antelope 3-0 on April 27, Whitney senior Toby Martinez (one of the Wildcats captians) and senior Alyssa Rapisura speak about the game and Head Coach Ana Jones speaks about her two senior players
Rapisura's 'Brace' Ends Wildcats Year On High Note
By Jeremy McDonald
ANTELOPE—After a slow first 15 minutes of the game, Whitney roared to life to finish the season with a 3-0 victory over Antelope Monday night.
In her final game in the Maroon and Gold, Alyssa Rapisura scored two second half goals to help the Wildcats build a cushion against a physical Titans squad.
“It means a lot,” said Rapisura on finishing strong. “I played for four years so winning this last game is a lot for me.”
It took a few minutes for Whitney to find their groove against a 2-11-1 Antelope team that were gunning for a senior night win to end their season on a high note as well.
In the 21st minute, sophomore forward Sami Craig broke the scoreless tie. The ‘Cats strained trying to get the ball passed the Titans’ sophomore goalie, Hannah Harris before the end of the half.
Playing in her first varsity game, Brooke Hansen took the reins of goal netting from junior Cheyenne Foster and made two big saves within the first 10 minutes of her debut.
“She did awesome,” said Head Coach Ana Jones on Hansen’s first impressions. “The good thing is the backline trusted her. She played really well. (She) played composed that’s what I’m expecting of her.
Despite some nerves playing in her first varsity game, Jones had a message.
“You had nothing to lose, this is our last game,” she said to Hansen. “I want you up, I want to see what you can do and she did great.”
With the backline of Whitney playing strong, it helped push the ball up to their strikers and attackers to put pressure on Harris that led to Rapisura’s first goal, set up by Sarah Scott’s through pass in the 57th minute.
“We practice a lot of team bonding ,” said Rapisura of her team finishing strong. “We get to know each other and trust each other.”
Rapisura would get her second goal of the ‘brace’ feat with three minutes to go to ice the game as the Whitney 4-5-1 defense limited the Titans offense in the second half. Britney Flint assisted on that goal.
“Tonight was one of those games we should’ve came in a little bit stronger,” said Jones. “The goals we scored, the last two we scored, we’re beautiful . Well executed. We had freshman stepping up to the plate having (Rapisura) finish those passes.”
Whitney finished the season 5-9-5 and finished sixth in the Capital Valley Conference after being in the Division-II section final game in 2014.
But confidence is high for 2016.
“Am I sad the season is over? Absoultely because you want to move on,” said Jones. “But I’m pleased with the results for next year.”