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Napa Valley Up & Comers: Leon, Skille and Griffin ready to return to action
Up & Comers

Napa Valley Up & Comers: Leon, Skille and Griffin ready to return to action

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With the 2019-2020 school year in our rear-view mirror, The Register sports staff has turned its attention to the Napa County student-athletes that are returning to play sports in 2020-21.

Per announcements from the California Interscholastic Federation and North Coast Section in late July, the fall season for high school sports in the 2020-21 school year is now scheduled to begin in December and January with the rest of the sports slated to start in February and March to help stop the community spread of the coronavirus.

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 41st edition features Salvador Leon of Napa High, Lea Skille of Vintage, and Charmaine Griffin of Justin-Siena.

Salvador Leon

School: Napa High

Class of: 2021

Sport: Soccer

Leon will be one of the top returning soccer players in the county this upcoming season.

As the center back on a three-player back line and a team captain for the Grizzlies, Leon “was the heart and soul of our team,” said Napa High head coach Rafael Ayala. Napa allowed only nine goals during a 9-3 league season in the Vine Valley Athletic League and Leon was named the VVAL’s Most Valuable Player by the league’s other head coaches.

“Salvador led his team through probably the toughest preseason in the county, with key victories over Wood and Armijo, a tie with St. Ignatius, and respectable losses to St. Francis, Saint Mary’s, University and Montgomery – all playoff teams and/or section champions,” Ayala said. :He has great character and he’s a great student (4.3 GPA) and person.”

Leon was also one of five players named as a finalist for the County Boys Soccer Player of the Year award, an honor he’s sure to be in the running for again this season.

Lea Skille

School: Vintage

Class of: 2021

Sport: Water polo

Skille was one of four Crushers to be named to the All-County Girls Water Polo team this past season.

As a junior, she had 42 steals, 15 assists, 5 goals and 3 caused kickouts for Vintage.

“Lea is a skilled lefty and a dedicated all-around athlete,” head coach Sarah Tinloy said. “She is always willing to try new plays and gives it her all in every situation. Her teammates and coaches know they can always rely on her to work hard while staying positive and motivating. We’re very lucky to have her on the team.”

Look for her to reprise her role as a solid all-around contributor as a senior this upcoming season.

Charmaine Griffin

School: Justin-Siena

Class of: 2022

Sport: Basketball

Griffin showcased her skills as a varsity athlete for the first time last year for the Braves on the hardcourt.

As a sophomore, she was the team’s second-leading scorer with 5.5 points per game. She also led the team in assists with 1.5 per game and averaged 3.8 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game.

She scored in double figures four times, including a season-high 15 against Dixon. She also and was one of the better defenders on a team that was third in the Vine Valley Athletic League in fewest points allowed.

To cap off her sophomore year, Griffin was named a finalist for the County Girls Basketball Newcomer of the Year award. The Braves were a young team last year but are positioned to return a majority of their team for the 2020-21 season.

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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

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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