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 33rd edition features Madisyn Flohr of Vintage, Zakary Raymond of American Canyon and Daphne Steele of St. Helena.
Class of: 2022
Sports: Volleyball, soccer
The Vintage volleyball program just saw outside hitter Maddie Klungel graduate after four varsity seasons and now has two more years with outside hitter Maddie Flohr, who has also been on the varsity since her freshman year.
Flohr had eight kills in four-set wins over Justin-Siena and Sonoma Valley last fall, helping the Crushers share the Vine Valley Athletic League title with Sonoma Valley at 10-2 and finish 18-10 overall. She may get more sets to hit without Klungel this season. But she’s also one of the team’s best servers and passers, having had 17 digs in a match last year.
“This year she’s shown an interest in being a libero, which would be awesome because we need somebody in that position,” volleyball head coach Kelly Porter said. “She’s really strong at reading, seeing where the hitters are, and lining up. It comes naturally for her. She has a great nose for the ball.”
Flohr is a rarity, an athlete who started playing varsity as a freshman in two sports at a large school.
“She excels in soccer and volleyball and she’s a great kid,” Porter said. “I worked with her even when she was in middle school, and she did some Evolve (Volleyball Club) clinics for us. I watched her grow up, and her older siblings, David (Munk) and Christopher (Munk) went to my pre-school. I’ve known Cheri a long, long time.”
That’s Flohr’s mother, Browns Valley Elementary School Principal Cheri Flohr, who was known as Cheri Munk when she was Vintage’s volleyball head coach from 1996-99. Over those four seasons, the Crushers were a combined 40-18 in Monticello Empire League play. When she was named 1998 Napa County Coach of the Year, her write-up read that “Her patient, confident style was the perfect fit for a team with 10 juniors and one sophomore that had won a share of the JV title the year before. Her rotation of hitters kept all her players fresh and playing their best.” She was Cheri Agnew when she played volleyball for Napa High, and took her current name when she married then-Vintage boys basketball head coach Mike Flohr in 2002.
Porter, who was coaching Justin-Siena when Flohr’s mother coached at Vintage, said Maddie is “very athletic, super competitive, and she wants to make her teammates happy and keep the peace. She has a ‘let’s just play’ attitude. She’s intense. She can also have fun and smile, but she can be hard on herself if she’s not performing to the level she likes to be performing at.
“As a freshman coming onto a varsity team, she was very well liked. A lot of time when that happens, a lot of the older players don’t look at them with respect, but they really wanted her to be on the team.”
So did girls soccer head coach Miguel Ayala. Flohr was the only freshman on his varsity squad in 2018-19. As a sophomore, Flohr had a handful of goals and assists in helping the Crushers go 4-4-4 in the VVAL and 8-10-4 overall.
“Maddie had a great volleyball season and you can tell that her confidence level is up from last year,” Ayala said early in the season. “Physically she’s gifted, a big, strong, fast girl, and you can tell she’s got a different demeanor about herself.”
School: American Canyon
Class of: 2022
Raymond will be one of the Wolves’ top returners after qualifying for the North Coast Section Championships at 120 pounds as a sophomore. He went 2-2 in the meet at James Logan High in Union City, losing a 9-7 decision to the eventual sixth-placer and winning 5-2 and 8-2 decisions before getting pinned in the second period.
He earned the trip by winning his weight class at the Vine Valley Athletic League Championships at American Canyon.
“Zakary had to defeat two top-seeded opponents to earn all-league honors,” Wolves head coach Rick Manibusan said.
Raymond dropped a weight class for the postseason from 126 pounds, where he had placed second in the New Year’s Eve Reversal and Takedown Tournament at Pinole Valley.
School: St. Helena
Class of: 2021
Steele, who led the Saints with 9.4 points per game last winter, should return with two other seniors in the spring to help St. Helena bounce back from a 2-24 campaign.
A strong 3-point shooter, Steele made 22 of 66 treys on the season. She scored a season-high 26 points against Roseland University Prep in mid-December four days after hitting 21 in a win over Winters.
She scored in the teens in five other games for St. Helena, which was 0-14 in North Central League I play.
Watch now: Satellite shows lightning and wildfires in California
Get in the game with our Prep Sports Newsletter
Sent weekly directly to your inbox!