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Napa Valley Up & Comers: Humphries, Vavricka, McDaniel can’t wait
Up & Comers

Napa Valley Up & Comers: Humphries, Vavricka, McDaniel can’t wait


The Register sports staff has turned its attention to the Napa County student-athletes who are returning to play sports in 2020-21.

Per youth sports guidelines issued by the California Department of Public Health on Dec. 14, the first seasons of 2020-21 high school sports — cross country, football, volleyball and water polo — are now scheduled to begin Jan. 25 and last into April. The rest of the sports — badminton, baseball, basketball, golf, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming and diving, tennis, track and field, and wrestling — are slated to start in March and run into June.

With that in mind, we continue our Up & Comers series, which highlights rising stars and players to watch for when their long waits are finally over.

Our 80th edition features Wyatt Humphries of Justin-Siena, Olivia Vavricka of Napa High, and Gianna McDaniel of Vintage.

Wyatt Humphries

School: Justin-Siena

Class of: 2021

Sports: Football, basketball

The 6-foot-1, 190-pound Humphries will be one of six returning linemen for the Braves looking to fill spots vacated by their senior-dominated front last season. He’ll be charged with protecting a backfield led by prolific passer Hudson Beers and bruising running back Noah Young.

Humphries also hopes to see more minutes on the basketball court after coming off the bench last winter. The Braves tied for fifth place with Napa and Casa Grande last season but graduated only two players, so minutes are up for grabs this spring.

Gianna McDaniel

School: Vintage

Class of: 2022

Sports: Basketball

The 5-foot-5 sophomore looked plenty ready for the varsity game after helping lead the junior varsity Crushers with about 12 points per game as they turned in an impressive 23-2 season last winter under coach Randy Pridmore.

Her biggest scoring outputs were 23 points in a win over Justin-Siena and 22 in a Big Game victory over Napa High.

Olivia Vavricka

School: Napa High

Class of: 2021

Sports: Volleyball, softball

She was a defensive specialist for the volleyball team, which went 5-10 in the Vine Valley Athletic League to finish fifth. She is expected to be among nine returning players for the Grizzlies this year.

During the pandemic-shortened, four-game softball season, Vavricka was 2 of 7 with an RBI. She also made a pitching appearance against Benicia, going two-thirds of an inning.

With three years of Napa Valley Girls Fastpitch Association softball experience under her belt, Vavricka will look to be a senior leader this year.


Andy Wilcox's favorite Napa Valley Register sports stories of 2020

Napa Valley Register sports editor Andy Wilcox picks his most-memorable sports stories of 2020.

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Sports Reporter

Andy Wilcox is a sportswriter-photographer for the Napa Valley Register. He's had similar roles in Walnut Creek, Grass Valley, Auburn, Tracy and Patterson. He grew up in Ohio. His wife, Laura, is a pastry chef. He also enjoys playing guitar and piano.

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