Sun’s Local Sports 2016 Year in Review
The second half of the year saw just as many, if not more, sports highlights on the Island. The basketball courts and baseball diamonds gave way to the football fields and cross country courses in the second half of 2016. Here are some of the major sports moments from the second half of 2016.
The Encinal football team had a resurgent year in 2016 after a disappointing 2015. The Jets went 9-3 overall and won the West Alameda County Conference (WACC) Shoreline League with a 4-1 league record. The highlight of the Jets’ season was a 41-0 drubbing of crosstown rival Alameda High in the 62nd annual Island Bowl on Oct. 28, 2016.
Encinal senior running back Brandon Duckett was the catalyst for the Jets’ offense. Duckett finished the contest with 17 carries for 158 yards — a 9.29-yards-per-carry average — and three touchdowns, to go along with two receptions for 38 yards.
Encinal’s season ended in the second round of the North Coast Section (NCS) Div. III playoffs against Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland.
The Hornets experienced a polar opposite season on the field. The Hornets hired Rich Rogers as the new head football coach after five seasons under Kemp Moyer. The Hornets went 3-8 overall in Rogers’ first season. They did, however, go 3-2 in the Shoreline League. Alameda qualified for the NCS Div. II playoffs, but lost in the first round to Ukiah 19-12 on Nov. 12.
Also big news on the football front in 2016, Encinal cornerback/wide receiver Akil Francisco announced on June 25 he committed to be a student-athlete for the University of Hawai’i football team. He will join the school and team this fall.
The St. Joseph Notre Dame (SJND) women’s volleyball team fell one game short of an NCS title. The Pilots made it all the way to the NCS Div. IV final, but lost to Branson of Ross 3-0 (17-25, 16-25, 19-25). The Pilots qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) NorCal regional Div. IV playoffs, but lost to Sacred Heart Prep of San Francisco on Nov. 19.
The losses didn’t negate the fact that the Pilots had a great season that saw them finish 28-11 overall and in second place in the Bay Counties East division with a 10-2 league record.
Senior Madelyn LaFollette led the team with 343 kills on the season.
Alameda enjoyed a productive season with a 13-10 record. The team tied for first place in the WACC Shoreline League at 9-1 (with Arroyo of San Lorenzo). The Hornets qualified for the NCS Div. II playoffs, but lost in the first round to Carondelet of Concord 3-0.
Encinal went through a tough 2016 going 4-21 overall, but did manage to beat rival Alameda on Sept. 20, 3-2 (25-16, 13-25, 25-21, 18-25, 15-10). Freshman Jahsita Faalii led the team with 17 kills in the contest.
Alameda high school teams experienced the most success competing in cross country than any other sport.
The SJND women’s team won its league title (Bay Counties East) and the NCS Div. V title on Nov. 19. The Pilots won the NCS meet with a score of 86. SJND was paced by senior Kiera Marshall who finished first in the individual race out of 166 participants. Marshall completed the three-mile course at Hayward High in 17:08.40.
The women’s team finished fifth in the CIF Div. V competition, but Marshall finished first overall in the individual competition. She (17:40.3) beat the second place finisher by more than 19 seconds (Alex Stout of Pacific Collegiate in Santa Cruz — 17:59.7).
The only person to have a better individual season than Marshall was her male counterpart Cooper Teare. Teare, a senior, was a tear on the men’s side. He helped his team finish second in the league tournament, second in the NCS Div. V tournament and eighth in the state Div. V tournament. Teare finished in first place in all three events. In fact, Teare finished first in every team event he competed in except the 3Mile Doug Speck’s Boys’ Sweepstakes on Sept. 17, where he finished in second place. However, he set his personal record for three-mile races with 13:59.6. Teare also chose to join the University of Oregon men’s cross-country team on Oct. 23.
The Alameda and Encinal high school women’s cross country teams finished third and seventh, respectively, in the eight-team WACC title event on Nov. 5. However, the story of the title race was Alameda and Encinal’s top runners. Hornet sophomore Lauren Lum, finished first out of 59 participants in the three-mile race with a time of 17:54.15. Right on her heels was Jet sophomore Shelby Nelson who completed the course in 18:06.65 for second place.
Alameda High women’s water polo team won its third straight WACC title on Oct. 29. What made it even sweeter is it came in a 14-13 overtime victory over Encinal. The Hornets trailed 3-1 at the end of the first quarter. However, the Hornets were able to tie the match 12-12 at the end of regulation.
The Alameda men’s water polo team’s bid to repeat as WACC champions were crushed by Piedmont in the WACC semifinals 18-13 on Oct. 28.
St. Joseph Notre Dame (SJND) women’s tennis sister duo Aysha and Azaria Hayes won the North Coast Section (NCS) Div. II women’s doubles championship in a three-set match on Nov. 16.
The siblings defeated Sophia Landes and Hanna Marcus of Piedmont in the final 6-1, 3-6, 6-0. Aysha and Azaria were dominant all season in singles’ competition. Aysha went a perfect 12-0 in the regular season, while Azaria was 11-0.
The Alameda Hornets women’s golf team won its fifth straight WACC title on Oct. 17. The team beat out its six league opponents: Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland, Berkeley, San Leandro, Arroyo of San Lorenzo, Castro Valley and Piedmont. They finished with a score of 208, while their closest competitor scored a 291. The team also tied for seventh place in the NorCal regional tournament on Nov. 7.
The SJND women’s team also won its league title on Oct. 18.
Alameda’s Cameron Tu won the annual Alameda Mayor’s R.A.C.E., or Ralph Appezzato Charity Event, 5K race with a time of 00:15:22.2. The annual race takes place on July 4 before Alameda’s Fourth of July parade.
Hundreds of running enthusiasts from around the country took part in the inaugural Bank of Marin Alameda Running Festival Oct. 29 and 30. Chris Bair of Lafayette beat out 289 other participants to become the overall winner in the half marathon race. The festival also held 10K and 5K races and a one-mile Fun Run for kids.
Alameda resident Hans Struzyna, 27, competed at the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil as a member of the U.S. men’s eight rowing team. The team finished fourth in the two-kilometer race in 5:34.23.
Members of the Alameda Fire Department (AFD) won a gold medal for softball at the California Firefighters Olympics (CFO) on July 21. They went a perfect 7-0 in three days of competition culminating in a 19-15 victory over Southern Marin Fire Department in the gold-medal game.
The Alameda 12-year-old Little League All-Stars took home the District 4 championship with a 13-9 victory over Lafayette on July 11.