ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: Willis helps Sierra reach final 4; Lujan earns bid to NCAA Diving Championships; O’Callaghan tosses complete game shutout
March 12, 2018
Sierra College had its deep run through the postseason come to a close Saturday as the Wolverines fell to the Mt. San Jacinto College Eagles, 71-59, in the California Community College Athletic Association's Women's Basketball Championship semifinals.
The Wolverines led early and took a 32-31 lead into halftime. It was all Mt. San Jacinto in the second half though as the Eagles outscored Sierra 40-27 cross the final two quarters.
Aycee Willis, a 2017 Nevada Union graduate, started for Sierra and notched three points to go with seven rebounds and four assists.
For the season, the freshman guard averaged 10.5 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. Willis was a big part of Sierra's success this season, helping the Wolverines go 30-2 overall, win the CCCAA's Big 8 Conference and reach the state championship tournament's final four.
Fellow freshman guard Alyssa Pulkinghorn, a 2017 Bear River graduate, is also a member of the Sierra College team, but did not see floor time in the loss to Mt. San Jacinto. Pulkinghorn averaged 1.9 points per game this season.
Mt. San Jacinto went on to win the CCCAA State Championship with an 81-52 victory over Merced College.
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Mikaela Lujan, a 2015 Nevada Union graduate, qualified for the NCAA Championships with a sixth-place finish in the women's platform competition on the final day of the NCAA Zone B Championships last week.
Lujan, a junior who competes for the University of South Carolina, also qualified to compete in the women's 1-meter dive after she finished in 10th place in that event.
"Michaela did a wonderful job today," South Carolina head coach Todd Sherritt told gamecocksonline.com. "This was a much tougher event than it was a year ago, and what she did here today was very impressive. I'm very proud of the way she performed and thought she handled herself well throughout the contest. Overall it was a good week, and we're looking forward to the NCAAs."
Lujan will compete in the NCAA Division I Championships in Columbus, Ohio, March 21-24.
TRACK & FIELD
Melanie O'Brien, a 2016 Nevada Union graduate, and Nadia Torkman, a 2015 Nevada Union graduate, earned valuable points for their Chico State team at the Wildcat Track and Field Invitational Saturday.
O'Brien, a junior heptathlete, helped the Chico State 4×100 relay team place first, and the 4×400 team take third. She was also 11th in the high jump and 17th in the shot put.
Torkman, a sophomore heptathlete, placed second in the javelin and tied for fifth in the high jump.
Evan Kittle, a 2014 Nevada Union graduate, and the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs went 4-0 at the Cal-Lu-Fornia Classic in Thousand Oaks over the weekend.
Kittle, a senior setter, played in all four matches and led the Banana Slugs in assists in two of them.
For the season, Kittle leads the Banana Slugs in assists with 782.
Santa Cruz (25-9) is a NCAA Division III school that competes independently.
Garrett O'Callaghan, a 2014 Nevada Union graduate, pitched a complete game shutout to earn his first win of the season for Holy Names University.
Facing Concordia University, the 6-foot, 5-inch O'Callaghan went all nine innings, allowed two hits, one walk and no runs while striking out five. Holy Names won the game, 12-0.
O'Callaghan is now 1-3 on the year with a 5.54 ERA.
Holy Names (5-12, 1-7) is a Division II school that competes in the PacWest Conference.
Jakob Freele, a 2014 Nevada Union graduate, and the Northland College Lumberjacks opened their season with a pair of losses to Bethel University last week.
Freele, a senior center fielder, started both games and went 2-for-5 with two doubles and a run scored across the two games.
Northland is a Division III school that competes in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.
Matt Lopez, a 2016 Bear River graduate, and the Sierra College Wolverines improved to 6-0 in conference play with a three-game sweep of American River College last week.
Lopez, a freshman first baseman, went 6-for-11 with a double, three RBIs, five runs scored and two stolen bases across the three games. For the season, Lopez is batting .400 with three home runs, 21 RBIs and 24 runs scored.
Sierra (16-4, 6-0) competes in the CCCAA's Big 8 Conference.
Dalton Maxwell, a 2015 Nevada Union graduate, and the Menlo College Oaks swept all three games of their series with San Diego Christian College last week.
Maxwell, a junior middle infielder, played in two of the three games and went 1-for-5 from the plate.
Menlo teammate Ryan McCarthy, a 2013 Nevada Union graduate, took the mound in relief once during the series.
The 6-foot, 4-inch righty pitched in Saturday's win, throwing 4.1 innings, allowing three hits and one earned run while striking out five. He did not figure into the decision.
Menlo (11-15, 7-11) is a NAIA school that competes in the Golden State Athletic Conference.
Three local alumni took the diamond for Yuba College during a rough three-game stretch for the 49ers in which they lost games to Mendocino College, Napa Valley College and Contra Costa College last week.
Andrew Schnitzius, a 2016 Nevada Union graduate, played catcher in all three games and went 3-for-9 with two walks from the plate.
Bear Belding, a 2016 Bear River graduate, played shortstop on all three games and was 1-for-7 with a walk.
Weston Gaddis, also 2016 Nevada Union graduate, played in all three games and went 0-for-4, but did score a run.
Yuba College (9-10) competes in the CCCAA's Bay Valley Conference.
Nerissa Eason, a 2016 Bear River graduate, pitched well in her only start for the Oregon State Beavers last week, helping her team to an 8-3 victory over Cal State Northridge at the CSUN Tournament last week.
Eason, a sophomore, threw 3.1 innings, allowing three hits and two earned run while striking out three. She did not figure into the decision. For the season, Eason has appeared in eight games, is 1-0 and has a 3.64 ERA.
The Beavers went 4-1 at the tourney.
Oregon State (17-9) is a Division I school that competes in the Pac-12.
Arielle Koerber, a 2017 Bear River graduate, took the circle twice for Wagner College at the Stanford Tournament last week.
Koerber, a freshman pitcher, notched a complete game victory over Cal State Bakersfield and took a loss against Stanford. For the season, Koerber has appeared in eight games, is 3-3 overall and has a 4.73 ERA.
Wagner College (4-10) is a NCAA Division I school that competes in the Northeast Conference.
Mikayla Laymance, a 2015 Bear River graduate, and the William Jessup University Warriors won all four of their games last week, taking two from Arizona Christian University and two from Ottawa University.
Laymance, a junior catcher, started behind the plate in two of the Warriors' wins but did not log an at-bat.
William Jessup (17-8) is a NAIA school that competes in the GSAC.
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