2016: Alameda Sports Year in Review

File photos  The St. Joseph Notre Dame High School Pilots won the state basketball championships in March.

2016: Alameda Sports Year in Review


Part One
The year is winding to a close so it is a good time to review the major feats acheived by Alameda student athletes in their respective sports over the first half of the year.

As is often the case the St. Joseph Notre Dame (SJND) men’s basketball team was the premiere basketball team on the Island. The SJND Pilots once again were crowned state champions after they defeated St. Bernard of Playa del Rey 55-50 on March 24, in the California Interscholastic Federation Div. V title game. 

The title was decided in the waning moments of the contest. Then-freshman Adam Campos made a layup with 37 second left to give the Pilots a 52-48 lead. Then-senior Robert Fuller stole the ball and scored with 21 seconds left to cut the lead in half for St. Bernard. The Vikings quickly fouled then-junior Pilot Jadé Smith to stop the clock with 11 seconds left. However, Smith was fouled hard on the play and had to exit the game. SJND head coach Don Lippi inserted then-freshman Kobe Kiener to attempt the crucial free throws.

The 14-year-old Kiener stepped to the free-throw line and calmly sank both free throws, his only points of the game. 

This was the Pilots’ second CIF basketball state title in three years and sixth overall. It was also Lippi’s 800th career win. Prior to their state championship win, they won the North Coast Section (NCS) Div. V title (65-61 over University of San Francisco) and the Div. V NorCal title (67-58 over Stuart Hall of San Francisco). The team finished with a 26-9 overall record.

The SJND women’s team did not see the same success as then men’s team, but still had a stellar 2016. 

The Pilots made it to the CIF NorCal Div. V final, but lost to Eastside College Prep of East Palo Alto 65-59. Mira Love-Sangco led the Pilots with 19 points. Her teammate Aiyanna Dueberry pitched in 16 points. The loss did not negate the season the Pilots had. They went 26-9 overall. They also won the NCS Div. V title with a 53-28 blowout victory over Urban of San Francisco on March 5. 

The other four high school basketball teams showed tremendous effort on the hard wood. The Encinal men’s team went 15-14 overall and beat Alameda three times last season (one of the three wins in December 2015). The Encinal women’s team had a strong 2016 going 21-9. They advanced to their league title game (lost 60-43 to Castro Valley) and beat rival Alameda 58-57 in overtime on Jan. 9.

The Alameda women’s team went 15-15 overall and advanced to the NCS Div. II semifinal.

It was a tough year for soccer teams on the Island in 2016. All six teams finished with records below .500. However, the Encinal women’s soccer team had its highlight of the season with a 2-1 victory over Alameda on Jan. 6. They also qualified for the NCS Div. III playoffs, but lost in the first round 5-1 to Miramonte of Orinda on Feb. 17.

The SJND baseball and softball teams won section titles in 2016. The SJND baseball team defeated four opponents on its way to claiming the Div. V crown. The Pilots beat The Bay School of San Francisco (17-1) on May 24, Head Royce of Oakland (11-2) on May 27, Stuart Hall (4-3 in 13 innings) on June 1 and College Prep of Oakland (10-1) in the final on June 4. 
The 13-inning semifinal was a classic. SJND and College Stuart Hall entered extra innings (eighth inning) tied 1-1. 

The Knights were the first team to score in extra innings in the 10th. The Pilots tied the game with a double by senior Augustus Mosley driving in Vincent Republicano. The Knights scored again in the top of the 12th, but the Pilots responded with another run.

In the bottom of the 13th, with the game tied 3-3 and runners on second and third, Mosely hit a dribbler to first. The first baseman threw the ball to the catcher who threw an errant pass, allowing Carson Bridges to score the winning run. The SJND baseball team ended its 2016 season with a 25-5 overall record.

The softball team was just as dominant. The Pilots beat Technology of Rohnert Park 13-2 on May 27, then Head-Royce of Oakland 6-0 on May 31 in the second and third rounds, respectively. The title game was a pitchers’ duel against Cloverdale on June 4. The Pilots won 1-0 in 10 innings after freshman Danielle Pohlson singled to drive in the title-winning run. SJND pitcher Anekaila Crevani pitched all 10 innings while striking out 17 batters. The Pilots had a 14-10 overall record.

The Alameda High School softball team finished 16-5 overall in 2016. They won the West Alameda County Conference (WACC) league title with a 4-1 victory over Piedmont on May 19. The men’s team advanced to the WACC semifinal. They had a 14-12 overall record.

Then-junior Cooper Teare of SJND won the CIF Div. V 3,200-meter state final on June 4. Teare beat 30 other competitors on his way to winning. He finished with an overall time of 8:51.845, just two one-thousands of a second faster than Cole Spencer of Great Oak who finished in second place.

Teare was in fourth place with 400 meters left behind Jack Van Scoter of Flintridge Prep, Callum Bolger of San Luis Obispo and Michael Vernau of Davis. However, Teare ran the final 400 meters in 56.757 seconds, while Bolger ran the final 400 meters in 58.866 seconds.

Alameda varsity-level Ultimate Frisbee Team, Dark Meat, lost to Berkeley High 11-10 in the USA Ultimate 2016 California Division I High School State Tournament final on May 8 in Santa Cruz. The loss marked the end of a successful 2016 season for the Dark Meat squad. To get to the state championship, they beat Team Disception 11-7 in the quarterfinals and Foothill 10-7 in the semifinal.

Peter Kuest claimed the 89th annual Alameda Commuters Championship trophy with a superb performance over four rounds of golf on the Earl Fry Course. He finished the tournament with a 15-under-par 269 on the par-71 course. Kuest dominated from start to finish. He was the 36-hole champion after two rounds and led by 10 strokes heading into the final round.

John Fahey earned the best score of an Alameda native who participated in the event. Fahey finished tied for 37th place with a nine-over-par 293.

There was also sad news to report in athletics in 2016. Encinal freshman Giovanni Pulido, 15, collapsed following the Jets’ spring football conditioning drills on the Encinal campus on May 17. Pulido, who was a month away from completing his freshman year, was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead around 7 p.m. that evening.

“Our thoughts and our hearts are very much with this young man’s family, friends, teammates and classmates,” said Alameda Unified School District Superintendent Sean McPhetridge in a statement. “This is a deep loss to the Encinal community and our Alameda community at large.”

Peter Kuest (right) earned the top spot at the 89th annual Commuters Golf Tournament held in April.
Chris Pondok The 2016 SJND softball team won the NCS Div. V title on June, 4 of this year.
Chris Pondok The 2016 SJND baseball team won the NCS Div. V title on June, 4 of this year.


Next week, part two of this story will feature local athletic achievements from the second half of 2016.