ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: Nevada Union grad David Christal helps Team Sacto to runner up finish at Beach Soccer National Championships | TheUnion.com

ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: Nevada Union grad David Christal helps Team Sacto to runner up finish at Beach Soccer National Championships

David Christal has been playing soccer for much of his life. Growing up he competed for youth club teams and in high school he was a captain for the Nevada Union High School squad. It’s only been in the past few years he’s taken his game from the turf to the beach and done so with great success.

“I’ve played soccer all my life and that’s been on a turf field. It’s easy to move the ball around,” said Christal, a 2018 Nevada Union graduate. “Sand soccer is completely different. You can’t dribble with ease, you can’t pass with ease. Everything has to be done in the air, so it takes a lot more touch, a lot more thought with every movement.”

Christal joined Team Sacto in 2017 and in his very first tourney helped the team win the Stinson Beach Challenge in San Francisco.

Most recently, Christal and Team Sacto took to the sand in San Diego and placed second in the Pro/Am Coed Division at the US Beach National Championships Dec. 8.

“We did amazing,” said Christal. “We should have taken first place, but just couldn’t pull it off in the last minute. We definitely had the ability to win, we were just a little unfortunate in the end.”

After sweeping through the round-robin portion of the tourney with a 4-0 record, Team Sacto was awarded the No. 1 seed. They edged past a squad from Santa Cruz, 5-4, in the semifinals to reach the championship.

In the finale, Christal and team Sacto came up just short of victory, falling in overtime when their opponent from the Bay Area scored on a penalty kick.

“Everyone on the team fought their hardest,” said Christal. “Even though we got second place, we left everything out there.”

Christal said he plans to keep competing with Team Sacto in the future, and expects to be competing in a couple summer tourneys.

Christal, who currently attends Sierra College, expressed gratitude for his father, Neil Christal.

“The only reason I’m able to do this is because of my father, and all his support.”

PRO FOOTBALL

Tanner Vallejo helped his new team beat his old team.

Vallejo, a 2013 Nevada Union graduate, tallied two tackles, including one for a loss in the Arizona Cardinals, 38-24, victory over the Cleveland Browns on Sunday.

After a playing in 13 games for the 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, but was waived ahead of the start of regular season play. He 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. The third year pro then once again found a spot with the Cardinals, joining their practice squad Nov. 20 and eventually being added to the 53-man roster.

Since returning to the Cardinals, the 6-foot, 1-inch, 230-pound inside linebacker has played in two games and notched seven tackles, including a sack and a forced fumble.

Next up for Vallejo and the Cardinals is a game against the Seattle Seahawks.

MEN’S COLLEGE BASKETBALL

David O’Looney, a 2019 Nevada Union graduate, and the American River College Beavers split a pair of games last week, beating Laney College, 81-54, and falling to Chabot College, 83-73.

O’Looney, a freshman forward, tallied 11 points and pulled down nine rebounds in the win over Laney, and had nine points and nine rebounds against Chabot.

For the season, O’Looney is averaging 8.4 points and 7.4 rebounds per game.

American River (5-4) 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 dropped their only contest last week, losing to Antelope Valley College, 88-79.

Willis, a junior guard, scored 21 points, grabbed seven rebounds and nabbed two steals in the loss. For the year, Willis is averaging 12.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game.

William Jessup (7-4) is a NAIA 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.


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