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 46th edition features Ian Clark of Napa, Lexi Rosenbrand of Justin-Siena and Sofia Cupp of St. Helena.
Class of: 2021
Sports: Soccer, golf
Clark emerged as one of the best offensive players in the Vine Valley Athletic League in his stellar junior season.
The Grizzlies finished their 2019-20 campaign 13-8-1 overall and second place in the VVAL at 9-3. They scored 59 goals on the year, second in the VVAL to only league-champion Vintage, which tallied 65.
The play of Clark was a big reason for Napa’s success on the offensive end. He led the team in goals scored with 10.
Among his standout games, Clark scored Napa’s only goal in its 4-1 playoff loss to Monte Vista and scored twice in Napa’s 10-1 rout of Vacaville. Arguably his best individual performance came in league play against Sonoma Valley when he had recorded a hat trick in a 6-1 win over the Dragons.
For his prowess finding the back of the net, Clark was named a finalist for the County Boys Soccer Offensive Player of the Year award.
“He was a key to our success with the challenging schedule we set up, and a great student-athlete,” said Napa High boys soccer head coach Rafael Ayala, adding Clark carries a 4.75 GPA.
Clark also plays for Napa High’s boys golf team.
Class of: 2021
No player in Justin-Siena girls basketball program has appeared in more games over the last three years than Rosenbrand.
Out of the 81 games the Braves have played since the start of the 2017-18 season, Rosenbrand, who will be entering her fourth year as a varsity player this upcoming season, has played in 73 of them.
This past winter as a junior, she started in 25 of the Braves’ 26 games and finished third on the team in scoring. On the year she averaged 4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game and was tied for the team lead with 14 made three-pointers.
She also had the best plus-minus – points scored versus points allowed while she was on the floor – of the Braves’ top seven players in terms of minutes played. Additionally, she set her career-best mark in single-game scoring last season by scoring 12 points in a 40-28 win over Kelseyville early in the year.
“Lexi was very strong defensively this year, and while her game can’t be quantified in statistics, she was a major contributor on both ends of the floor,” Justin-Siena girls basketball head coach Andy Bettencourt said.
Rosenbrand was also a finalist for the County Girls Basketball Defensive Player of the Year award.
School: St. Helena
Class of: 2023
Sports: Basketball, softball
Cupp, now a sophomore, is one of the rising athletes at St. Helena.
As a member of the Saints girls varsity basketball team, she finished third on the team in scoring (minimum 10 games played). She appeared in 17 of their 26 games and averaged 2.7 points and 1.9 rebounds per contest.
While the Saints had another down year, the play of Cupp as a freshman was encouraging and it appears she’ll be a factor on the hardwood for next couple years.
Cupp was also an impressive member of the young St. Helena varsity softball team. As one of five freshman that made varsity in the spring, Cupp was leading the team with a .444 batting average. She had 4 singles, 4 RBI, 5 runs scored and a team-best .583 on-base percentage in the three games she played in before the season was cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cupp was likely going to be among those in the running for the County Softball Newcomer of the Year award had the season continued. But based on what she’s shown in her brief high school career so far, it’s likely this won’t be the last time she’s contending for a season award.
Watch Now: How to prepare your home for fall
Contact Gus via phone at 707-304-9372 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @JustGusMorris.
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