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Weekly Calistogan's Top Sports Stories of 2010-2019
Weekly Calistogan Top Sports Stories of 2010-2019

Weekly Calistogan's Top Sports Stories of 2010-2019

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Where has the time gone?

2019 has now come to a close, bringing with it the end of the 2010s.

And as if picking the best sports stories from the last year wasn’t difficult enough, the Calistogan staff decided to go back and look at the most memorable stories from the past decade and tried to compile them as best we could.

Here’s what we thought were the most memorable sports stories from 2010 to 2019.

2011: Taylor one

of the bestNicole Taylor, a 2011 Calistoga High graduate, closed out an impressive athletic career with a near-perfect pitching performance. The three-sport athlete led the varsity softball team to a league championship from the mound, threw nine shutouts with a .44 earned run average, struck out 174 batters and walked only 19.

Offensively, she also posted a .633 batting average with 39 runs batted in.

She was not only named the Napa County Pitcher of the Year but also the North Central League II-South Most Valuable Player. She also received the Calistoga Funke Blanket award and got a nod on the Cal-Hi Sports All-State softball team for small schools.

She was also a finalist for the All-Napa County Athlete of the Year for her exploits as a volleyball and basketball player.

2013: New gymIn 2012, the Calistoga Joint Unified School District continued its proposed 12-year renovation program, funded by $42 million worth of bonds approved by voters last fall and known as Measure A, by upgrading the school’s gymnasium.

Now simply called “the big gym,” the updated facilities were officially put to use for the first time in December 2013.

2013: Football team wins league title Still playing as a 12-man team, the Wildcats won a share of the North Central League II/Bay Football League title, the program’s first league title since 1997.

Had the Wildcats not had their 8-0 season spoiled by St. Vincent, 27-14, in their league finale, they would have also clinched their first undefeated season since 1986.

Calistoga went on to earn the 6 seed in the North Coast Section Division 7 playoffs but fell in the opening round to 3 seed Ferndale, 50-28, to finish the season 8-2, the most wins the program has had in a season all decade.

2015: Rojas-Mendoza makes it to Junior Olympic nationalsIn a 2015, Jesus Rojas-Mendoza, then 14, entered a regional Junior Olympic meet, placed fifth, advance to a national-qualifier, placed fifth again, and earned a spot at the national championships in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Mendoza, thanks an outpouring of support from the community, quickly raised the money he needed to make the trip .

Mendoza finished the 4K race in 14 minutes, 59 seconds, good for 84th place overall. He was also the 17th-best finisher from California.

2015: Football

moves to 8-manDue to shrinking numbers and an unstable league, the Calistoga football team went from playing 12-man football to 8-man.

Numerous other school that Calistoga now sees regularly made the change as well for similar reasons. The decision was officially made in December of 2014. The Wildcats went 6-2 their first year as an 8-man team in 2015 and have had a positive record every season since.

2016: Vermeil visits, Calistoga receives two golden footballsAs part of the buildup to Super Bowl 50 in the Bay Area, the NFL launched the Super Bowl High School Honor Roll initiative, which recognized schools and towns that played a part in Super Bowl history.

More than 2,000 high schools around the world received commemorative Wilson Golden Footballs for each player or coach who was on an active Super Bowl roster.

Calistoga received two. One was to honor legendary alum Dick Vermeil, who won a Super Bowl as head coach of the St. Louis Rams in 2000, and the other for his nephew Louie Giammona, who also played in the NFL.

Vermeil commemorated the arrival of the footballs on campus with a visit, delivering an impassioned and motivating speech to the student body during a rally.

2017: Wildfires shut

down local sportsIn fall of 2017, regular life in Calistoga was brought to a standstill for weeks due to the deadly Tubbs Fire.

Even after the town was repopulated from a mandatory evacuation, air quality was poor and forced residents to take shelter indoors until the fires were put out. This also forced the cancellation of multiple prep football, volleyball and soccer game as well as cross country meets.

2018: Volleyball wins

first girls section titleThe 2018 Calistoga volleyball team will go down as one of the best teams in Calistoga High history. The Wildcats made an underdog run to capture the Division 6 NCS volleyball title, the first section title for a girls sport in school history.

As the 8 seed in the playoffs, the Wildcats upset 1 seed Fremont Christian, 3-1, and 4 seed St. Bernard’s, 3-1, on the road before defeating 10 seed Jewish Community, 3-1, in front a capacity crowd at Calistoga High.

The Wildcats also earned the first NorCal bid in program history.

2019: Girls basketball makes NorCalsComing on the heels of the volleyball team’s Cinderella run to a section title, the Calistoga girls basketball team also went on the deepest postseason run in program history.

With a roster of most of the same players from volleyball, the Wildcats went 15-12 overall and were named the 5 seed for the NCS playoffs, beating 13 seed Mendocino, 51-41, in their opener then rallying to defeat 4 seed El Sobrante Christian, 57-52, on the road to reach the semifinals.

Reaching the semis earned them a trip to the NorCal playoffs for the first time ever.

2019: Boys basketball breaks 12-year playoff droughtWhile the girls put together their best season in program history, the boys also had their most successful season on the hardwood in recent memory.

They snapped a 12-year playoff drought, going 11-15 overall and earning the 15 seed in the NCS playoffs.

While they too were dealt a first-round exit, falling to 2 seed Jewish Community, 65-19, coaches and players on the team felt that reaching the playoffs would inject some much-needed energy back into the program.

Former Upvalley sports reporters Yousef Baig, Vince D’Adamo and Jess Landers contributed to this story.

Contact Gus via phone at 707-304-9372 or email at gmorris@napanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustGusMorris.

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Sports Reporter

Gus Morris covers St. Helena and Calistoga sports for the Napa Valley Register. Before joining the Register in 2018, he covered collegiate sports for the student publication at the University of Oregon.

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