ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: Local alumni help college hoops teams win tourney titles |

ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: Local alumni help college hoops teams win tourney titles

David O'Brien, a Bear River graduate, helped the Shasta Knights win the Shasta Invitational for the first time since 2001.
Photo by Brian O’Brien |

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The 2017-18 college basketball season has tipped off and several local alumni are helping their respective teams get off to strong starts.

David O’Brien, a 2016 Bear River graduate, and the Shasta College basketball Knights won the Shasta Invitational over the weekend, going 3-0 with wins over Columbia College, Santa Rosa Junior College and Cabrillo College.

O’Brien, a sophomore guard, played significant minutes off the bench in all three games. He was especially strong in the win over Santa Rosa, scoring 12 points, hitting two 3-pointers and dishing out four assists. He scored five points in each of the other two games.

It was the first time since 2001 the Knights won the Shasta Invitational.

Shasta (4-3) plays in the California Community College Athletic Association’s Golden Valley Conference.

While at Bear River, O’Brien was a three-year varsity starter and earned an All-Pioneer Valley League First Team honors in his junior and senior seasons.

David Menary, a 2016 Nevada Union graduate, and the University of Redlands Bulldogs dropped their first two regular season games, falling to Pacific and Puget Sound at the McArthur Classic.

Menary, a sophomore forward, started both games for the Bulldogs. The 6-foot, 5-inch sophomore grabbed 11 rebounds, scored five points and doled out five assists in the loss to Pacific. He scored 15 point and nabbed five rebounds against Puget Sound.

Redlands (0-2) is NCAA Division III school that plays in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.


Aycee Willis, a 2017 Nevada union graduate, and the Sierra College Wolverines won their second straight tourney last week, going 3-0 with wins over College of the Redwoods, Foothill College and Fresno City College to take the Sasha Brown Memorial Classic title.

Willis, a freshmen guard, contributed in all three games, scoring 10 points against Redwoods, nine points in the win over Foothill, and chipping in 12 points in the victory over Fresno City.

Sierra College teammate Alyssa Pulkinghorn, a 2017 Bear River graduate, played in one game, scoring 11 points and hitting three 3-pointers in the win over Redwoods.

The Wolverines also won the Mission College Tournament this season and are 6-0 overall this season. Sierra College competes in the CCCAA’s Big 8 Conference.


Nora Pizzella, a 2016 Nevada Union graduate, and the Chico State women’s cross country team placed fourth at the NCAA Division II Championships Saturday in Evansville, Indiana.

Pizzella, a sophomore, was the sixth Chico State runner to finish, finishing 103rd out of 247 in the 6K race with a time of 22 minutes, 32.3 seconds.

It was the third straight year the Wildcats have placed fourth at the D-II championships.


Tanner Vallejo, a 2013 Nevada Union graduate, and the Buffalo Bills (5-5) lost their third straight, falling to the Los Angeles Chargers, 54-24,

Vallejo, a 6-foot, 1-inch, 228-pound rookie linebacker, played on special teams in the loss.

Vallejo has played in nine of the Bills’ 10 games this season and has notched two tackles on the year.

Vallejo was drafted by the Bills in the sixth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.


Alex Cook, a 2017 Nevada Union graduate, and the Sierra College Wolverines volleyball team made it 11-straight wins after topping San-Joaquin Delta College in the regular season finale.

Cook, a freshmen setter, doled out 52 assists and notched 17 digs in the win.

For the season, Cook leads her team in assists with 894.

Sierra College (23-3, 15-1) plays in the California Community College Athletic Association’s Big 8 Conference and opens the North Regional Playoffs against Foothill College today.


Will Sumner, a 2014 Nevada Union graduate, and the Utah Valley University wrestling team put forth a strong effort on the mat at the North Carolina State Wolfpack Open.

Sumner, a junior in the 184-pound class, went 3-1 across four matches at the tourney and took third place in his weight class.

In the third place bout, Sumner outscored his opponent from Campbell University 16-0 and earned a technical fall.

Utah Valley took third place as a team as well.

Utah Valley University is a Division I school that competes in the Big 12.

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

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