The Register sports staff has turned its attention to the Napa County student-athletes who are returning to play sports in 2020-21.
The North Coast Section Board of Managers — which include athletic directors Jill Stewart of American Canyon and Tom Hoppe of St. Helena — voted Friday to allow all sports except football to start this Monday, Feb. 1 and end by June 12, and for football to start Feb. 1 and end by April 17 to give underclassmen ample recovery time before the fall season.
All games this spring will likely be against league opponents only. The next step is for leagues to come up with a schedule for each sport based on what is allowed during what colored tier. Per the California Interscholastic Federation, the only sports that can be played as long as the Bay Area remains in its current purple tier — or “widespread” stage — of the COVID-19 pandemic are cross country, golf, swimming and diving, tennis, and track and field. Baseball, girls lacrosse and softball will be allowed once the area is in the red-tiered “substantial” stage; badminton, football, gymnastics, boys lacrosse, soccer, volleyball and water polo when it reaches the “moderate” orange tier; and basketball, competitive cheer and wrestling when it’s a yellow tier and the risk is “minimal.”
Vintage High Athletic Director Cam Neal said the Vine Valley Athletic League — which includes American Canyon, Justin-Siena, Napa and Vintage — will meet Monday to discuss tentative schedules, and then will need them to get approved by Napa County Public Health and the principals of the league’s member schools before practices begin.
“Hoping that happens this week,” he said.
The Coastal Mountain Conference, which includes St. Helena’s North Central League I and Calistoga’s NCL III, has canceled all fall and winter sports except cross country. The CMC is hoping to save spring sports, however, to make up for them being canceled last year and will also discuss scheduling Monday.
For now, we continue our Up & Comers series, which highlights rising stars and players to watch for when their long waits are finally over.
Our 86th edition features Alena Nutt of American Canyon, Calvin Snider of Napa High and Josephine Borsetto of Vintage.
School: American Canyon
Class of: 2023
New Wolves head coach Gary Rossi was hired only four months ago and, as an off-campus coach, hasn’t had a chance to get to know his team much yet.
But he expects to have 12 or 13 returners, and he especially looks forward to working with Nutt after meeting her and her father during the team’s player-parent video conference.
“We asked them to sign in with their email addresses,” Rossi said, “and I sent out an introductory email that said ‘Welcome, this is exciting, I’m glad to be here, I’m looking forward to it, here are some general ideas of my vision, this is what we’re gonna do for tryouts, we’re going to have a lot of fun.’
“Alena was the first young lady to respond and she basically said ‘What do I need to do to prepare for tryouts when we have them?’ She was the only one to ask that. I guess she was a captain last year but she’s a sophomore, and already she’s shown some initiative.”
School: Napa High
Class of: 2021
Snider had six hits as a junior in last year’s pandemic-shortened five-game season, helping the Grizzlies race to a 4-1 start and quickly double their wins of the previous year’s 2-21 campaign. He was literally on a roll when the 2020 season ended, going 2 for 3 with a double and 2 RBIs in a win over Vanden in the last game.
Snider was also just one hit short of the seven he’d had in 19 varsity games as a sophomore.
“I have known Cal for a long while, and he is just an incredible young man,” head coach Jason Chatham said. “He is very tough and exceptionally focused on helping the team win. He plays with a great deal of passion and is just a pure competitor. He’s known for his hitting and his defense has improved so much in the last year and a half. He’s so much fun to coach and to work with. We are really lucky to have him and he will make an excellent player in college as well.”
Class of: 2021
Sports: Cross country, track and field
The Crushers return their top three runners from last year’s Vine Valley Athletic League champion squad in seniors Mary Deeik, Tamara Hernandez and Borsetto, respectively, though Borsetto has taken the team on her shoulders as much as anybody.
“Josephine has been preparing for our season since last summer, when we thought that we could possibly compete in the fall and has used the challenges that the pandemic has brought to make herself grow as a runner,” said cross country head coach Shari Costanzo.
“She’s led this team through the pandemic with her dedication and perseverance. When we were unable to run together as a team, she participated in all of our Zoom workout sessions and organized socially-distanced runs and helped get the team together on a runner-tracking social media group.”
Assistant coach Brian Pruyn said Borsetto leads by example.
“Josephine has really taken over as our team leader and one of our most committed and competitive athletes,” he said. “She has kept putting in countless miles — by herself, with the team and with Shari — despite not knowing when, and if, she will get to compete again. She also has run several ‘virtual’ races, running against the clock to try and put her efforts into a 5K time. We are also practicing as a team two times per week and she is there every day, taking charge of the girls team with the hopes of leading them to another VVAL championship once the season starts.”
WATCH NOW: CDC SAYS SUPER BOWL GATHERINGS ARE SAFER OUTSIDE
MOST READ SPORTS STORIES ON NAPAVALLEYREGISTER.COM
Catch up on Napa County's top sports stories
In case you missed it, here is a look at the most-read sports stories on NapaValleyRegister.com.
The cross country season opened Wednesday with Napa and Vintage facing off at Kennedy Park and Justin-Siena visiting American Canyon.
After 15 months of not playing each other, the Vintage High girls tennis team still had the upper hand against Napa High.
Ezekiel Anderson has a better chance of playing football in 2021 than his American Canyon High School teammates.
Christian Ceja knew his school in the Napa Valley was not a mecca for soccer recruiters, even though the Crushers have contended for league ti…
Fran Finch, who died in an automobile accident on Nov. 21, is remembered by her mother, Kathy Dellwardt, Napa Valley Girls Fastpitch Associati…