The Napa Valley Register announced its 2018-19 All-County Athletes of the Year last week and several St. Helena High standouts were named finalists for the male and female awards.
Saints junior Cody DiTomaso was named a finalist on boys side.
He led the football team with 877 yards rushing with 10 touchdown runs and was one of the top tacklers for the Saints, who finished fourth in league and won a playoff game to finish 7-5. In track and field, he anchored the 4x100 relay team that set the school record of 43.54 seconds at the North Coast Section Class A Championships, and posted personal records in the 100 (11.59) and 200 (22.87) at earlier meets.
On the girls side, sophomore Harper McClain was also named a finalist.
She capped her first season of track and field with a seventh-place finish at the state meet in the 3200 meters. She’s only the second girl from St. Helena to reach the state meet, and the first Saint since Brian Cole in 2007. Her personal-best time of 10 minutes, 29.68 seconds was the sixth-fastest ever by a girl in Redwood Empire history, improving on her own school record. She also owns the school records in the girls 1600 and 800.
The 2018-19 Female Athletes of the Year award was given to the 2018 Calistoga High volleyball team, which won the first section title in a girls sport in school history last fall.
The Male Athlete of the Year was Vintage senior Jacob Aaron, who not only quarterbacked the 10-2 Crushers in the fall but was one of the top golfers in the area in the spring. He placed first at the North Coast Section Div. 1 Championships in May.
Here are the other finalists:
Brock Bowers, Napa sophomore
An All-Napa County Offensive Player of the Year finalist in football, he has already received multiple offers from NCAA Division I schools despite being on a winless team last fall. He put that 0-10 season behind him over the winter, however, by helping lead the Grizzlies’ boys basketball team to its first league title since 1991 with a 12-0 VVAL mark and earning Offensive Player of the Year honors on the court as well.
Christian Caldera, Calistoga freshman
As if starting at quarterback and safety for the football team wasn’t enough to keep him busy last fall, he also played for the Wildcats’ soccer team and scored 14 goals. He was the football team’s second-leading rusher, threw for 12 touchdowns, led the defense in interceptions and had three pick-sixes, punted, and returned three punts and three kickoffs to the house. He then started at point guard for the basketball team and led the Wildcats to their first playoff appearance in 12 years, becoming their only all-league first team selection. This spring, he started at shortstop.
Oscar Loyola, Vintage senior
He became the first boys soccer player in a decade to be named Napa County Player of the Year in back-to-back years. Despite moving from the Monticello Empire League to the new Vine Valley Athletic League between those seasons, he upped his 21 goals of 2017-18 to 22 goals in 2018-19. He also led the fifth-seeded Crushers to a North Coast Section quarterfinal upset of No. 4 San Ramon Valley. A 1-0 semifinal loss capped an otherwise impressive 20-2-2 season.
Zach Swim, Napa senior
One of the more amazing stories of the year was how his boys basketball team went 12-0 in the Vine Valley Athletic League, winning their program’s first league title since his father’s 1990-91 team. The 6-foot-4 combo forward averaged 16.5 points, 7.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 steals per game. He was named Napa County Player of the Year – the first Napa High player to be honored as such in 14 years.
Alyssa Andrews, Vintage senior
After leading the Crushers to their first Monticello Empire League title in 33 seasons and first playoff berth in 11 years as a junior, she helped them win the Vine Valley Athletic League crown this year while setting Vintage scoring records for points in a season (428) and career (1,349), and was named All-County Player of the Year. This all came after she played her third season of varsity volleyball in the fall, helping the Crushers finish second in the VVAL after fourth- and second-place finishes in the MEL.
Mary Deeik, Vintage sophomore
After reaching the cross country state meet, starting on the varsity soccer team and qualifying for the track and field section meet as a freshman, she did it all again. In November, leading the Vintage girls to their first-ever state meet as a team, Deeik placed 25th out of 203 Division II girls in 18:28.7. Over the winter, she scored four goals to help the soccer team triple its win total of the year before. In the spring, she finished 12th at the North Coast Section Meet of Champions in the 3200 meters in 11:19.57.
Caitlyn Newburn, Napa freshman
The 2019 Napa County Player of the Year had committed to UCLA before seeing her first high school pitch. Unfazed by expectations, the catcher smacked 11 home runs and amassed 33 RBIs while notching a .759 on-base and 2.145 on-base-plus-slugging percentages from the leadoff spot. She finished the season ranked No. 18 prospect in the nation for the class of 2022 by Extra Inning Softball after helping lead her team to the Vine Valley Athletic League title and the second round of the NCS playoffs.
Julia Sangiacomo, Justin-Siena senior
The 6-foot-3 outside hitter was named All-Napa County Volleyball Player of the Year for the third year in a row after leading the Braves to the Vine Valley Athletic League title with an 11-1 record, and to the North Coast Section Division 4 semifinals and Division 3 Northern California playoffs. Headed to Santa Clara University on a Division I athletic scholarship, her 563 kills ranked her No. 1 in the NCS, ninth in California, and 90th in the country.