Walter Ford

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December 31, 2013
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Bold predictions for the new year

As one year concludes and another begins, we take time to reflect on the events that shaped 2013 and start to look forward to what 2014 has in store.

Every year brings its challenges and obstacles, but on New Year’s Day, optimism is in full swing. With 12 months ahead, anything is possible. So on that note, I have put together a list of five sports predictions with the “anything is possible” mentality.

Prediction No. 1

Well, as many of you know, The Union Sports runs a lot of high school football stories, so where else would I start. And in the wake of Nevada Union’s historically bad football season (0-10), I figured I would look ahead and prognosticate the Miners’ 2014 season.

I have reviewed their schedule for the upcoming season, and there are some very winnable games. I predict the Miners will notch three wins in 2014, beating Pioneer, Lincoln and Woodcreek.

As for the remaining games against Del Oro, Folsom, Oak Ridge, Granite Bay, Rocklin and Placer — the Miners will have their work cut out for them.

Prediction No. 2

Bear River softball was a nice surprise in 2013 and will be a force to be reckoned with in 2014.

With almost the entire team returning and longtime coach and multiple section championship winner Duane Zauner returning after a year hiatus, I believe the Lady Bruins have the makings of a section championship team.

But my prediction is about their star pitcher, sophomore Nerissa Long. The hard-throwing pitcher had a 1.31 ERA last season and notched a pair of no-hitters.

This year I envision Long notching her first perfect game. She had control issues as a freshman, but as she matures and hones her skills, it’s only going to get harder for opponents to reach base.

Prediction No. 3

For those of you who know me, you know that I am a big rec league softball advocate and have plenty of free cotton to prove it (if you win a league title, you get a free T-shirt).

In Nevada County there is a team that goes by the moniker ROC, and these guys can play. In fact, they dominate. The ROC team has been the elite in Nevada County softball for what seems like a decade. They probably have a closet full of free T-shirts.

My prediction is they are toppled this year and finish second in the highly competitive B1 slo-pitch league. I mean no disrespect to these guys as they are friends, and frankly, I respect their softball prowess, but the league has improved, and each year, teams get hungrier and hungrier in their efforts to topple the softball sultans on the ROC.

Prediction No. 4

The Gold Country Grand Prix will start to make moves to add five more races to its yearly schedule, and runners in Nevada County will never go a month without a sanctioned race.

The running community in Nevada County is a fervent one filled with wonderful athletes who wholeheartedly embrace trail running. The Grand Prix has become widely popular, and combined with the passion that locals run with, I wouldn’t be surprised to see more and more races.

Prediction No. 5

For my fifth prediction, we step outside of county lines as I believe the Sacramento Kings will make a late season run at the playoffs, nabbing the eight seed out of the West.

They would be a four seed in the East, but like real estate, its all about location in the NBA. The Kings will get bounced in the first round, but it will be the first major step toward the winning promises new owner Vivek Ranadive promised.

So, there they are, my five predictions for 2014. Best of luck to all in sport and here’s to a happy and healthy new year.

To contact Sports Editor Walter Ford, call 530-477-4232 or email

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The Union Updated Dec 31, 2013 10:22PM Published Dec 31, 2013 10:18PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.