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ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: NU grad Tanner Vallejo back with Cardinals, has big game vs. Steelers

Tanner Vallejo’s third season in the NFL has been a bit of a roller coaster.

After a playing in 13 games for the Cleveland Browns in 2018, Vallejo was let go only to be quickly picked up by the Arizona Cardinals ahead of the 2019 season. Vallejo played in three preseason games for the Cardinals, wrapping up 15 tackles and grabbing an interception, but was waived ahead of the start of regular season play. The 2013 Nevada Union graduate was then signed by the Washington Redskins, where he played in nine games, mostly appearing on special teams. On Nov. 16, Vallejo was waived and subsequently cut by the Redskins.

“Can’t break me!!!!” Vallejo said in a tweet after being waived.

He would once again find a spot with the Cardinals, joining their practice squad Nov. 20 and eventually being added to the 53-man roster last Wednesday.

All that led up to a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Sunday in Glendale, Arizona where Vallejo played just 16 snaps on defense but had arguably his best game as a pro.

Vallejo, a 6-foot, 1-inch, 230-pound inside linebacker, tallied five solo tackles, forced a fumble and notched his first-career sack against the surging Steelers.

The Cardinals lost the contest, 23-17.

While at Nevada Union, Vallejo tallied a school record 419 tackles in his three-year varsity career. He was also a two-time Sierra Foothill League Defensive MVP, three-time All-Metro selection and three-time All-Sac-Joaquin Section selection. Vallejo led the Miners to the playoffs in 2011 and 2012.

Vallejo was heavily recruited out of high school and chose Boise State over several Pac-12 options. He played in 42 games, made 275 total tackles and earned all-conference honors three times in his four-year college career with the Broncos. In 2014, Vallejo helped Boise State win the Mountain West Championship as well as the Fiesta Bowl, garnering Defensive MVP honors in both games.

Next up for Vallejo and the Cardinals (3-9-1) is a game against the Browns, Sunday in Arizona.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL

Danica Minard and the American River College Beavers had their season come to close last Friday after falling to Irvine Valley College in the quarterfinals of the California Community College Athletic Association’s State Championship Tournament.

Minard, a 2018 Nevada Union grad, played in all five sets, notched four blocks, two digs and a kill in the loss.

For the season, Minard finishes second on her team in blocks (52) and sixth in kills (132).

The loss for American River ends a 2019 Campaign in which it went 24-8 overall and won a share of the Big 8 Conference title.

While at Nevada Union, Minard was a two-year varsity standout who helped the Lady Miners reach the playoffs in both her junior and senior seasons.

In her freshman year with American River, Minard played in 32 matches, tallied 129 kills and helped the Beavers win the 2018 California State Championship.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

David Menary, a 2016 Nevada Union graduate, and the University of Redlands men’s basketball team split a pair of games last week, topping Occidental College, 83-73, and falling to University of Puget Sound, 74-72.

Menary, a senior forward, led the Bulldogs with 20 points, including five made 3-pointers in the win over Occidental. He tallied 23 points and four rebounds in the loss to Puget Sound.

Redlands teammate and younger brother Gary Menary, a 2017 NU graduate, tallied 13 points and eight rebounds in the game against Occidental, and netted six points and six rebounds in the contest with Puget Sound.

For the season, David Menary is averaging a team-highs in points per game (18.8) and assists per game (3.8).

Gary Menary, a junior, is first on the team in steals with 2.6 per game. He’s second on the squad in rebounds per game (6.3) and third in scoring per game (9.6).

Redlands (5-2) is NCAA Division III school that plays in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

David O’Looney, a 2019 Nevada Union graduate, and the American River College Beavers won their lone bout last week, beating Solano Community College, 95-89, in overtime.

O’Looney, a freshman forward, came off the bench and played 28 minutes, scored 12 points and pulled down seven rebounds in the win. For the season, O’Looney is averaging eight points and 7.1 rebounds per game.

American River (4-3) competes in the California Community College Athletic Association’s Big 8 Conference.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Aycee Willis, a 2017 Nevada Union graduate, and the William Jessup Warriors opened conference play with a pair of wins last week, topping Hope International University, 78-70, and Life Pacific University, 73-67.

Willis, a junior guard, scored 18 points and nabbed six rebounds in the win over Life Pacific. She tallied eight points, six rebounds and five assists against Hope International. For the year, Willis is averaging 11.8 points, 3.9 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game.

William Jessup (7-3) is a NAIA school which competes in the Golden State Athletic Conference.

Meadow Aragon, a 2019 Nevada Union grad, and the Western Oregon University Wolves dropped a pair of conference games last week, losing to University of Alaska, Fairbanks in overtime, 81-76, and University of Alaska, Anchorage, 73-41.

Aragon, a freshman forward, scored three points and grabbed two rebounds against Alaska, Anchorage. She had a rebound, a steal and an assist against Alaska, Fairbanks.

Western Oregon (2-6) is a Division II school which competes in the Greater Northwest Athletic Conference.

Have we missed anyone? If you know of a college or professional athlete with local ties, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: Nevada Union grad Danica Minard, American River marching through playoffs

Danica Minard and the American River College women’s volleyball team won both their playoff games last week and are now one of eight teams left battling for the California Community College Athletic Association’s State Championship.

Minard, a 2018 Nevada Union grad, helped the Beavers beat Solano Community College in four sets in the first round, and knock off Folsom Lake College in four sets in Saturday’s second round playoff bout.

Minard, a sophomore, tallied four kills, three digs and two blocks in the win over Solano. She then hammered down seven kills, notched seven digs and accounted for two blocks in the victory over Folsom Lake.

For the season, Minard is second on her team in blocks (48) and sixth in kills (131).

While at Nevada Union, Minard was a two-year varsity standout who helped the Lady Miners reach the playoffs in both her junior and senior seasons.

In her freshman year with American River, she played in 32 matches, tallied 129 kills and helped the Beavers win the 2018 California State Championship.

American River has already laid claim to a share of the of the Big 8 Conference title and will now go for their second straight State Championship.

The Beavers (24-7) face Irvine Valley College in the CCCAA State Tournament quarterfinals at 7 p.m. Friday at Southwestern College.

Bekah McGill, a 2019 Nevada Union graduate, and the Sierra College Wolverines had their season come to an end in the second round of the CCCAA Regional Playoffs.

McGill and the Wolverines beat College of the Sequoias in the first round, but were ousted in the second round after a five set loss to Cabrillo College

McGill, a freshman setter, led the Wolverines in assists in both games, notching 27 in the win over Sequoias and doling out 17 in the loss against Cabrillo.

McGill led the Wolverines in assists this season with leads the team in assists with 642. She was also fifth on the team in digs with 173.

While at Nevada Union, McGill was a three-year varsity player and a team-captain in her junior and senior seasons. She helped the Lady Miners reach the playoffs all three years and was a two-time all-league selection.

Sierra earned a share of the Big 8 Conference title this season, along with American River, and closes the year with an overall record of 22-8.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

David Menary, a 2016 Nevada Union graduate, and the University of Redlands men’s basketball team took it to UC Santa Cruz last week, beating the Banana Slugs, 72-50.

Menary, a senior forward, led the Bulldogs with 14 points, including three 3-pointers. Menary also had three rebounds and two assists in the win.

Redlands teammate and younger brother Gary Menary, a 2017 NU graduate, chipped in seven points and nabbed three steals in the victory.

For the season, David Menary is averaging a team-highs in points per game (17.5), rebounds per contest (6.5) and assists per game (4.3)

Gary Menary, a junior, is first on the team in steals with 2.6 per game. He’s second on the squad in rebounds per game (6) and fourth in scoring per game (9.6).

The Menary brothers were standouts for the Nevada Union hoops program, helping the Miners reach the playoffs in the 2015-16 season. Both earned All-Sierra Foothill League First Team honors in their respective senior seasons.

Redlands (4-1) is NCAA Division III school that plays in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Meadow Aragon, a 2019 Nevada Union grad, and the Western Oregon University Wolves lost their only contest last week, falling to Southwest Minnesota State, 70-62.

Aragon, a freshman forward, came off the bench and chipped in two points to go with three rebounds in eight minutes of floor time.

For the season, Aragon has played in all six of the Wolves’ games and is averaging 1.7 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

Western Oregon (2-4) is a Division II school which competes in the Greater Northwest Athletic Conference.

Have we missed anyone? If you know of a college or professional athlete with local ties, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: Pizzella leads Chico at National Championships; Baze helps Sierra win Grizzly Bowl

Nora Pizzella put forth one more impressive performance before wrapping up a stellar 4-year run with the Chico State Women’s Cross Country team.

The 2016 Nevada Union grad led all Wildcats at the 2019 NCAA Division II Women’s Cross Country Championships, placing 60th individually with a time of 21 minutes, 16.6 seconds on the 6K Arcade Creek Cross Country Course at the Haggin Oaks Golf Complex in Sacramento, Saturday.

Chico State finished in seventh place as a team.

“We came into this race with big goals and I’m really excited to say that everyone on our team put in everything they had today,” Pizzella said to chicowildcats.com. “The competition’s tough and we knew that. I was just really proud of them. We have a really young team and some of them have never been to a national meet before. And this is different than anything else. Especially for your first nationals meet, to have this much hype, they handled it so well and stayed composed and took care of business and did what they could out there.”

For Pizzella it was her fourth time at the National Championships and the fourth time her team has earned a top-eight finish.

“She’s been a rock for us. Nobody works harder both out here, and in the classroom,” Chico State Head coach Gary Towne told chicowildcats.com. “The thing that you worry about on this stage is people beating themselves sometimes. But not Nora. I knew she would go out and do everything that she could. And she did. That was a big part of our seventh-place finish.”

At one point early in the race Pizzella fell back into 113th place, but weaved her way through the competition in her final race for the Chico State Cross Country team.

Pizzella was named the California Collegiate Athletic Association’s Freshman of the Year in 2016 and has garnered All-CCAA cross country honors as a sophomore, junior and senior. She has also earned multiple CCAA All-Academic awards during her time at Chico State.

While at Nevada Union, Pizzella was a star on the cross country team, placing sixth at the Sac-Joaquin Section finals, and taking 25th at the state championships with a time of 18:20, which set a school record.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Austin Baze, a 2018 Bear River grad, shined for the Sierra College football team on Saturday, helping the Wolverines knock off Laney College, 21-14, in the 2019 Grizzly Bowl.

Baze, a sophomore linebacker, wrapped up a team-high nine tackles, including one for a loss in the victory. For the season, Baze is second on the team in tackles with 65. He also tallied 6.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, an interception and scored two defensive touchdowns for the Wolverines.

The standout linebacker was also named to the All-NorCal Conference First Team.

During Baze’s time with the Bear River Bruins, he played at the varsity level all four seasons, notching 183 tackles and 11 sacks along the way. He helped the Bruins win two Section titles (2014, 2017) and was a force on both sides of the ball. As a fullback with the Bruins, Baze ran for 1,544 yards and 30 touchdowns on 251 carries.

Sierra finishes the season with a 7-4 record overall and their second straight Grizzly Bowl victory.

Justin Houlihan, a 2018 Nevada Union graduate, and the American River College Beavers had their season come to a close with a, 35-28, playoff loss to Modesto Junior College on Saturday.

Houlihan, a sophomore linebacker, took down seven ball carriers in the contest. For the year, Houlihan finished with 72 tackles in nine games. He also had 5.5 tackles for a loss and a sack along the way. He was named to the All-NorCal Conference First Team.

While at Nevada Union, Houlihan was a three-year varsity starter at middle linebacker, racking up 340 tackles across 33 games. He was an All-SFL selection three times.

American River went 8-3 on the season and won the NorCal Conference title.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

David O’Looney, a 2019 Nevada Union graduate, and the American River College basketball team went 1-2 at the Shasta Invitational last week.

O’Looney, a freshman forward, started two of the three games and averaged 8.6 points and 8.6 rebounds across the three games. O’Looney’s best game came against Foothill College, when he scored 13 points and pulled down 11 rebounds.

American River (3-3) competes in the California Community College Athletic Association’s Big 8 Conference.

David Menary, a 2016 Nevada Union graduate, was named the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Offensive Player of the Week for his performance at the Lee Fulmer Memorial Classic. Menary notched 44 points, 20 rebounds and eight assists across two wins at the tourney. His biggest game came against Southwestern University (Texas), when he scored 29 points and grabbed 13 rebounds.

Redlands (3-1) is NCAA Division III school which plays in the SCIAC.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Aycee Willis, a 2017 Nevada Union graduate, and the William Jessup Warriors dropped both their contests at the College of Idaho Shoot-out, falling to Montana Tech and University of Montana Western.

Willis, a junior guard, scored 22 points in the game with Montana Western, and tallied 10 points in the bout with Montana Tech.

William Jessup (5-3) is a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school which competes in the Golden State Athletic Conference.

Have we missed anyone? If you know of a college or professional athlete with local ties, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: Nevada Union grad Bekah McGill helps Sierra extend win streak

The Sierra College women’s volleyball team extended its win streak to eight in a row last week, topping Santa Rosa Junior College and American River College.

Playing a big role for the Wolverines was Bekah McGill, a 2019 Nevada Union graduate, who led Sierra in assists in both contests. The freshman setter doled out 27 assists against Santa Rosa, and dished out 32 against American River. She also notched 18 digs across the two matches.

For the season, McGill leads the Wolverines in assists with 579. She’s also fifth on the team in digs with 153.

The win against American River was especially important as it pulled the Wolverines into a tie with the Beavers for first place in the California Community College Athletic Association’s Big 8 Conference with just one game left on the schedule.

Danica Minard, a 2018 Nevada Union grad and sophomore on the American River team, tallied three kills in the loss to Sierra. Minard is sixth on her team in kills this season with 128.

Sierra (20-7, 13-2) closes the regular season against San Joaquin Delta College today. American River (21-7, 13-2) wraps up the season with a bout against Modesto Junior College today.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

The Sierra College Wolverines wrapped up the regular season with a convincing win over College of the Siskiyous, 28-2, on Saturday.

Sierra linebacker Austin Baze, a 2018 Bear River grad, tallied three tackles and a fumble recovery in the win. The 6-2, 240-pound sophomore is tied for second on the team in tackles this season with 56. He also has 5.5 tackles for a loss, two sacks and two defensive touchdowns.

Wolverine teammate Hayden Fay, a 2018 Nevada Union grad, also saw action in the game. The 6-2, 180-pound freshman receiver caught one pass for seven yards and returned a kickoff 23 yards.

For the season, Fay has eight catches for 217 yards and one touchdown. He also averages 19.1 yards per kick return with a long of 34.

With the win, Sierra improves to 6-4 overall and 3-2 in CCCAA NorCal Conference play. Next up for the Wolverines is the NorCal Grizzly Bowl against Laney College.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

David Menary, a 2016 Nevada Union graduate, and the University of Redlands Bulldogs won a pair of games last week, topping Luther College (Iowa), 87-62, and Southwestern University (Texas), 87-70.

Menary, a senior forward, tallied an impressive double-double in the win over Southwestern, scoring a game-high 29 points to go with 13 rebounds. Menary was hot from 3-point range as well, hitting on 4-of-5 from beyond the arc.

In the win over Luther, Menary tallied a game-high 15 points to go with seven rebounds, six assists and two blocks.

Menary’s brother and Redlands teammate Gary Menary, a 2017 NU graduate, was also in the starting lineup for both games. The junior contributed 12 points, four rebounds and five assists in the win over Southwestern. Gary notched eight points, seven rebounds and four steals against Luther.

Redlands (3-1) is NCAA Division III school which plays in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Aycee Willis, a 2017 Nevada Union graduate, and the William Jessup Warriors claimed victory in their only contest last week, beating Pacific Union College, 80-47.

Willis, a junior guard, scored five points and grabbed seven rebounds in the win.

William Jessup (3-1) is a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics school which competes in the Golden State Athletic Conference.

Have we missed anyone? If you know of a college or professional athlete with local ties, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: NU grad Nora Pizzella helps Chico win NCAA West Regional

Nora Pizzella, a 2016 Nevada Union graduate, logged a career best time and helped the Chico State women’s cross country team run down the NCAA Division II West Regional Championship.

Competing in Monmouth, Oregon on Saturday, Pizzella notched a time of 21 minutes, 16.3 seconds on the 6K course to finish fourth among Chico State runners and 20th overall.

The team win at the West Regionals is the sixth in Chico State program history and first since 2016.

With the effort, Pizzella earned All-West Regional honors for the third time in her college career.

While at Nevada Union, Pizzella was a star on the cross country team, placing sixth at the Sac-Joaquin Section finals, and taking 25th at the state championships with a time of 18:20, which set a school record.

Next up for Pizzella, a senior, and the Wildcats is the NCAA DII Championships set to be held Nov. 23 in Sacramento.

MEN’S COLLEGE CROSS COUNTRY

Garrett Gough, a 2019 Nevada Union graduate, is making an immediate impact at the college level.

The freshman harrier helped the Army West Point men’s cross country team win the Patriot League Championship Nov. 2.

Gough earned All-Patriot League Second Team honors after finishing ninth individually with a time of 25:39.1 on the 8K course. Gough also nabbed Most Outstanding Freshman at the Meet honors.

Next up for Gough and the Army cross country team is the NCAA Northeast Regional Championships Friday in Buffalo, New York.

Wyatt Gough, a 2019 Nevada Union graduate, put in a strong performance for American River College at the Big 8 Conference Championships Nov. 1.

Gough, a freshman, finished 15th individually at the meet with a time of 20:35.5 on the 4-mile course.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE VOLLEYBALL

The streak continues for Danica Minard and the American River women’s volleyball team as they made it 14 straight wins.

Minard, a 2018 Nevada Union grad, helped the Beavers earn victories over Santa Rosa Junior College and Sacramento City College last week.

Minard, a sophomore, tallied two kills in the win over Sacramento, and put down four kills in Friday’s win over Santa Rosa.

For the season, Minard is fifth on her team in kills with 110.

American River (20-6, 12-1) competes in the CCCAA’s Big 8 Conference.

Bekah McGill, a 2019 Nevada Union graduate, and the Sierra Wolverines won their only match last week, topping Sacramento City in four sets.

McGill, a freshman setter, led the Wolverines in assists with 28 in the victory.

For the season, McGill leads the team in assists with 520. She’s also fifth on the team in digs with 135.

Sierra (18-7, 11-2) competes in the CCCAA’s Big 8 Conference.

Kaely Rath, a 2016 Bear River graduate, and the Southern Virginia University Knights had their season come to a close last week after a straight set loss to Christopher Newport University in the Capital Athletic Conference semifinals.

Rath, a junior outside hitter, led her team in kills with seven in the match. She finishes the campaign as the Knights’ leader in kills for the season, scoring 278 in 24 matches played.

Southern Virginia (16-13) is a Division III school.

WOMEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Aycee Willis, a 2017 Nevada Union graduate, and the William Jessup Warriors won their only bout last week, topping University of California, Merced, 67-58.

Willis, a junior guard, scored a team-high 18 points, going 7-for-13 from the field and 2-for-3 from 3-point range. For the season, Willis is averaging 11.3 points per game.

William Jessup (3-1) is a NAIA school which competes in the Golden State Athletic Conference.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

David Menary, a 2016 Nevada Union graduate, and the University of Redlands men’s basketball team opened the season at the Bulldog Tip-Off Classic last week.

Redlands fell to University of Texas, Dallas, 74-71 in overtime in their opener, but finished with a 94-69 victory over Linfield College.

Menary, a senior forward, started in the win over Linfield, notching 12 points, seven assists and four steals.

Redlands teammate and younger brother Gary Menary, a 2017 NU graduate, started both games for the Bulldogs.

The junior contributed 11 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the loss to UT Dallas, and scored 10 points in the win against Linfield.

Redlands (1-1) is NCAA Division III school that plays in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.

Have we missed anyone? If you know of a college or professional athlete with local ties, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: NU grad Justin Houlihan leads defensive effort as American River routs Sierra

In a clash between surging Sacramento-area community college football squads it was the Beavers from American River powering past the Sierra Wolverines, 45-14, Saturday.

Suiting up and making an impact in the game were several local alumni.

Leading the Beavers’ defensive effort was 2018 Nevada Union graduate Justin Houlihan. The 6-foot, 225-pound sophomore linebacker led American River in tackles with six, including one for a loss.

Houlihan has made his presence known all season and leads the Beavers in tackles (56) and tackles for a loss (5).

While at Nevada Union, Houlihan was a three-year varsity starter at middle linebacker, racking up 340 tackles across 33 games. He was an All-League selection three times.

For Sierra, linebacker Austin Baze, a 2018 Bear River grad, did all he could to slow American River’s onslaught and finished with a game-high eight tackles.

Baze, a 6-foot, 2-inch, 240-pound sophomore, is second on his team in tackles this season with 50. He also has two sacks, an interception, a fumble recovery and two touchdowns on defense.

Sierra teammate Hayden Fay, a 2018 Nevada Union grad, also saw action in the game. The 6-foot, 2-inch, 180-pound freshman receiver returned a pair of kickoffs in the game.

For the season, Fay has caught seven passes for 210 yards and a touchdown. He’s also returned 12 kickoffs with a long of 34 yards.

Fay was a three-year varsity starter during his time at Nevada Union, earning All-Sierra Foothill League honors as a receiver his junior season and as a defensive back his senior season. During his three varsity seasons, Fay pulled down 87 catches for 1,501 yards and 10 touchdowns.

During Baze’s time with the Bear River Bruins, he played at the varsity level all four seasons, notching 183 tackles and 11 sacks along the way. He helped the Bruins win two Section titles (2014, 2017) and was a force on both sides of the ball. As a fullback with the Bruins, Baze ran for 1,544 yards and 30 touchdowns on 251 carries.

The loss for the Wolverines drops them to 4-3 overall and 1-1 in the conference play. Next up for Sierra is a contest against conference foe Feather River College (0-7, 0-2).

American River (5-2, 2-0) will look for their fourth straight victory when they host Butte College (5-2, 2-0) Saturday.

Both American River and Sierra compete in the California Community College Athletic Association’s National-NorCal Conference.

WOMEN’S VOLLEYBALL

Danica Minard, a 2018 Nevada Union graduate, and the American River women’s volleyball team pushed their win streak to 10 with victories over Folsom Lake College and Cosumnes River College last week.

Minard, a sophomore, notched five kills in the win over Folsom Lake. Stats for the match with Cosumnes River were not available as of press time.

American River (16-6, 8-1) competes in the CCCAA’s Big 8 Conference.

Bekah McGill, a 2019 Nevada Union graduate, and the Sierra Wolverines won all three of their matches last week, topping Santa Rosa Junior College, Modesto Junior College and Folsom Lake College.

McGill, a freshman setter, led the Wolverines in assists in all three matches, finishing with a total of 77 across the trio of contests. She also tallied 23 digs for the week.

For the season, McGill leads the team in assists with 448. She’s also fifth on the team in digs with 118.

Sierra (15-7, 8-2) competes in the CCCAA’s Big 8 Conference.

Kaely Rath, a 2016 Bear River graduate, and the Southern Virginia University Knights dropped both of their matches last week, falling to University of Mary Washington and Salisbury University.

Rath, a junior outside hitter, tallied 15 kills across the two matches.

For the season, Rath leads the team in kills with 233.

Southern Virginia (14-9) is a Division III school that competes in the Capital Athletic Conference.

WOMEN’S BASKETBALL

Aycee Willis, a 2017 Nevada Union graduate, and the William Jessup Warriors Women’s hoops team opened the season strong with a, 79-59, victory over Pacific Union College last Thursday.

Willis, a junior guard, got the start and scored 17 points, grabbed four rebounds and nabbed two steals in the win.

Willis transferred to William Jessup after two standout seasons at Sierra College where she was an all-conference selection after her sophomore campaign.

Have we missed anyone? If you know of a college or professional athlete with local ties, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: Baze’s pick-6 helps Sierra to 4th straight win

The Sierra College football team made it four straight wins with a blowout victory over previously unbeaten Shasta, 44-21, Saturday at Homer “Buzz” Ostrom Stadium in Rocklin.

Making a major impact in the game was 2018 Bear River graduate Austin Baze. The 6-foot, 2-inch, 240-pound, sophomore linebacker wrapped up six tackles and snagged an interception which he took back 45-yards for a touchdown. It was Baze’s second defensive touchdown of the season. He returned a fumble recovery for a score in the season opener.

Baze’s pick-six put the Wolverines up 20-7 in the second quarter.

For the season, Baze is second on the team with 42 tackles. He also has two sacks and four tackles for a loss.

During Baze’s time with the Bear River Bruins, he played at the varsity level all four seasons, notching 183 tackles and 11 sacks along the way. He helped the Bruins win two Section titles (2014, 2017) and was a force on both sides of the ball. As a fullback with the Bruins, Baze ran for 1,544 yards and 30 touchdowns on 251 carries.

Sierra teammate Hayden Fay, a 2018 Nevada Union graduate, also saw action in Saturday’s win. The freshman receiver caught one pass for six yards and returned a kickoff.

On the year, Fay has seven catches for 210 yards and a touchdown from his receiver position. As a kick returner he’s averaging 21.5 yards per return with a long of 34. Fay is second on the team in all-purpose yards with 420.

Fay was a three-year varsity starter for the Miners, earning All-Sierra Foothill League honors as a receiver his junior season and as a defensive back his senior season. During his three varsity seasons, Fay pulled down 87 catches for 1,501 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Wolverines (4-2, 1-0) compete in the California Community College Athletic Association’s National-NorCal Conference.

Also on the college gridiron was Justin Houlihan, a 2018 Nevada Union graduate, who helped the American River College Beavers beat College of the Siskiyous, 35-14, Saturday.

Houlihan, a 6-foot, 225-pound, sophomore linebacker, led the defensive effort with 10 tackles, including a sack and 3.5 tackles for a loss.

For the season, Houlihan is tied for the team lead in tackles with 50, and leads the team in tackles for a loss with 4.5.

While at Nevada Union, Houlihan was a three-year varsity starter at middle linebacker, racking up 340 tackles across 33 games. He was an All-SFL selection three times.

American River (4-2, 1-0) competes in the CCCAA’s National-NorCal Conference.

American River travels to face Sierra at 1 p.m. Saturday in Rocklin.

WOMEN’S Volleyball

Danica Minard, a 2018 Nevada Union graduate, and the American River women’s volleyball team extended their win streak to eight matches last week with victories over Sierra College and Modesto Junior College.

Minard, a sophomore, tallied eight kills and three digs in the win over Sierra, and had three kills against Modesto.

For the season, Minard has played in 19 of American River’s 20 matches and is fifth on the team in kills with 86.

While at Nevada Union, Minard was a two-year varsity standout who helped the Lady Miners reach the playoffs in both her junior and senior seasons.

In her freshman season with American River, she played in 32 matches, tallied 129 kills and helped the Beavers win the California State Championship.

American River (14-6, 6-1) competes in the CCCAA’s Big 8 Conference.

Bekah McGill, a 2019 Nevada Union graduate, and the Sierra Wolverines lost a pair of tightly contested matches last week, falling in five sets to both American River and San Joaquin Delta College.

McGill, a freshman setter, tallied 20 assists, four aces and eight digs against American River. She doled out 28 assists and had five digs in the loss to San Joaquin Delta.

For the season, McGill has played in all 19 of Sierra’s matches and leads the team in assists with 371. She’s also fifth on the team in digs with 95.

While at Nevada Union, McGill was a three-year varsity player and a team-captain in her junior and senior seasons.

Sierra (12-7, 5-2) competes in the CCCAA’s Big 8 Conference.

Kaely Rath, a 2016 Bear River graduate, and the Southern Virginia University Knights split a pair of matches last week, falling to Christopher Newport University, and topping York University.

Rath, a junior outside hitter, tallied 10 kills in the win over York, and notched eight in the match with Christopher Newport.

For the season, Rath leads the team in kills with 218.

While at Bear River, Rath was a four-year varsity player. She was a freshman on the Lady Bruins’ 2012 Sac-Joaquin Section championship team, and as a senior led the team to a Pioneer Valley League title. She was named the league MVP in 2015.

Southern Virginia (14-9) is a Division III school that competes in the Capital Athletic Conference.

Have we missed anyone? If you know of a college or professional athlete with local ties, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: Bear River, NU alumni help power Sierra to 3rd win in a row

The Sierra College football team powered past Sacramento City College on Saturday, helping the Wolverines to their third straight win were some local alumni.

Austin Baze, a 2018 Bear River graduate, made an impact on the defensive side of the ball. The 6-foot, 2-inch, 240-pound, sophomore linebacker notched eight tackles including a sack which resulted in a 13-yard loss.

For the season, Baze is second on the team with 36 tackles. He also has two sacks and a fumble recovery which he took back for a touchdown.

Making his presence felt on special teams was 2018 Nevada Union graduate Hayden Fay. The 6-2, 180-pound freshman receiver didn’t catch a ball in the game, but tallied 64 yards in kick returns.

On the year, Fay has six catches for 204 yards and a touchdown from his receiver position. As a kick returner he’s averaging 22.5 yards per return with a long of 34. Fay is second on the team in all-purpose yards with 402.

Also getting in on the action was freshman defensive lineman Trae Nix, a 2019 Bear River graduate, who made his first tackle of the season.

Nix was a standout on both the offensive and defensive lines during his time at Bear River. The two-time All-Pioneer Valley League selection helped the Bruins win the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V title in 2017 and reach a second straight championship game in 2018. Across his two seasons as a varsity starter, he was a leader from his center position on offense, and wrapped up 104 tackles and 10 sacks from his defensive line position.

During Baze’s time at Bear River, he played at the varsity level all four seasons, notching 183 tackles and 11 sacks along the way. He helped the Bruins win two Section titles (2014, 2017) and was a force on both sides of the ball. As a fullback with the Bruins, Baze ran for 1,544 yards and 30 touchdowns on 251 carries.

Fay was a three-year varsity starter for the Miners, earning All-Sierra Foothill League honors as a receiver his junior season and as a defensive back his senior season. During his three varsity seasons at NU, Fay pulled down 87 catches for 1,501 yards and 10 touchdowns.

The Wolverines (3-2) have a bye next week, then kickoff conference play against Shasta College (5-0) Oct. 19.

Sierra College competes in the California Community College Athletic Association’s National-NorCal Conference along with with American River College (3-2), Butte College (3-2), Feather River College (0-5), College of the Siskiyous (0-5) and Shasta.

Also on the college gridiron, 2018 Nevada Union graduate Justin Houlihan helped the Beavers get back to their winning ways with a 9-3 victory over Fresno City College Saturday.

Houlihan, a 6-foot, 225-pound, sophomore linebacker, tallied a team-high six tackles in the win.

For the season, Houlihan is tied for the team lead in tackles with 40.

While at Nevada Union, Houlihan was a three-year varsity starter at middle linebacker, racking up 340 tackles across 33 games. He was an All-SFL selection three times.

American River (3-2) has a bye this week, and gets back to work with a conference matchup against Siskiyous Oct. 19.

Have we missed anyone? If you know of a college or professional athlete with local ties, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: NU grad Hayden Fay, Bear River alum Austin Baze shine in Sierra’s win

The Sierra College football team captured its first win of the season on Saturday, taking down West Hills College-Coalinga, 69-32, at Homer “Buzz” Ostrom Stadium in Rocklin.

A pair of local alumni played big roles in the win.

Hayden Fay, a 2018 Nevada Union graduate, had a huge day as the freshman receiver pulled down four catches for a game-high 141 receiving yards and a touchdown.

Fay’s touchdown came on a 30-yard pass from Preston Eklund late in the third quarter, and put the Wolverines up, 55-19.

For the season, Fay has six catches for a team-best 204 yards and one touchdown. The 6-foot, 2-inch, 180-pound Fay is averaging 34 yards per catch.

Fay was a three-year varsity starter for the Miners, catching 87 balls for 1,501 yards and 10 touchdowns in 29 games. He was an all-league selection twice.

Sierra linebacker and 2018 Bear River grad Austin Baze was a terror on the defensive side of the ball, wrapping up a game-high 12 tackles, including one for a loss.

Baze, a 6-2, 240-pound sophomore, has 23 tackles, a fumble recovery and a defensive touchdown on the season.

During Baze’s time at Bear River, he played at the varsity level all four seasons, notching 183 tackles and 11 sacks along the way. He helped the Bruins win two Sac-Joaquin Section Division V titles and was a force on both sides of the ball.

Justin Houlihan, a 2018 Nevada Union graduate, and the American River College Beavers suffered their first loss of the season Saturday, falling to College of San Mateo, 42-10.

Houlihan, a sophomore linebacker, made seven tackles in the loss. For the season, Houlihan is second on the team with 22 tackles.

While at Nevada Union, Houlihan was a three-year varsity starter at middle linebacker, racking up 340 tackles across 33 games. He was an all-league selection three times.

American River (2-1) competes in the CCCAA’s National-NorCal Conference.

Have we missed anyone? If you know of a college or professional athlete with local ties, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.

ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: NU grad Justin Houlihan helps American River take down defending champs

Justin Houlihan, a 2018 Nevada Union graduate, and the American River College football team earned a big win on Saturday, taking down defending state champ and preseason No. 1 Laney College (Oakland), 15-10.

The Beavers from American River trailed 10-6 at halftime, but hit three second half field goals and shutdown Laney’s offense down the stretch to pull out the victory.

Houlihan, a sophomore linebacker, and the Beavers defense held Laney to just 112 passing yards and 150 rushing yards.

The 6-foot, 225-pound Houlihan wrapped up nine tackles in the victory, which was second on the team. He now has 15 tackles through two games this season.

While at Nevada Union, Houlihan was a three-year varsity starter at middle linebacker, racking up 340 tackles across 33 games. He was an all-league selection three times.

American River (2-0) competes in the California Community College Athletic Association’s National-NorCal Conference.

Austin Baze, a 2018 Bear River graduate, and the Sierra College Wolverines fell to 0-2 on the season after a 50-20 loss to Modesto Junior College.

Sierra went toe-to-toe with Modesto early on, and was down just one, 21-20, in the second quarter, but Modesto scored 29-unanswered points to pull away.

Baze, a 6-2, 240-pound linebacker, tallied five tackles in the game. The sophomore now has 11 tackles through two games.

During Baze’s time at Bear River, he played at the varsity level all four seasons, notching 183 tackles and 11 sacks along the way. He helped the Bruins win two Sac-Joaquin Section Division V titles and was a force on both sides of the ball.

Sierra teammate Hayden Fay, a 2018 Nevada Union graduate, made his presence known in the game as well. The freshman receiver grabbed one pass for 40 yards, and returned four kickoffs for 102 yards, including a long of 34 yards.

Fay was a three-year varsity starter for the Miners, catching 87 balls for 1,501 yards and 10 touchdowns in 29 games. He was an all-league selection twice.

Sierra College (0-2) competes in the CCCAA’s National-NorCal Conference.

WOMEN’s VOLLEYBALL

Kaely Rath, a 2016 Bear River graduate, and the Southern Virginia University Knights won both of their contests last week, topping Roenoke College and Randolph College.

Rath, a junior outside hitter, led the Knights with 15 kills in the victory over Roenoke. No stats were available for the win over Randolph.

While at Bear River, Rath was a four-year varsity player. She was on the Lady Bruins’ 2012 Sac-Joaquin Section championship team as a freshman, and as a senior led the team to a Pioneer Valley League title. She was named the league MVP in 2015.

Southern Virginia (7-3) is a Division III school that competes in the Capital Athletic Conference.

Have we missed anyone? If you know of a college or professional athlete with local ties, email wford@theunion.com or call 530-477-4232.