ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: NU grads battle through injuries at conference championships |

ALUMNI NOTEBOOK: NU grads battle through injuries at conference championships

Nadia Torkman, a Nevada Union graduate and member of the Chico State track and field team, finished 11th in the javelin and tied for seventh in the high jump at the CCAA Championships
Photo by Brian O’Brien

Nevada Union alumnae Melanie O’Brien (2014) and Nadia Torkman (2016) concluded the track and field season this past weekend at the CCAA Conference Championships held at California State University Stanislaus in Turlock. 

For O’Brien this was her last CCAA championship meet. The Chico State senior ends a successful career which saw her set an all-time freshman record in the heptathlon as well as a spot on the school’s all-time top-10 list in the heptathlon.

“It was a tough end to the season this year” said O’Brien, referring to having been hampered by a hamstring injury which kept her out of the heptathlon in conference. “I really wanted to make it back for the hep in conference but am glad I was able to compete in the javelin and high jump.”

Having to abandon the high jump competition after clearing her first two heights due to the scheduling overlap, O’Brien was whisked away to the javelin track outside the arena several hundred yards away. O’Brien responded by making the finals and finishing fifth overall with a personal best heave of 119-feet, 8-inches. 

Torkman, who has been battling a foot injury of her own, was also held out of the heptathlon to compete in the high jump and javelin. Torkman finished 11th in the javelin with a throw of 102-8 and tied for seventh in the high jump with a leap of 5-2 1/4. O’Brien cleared 5-1/4 and tied for ninth before having to leave the competition. 

When asked what next year held, Torkman said, “the (heptathlon)… I look forward to being healthy and competing in the heptathlon again.”

O’Brien reflected on the past four years.

“I have made so many friends and experiences through track and the Wildcat family,” O’Brien said. “It will be a part of me my entire life.”

The Chico State women’s track and field team finished third overall in the CCAA Conference Championships team standings.


Matt Lopez, a 2016 Bear River graduate, and the No . 2 seed Sierra College baseball team took two out of three from No. 14 Butte College to advance through the regional round of the playoffs.

Lopez was especially impressive in the third and decisive game. The freshman first baseman hit three-run home runs in the first and second innings to power the Wolverines to a 15-4 victory.

Across the three-game series, Lopez was 4-for-12 with two home runs and six RBIs.

For the season, Lopez is batting .367 with nine home runs, 44 RBIs and 46 runs scored.

Sierra (32-10, 19-5) will now take on No. 8 Mission College (27-15) in the Northern Super Regional. Sierra starts the best of three series Friday at home.

Jakob Freele, a 2014 Nevada Union graduate, and the Northland College Lumberjacks won a pair of games against Martin Luther College and dropped a pair to Bethany Lutheran College over the weekend.

Freele, a senior center fielder and team captain, played in three of the four games, going 5-for-13 from the plate with three walks, six runs scored and four RBIs. For the season, Freele is batting .250 with a team-highs in hits (26), runs scored (26) and stolen bases (6).

Northland (10-23, 4-3) is a Division III school that competes in the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference.


Mikayla Laymance, a 2015 Bear River graduate, and the William Jessup University Warriors went 2-2 at the Golden State Athletic Conference Softball Championship Tournament last week, beating Vanguard University twice, and losing to Hope International University twice.

Laymance, a junior catcher, played in all four games, but did not log an at-bat.

William Jessup (31-16) finishes the regular season with the most wins in school history and will be seeking an at-large bid to the NAIA Tournament. Brackets will be announced today.


Emily Blakewell, a Bear River graduate, recently wrapped up her freshman season with the Seattle University Swim Team.

Blakewell, who specializes in the butterfly and individual medley events, was selected for her team’s Coaches’ Award, which goes to the swimmer or swimmers who exemplify being a teammate, team member and leader.

Jack Baldoni, a Colfax graduate, is a senior on the Seattle University swim squad and was named MVP of the men’s team.

Have we missed anyone? If you know of a college or professional athlete with local ties, email or call 530-477-4232. Brian O’Brien contributed to this article.

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