Alumni Notebook: Virva swims to 1st place finish at UNLV Invitational |

Alumni Notebook: Virva swims to 1st place finish at UNLV Invitational

Dillon Virva propels through the swimming pool for the Rebels in a race at the UNLV Fall Invitational held last week in Las Vegas.
Submitted by Diane von Wedel | Submitted by Diane von Wedel

Dillon Virva, a 2013 Nevada Union graduate and swimmer for the University of Nevada Las Vegas Rebels, stroked his way to another first-place finish in the 50- yard freestyle in the UNLV Fall Invitational this past week.

The sophomore sensation, who is now ranked No. 2 in the nation in the 50 free, turned in a time of 19.46 seconds in the Thursday morning prelims to lead all competitors. He later led off the 200 free relay at night with a 19.53 and came back for his individual event and zipped through the pool in 19.36 to win the final. The victory came .35 ahead of Stanford’s Dave Nolan. The win also gives Virva a top seed at the 2014 NCAA Championships. He briefly held the No. 1 ranking before all the nation’s invites had completed. In the meet’s final event Saturday, Virva helped his squad to a first-place finish in the 400 free relay with a time of 2:55.06. The superstar swimmer also took third place in the 100 free event with a time of 44.23, which was just .41 seconds off the lead.

Overall, the UNLV men’s team took second place behind No. 5 ranked Stanford, 1262-748. However, the Rebels did beat out the University of Wyoming, Arizona State University, UC Santa Barbara and Brigham Young University. UNLV’s next meet comes Jan. 11 at UC Santa Barbara.


Cole Stanford (Nevada Union, ’09); Cal Poly — Stanford and the Mustangs stormed past Northern Colorado for a 42-14 victory Saturday to finish in a four-way tie for fourth place in the Big Sky Conference.

The senior captain had one carry for six yards and the offense racked up 466 total yards for the game. The Mustangs outscored Northern Colorado 21-0 in the second quarter and never trailed.

Stanford finished the season as the team’s leading receiver with 25 catches for 354 yards and four touchdowns. He also carried the ball 14 times for 53 yards and a touchdown.

Dan Pettinato (Nevada Union ’10); University of Arizona — Pettinato and the Wildcats stunned the No. 5 ranked Oregon Ducks in the desert Saturday in a 42-16 rout.

The senior defensive lineman wrapped up one solo tackle while the defense allowed 506 yards of total offense and snatched a pair of interceptions. Arizona never allowed Oregon to get into any offensive rhythm and the Ducks came up empty on several visits into the red zone as it went 1-of-5 on field goal attempts for the game.The Wildcats (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) close out the regular season at rival Arizona State.

Tanner Vallejo (Nevada Union, ’13); Boise State — Vallejo and the Broncos suffered a heartbreaking 34-31 overtime loss against San Diego State Saturday.

The freshman linebacker wrapped up eight tackles, including one for a loss of two yards. Boise State held San Diego State to 8-of-19 on its third-down conversions, but the Aztecs made were 3-of-4 on its fourth-down tries. The game was tight all the way to the finish as neither team could open a two-score advantage. The Broncos answered in the first OT period with a field goal, but San Diego State scored a touchdown on its possession for the win.

Boise State (7-4, 5-2 Mountain West Conference) falls to second in the standings with the loss and hosts New Mexico in its season finale.

Cole Hannum (Nevada Union, ’13); Sacramento State— Hannum and the Hornets lost 34-7 against UC Davis in the Causeway Classic held at the Aggies’ home field Saturday.

Hannum wrapped up two tackles from his linebacker position and broke up a pass as the defense allowed 400 total yards of offense. The Hornets’ offense struggled as well and didn’t get on the board until late in the second quarter with a 4-yard run to cap off a 74-yard scoring drive. It would be their only points of the game.

The Hornets (5-7) head into the offseason and will retool for next year. Hannum made appearances in all 12 games this season and wrapped up 14 tackles.


Josh Ritchart (Forest Lake Christian, ‘10); UC Davis — Ritchart and the Aggies went 2-1 this past week at the Portland State Tournament, defeating Southern Illinois University Edwardsville and Loyola before losing the tourney finale against host Portland State.

The 6-foot, 9-inch senior started at forward and dropped in a game-high 35 points in a 80-75 victory over SIUE on Friday. He was 12-of-14 shooting from the floor, including 3-of-3 behind the arc and also had 13 rebounds, two assists, two blocks and two steals. In a 64-61 overtime win against Loyola Marymount on Saturday, Ritchart contributed nine points and was 4-of-8 shooting with nine boards, an assist, a block and a steal. In the finale Sunday afternoon versus Portland State, the Aggies fell 79-63 and Ritchart tossed in 17 points while shooting 7-of-12 from the floor. He added seven boards, a block and an assist, but overall the team shot just 38 percent and Portland State knocked down 48 percent of its shots as it dominated most of the game.

UC Davis (3-3) hits the court again Tuesday when it hosts Sacramento State.

Marc Hopkinson (Nevada Union, ‘10) Tabor College (Hillsboro, Kansas) — Hopkinson and the Bluejays split a pair of games last week, losing to William Penn University and defeating Johnson & Wales University.

Hopkinson, a senior guard, contributed 11 points off the bench in the team’s 92-82 loss against William Penn University on Friday. He stepped up to drain 2-of-3 from beyond the arc and also added a rebound and a steal. In Saturday’s game, a 87-72 victory over Johnson & Wales, Hopkinson scored one basket goof for two points to go along with his board and pair of assists.

The Bluejays (4-3) play at Washburn University Tuesday.


Rachel Hadley (Nevada Union, ’13); Cal State San Marcos — Hadley and the Lady Cougars saw their remarkable season come to an end Saturday in the opening round of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics’ national Tournament as they fell to master’s College in straight sets, 27-25, 28-26, 25-22.

Hadley, a freshman outside hitter, played in all three games and tallied seven digs. The Lady Cougars fought valiantly and contested every game to the finish but came up just short each time. They responded well after dropping Game 1 and jumped out to an 8-1 lead in Game 2 before Master’s went on an 11-3 run, and again they went up 5-1 in the third set but Master’s overcame that deficit as well.

Cal State San Marcos ended its campaign with a 26-12 record, and capped off their third appearance in the NAIA National Tournament in just as many years. Hadely concluded her collegiate debut with 92 kills, 133 digs and 19 blocks.


Emilie Arnoldi (Nevada Union, ‘13); Santa Barbara City College — Last week the Lady Vaqueros won the State Championship at the Tracy Country Club as they edged out Cal State Fullerton by four strokes, 646-650.

Arnoldi contributed to the team’s success early on but missed the second half of the year with an injury. She played in five tournaments and helped the Lady Vaqueros to two first place finishes and three second place finishes. Her return next season will be much welcomed.

The State title is Santa Barbara’s third in the last eight seasons and team-leader Fanny Johansson also grabbed the individual title.

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

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