The Napa Valley Register sports staff has turned its attention to the Napa County student-athletes who are returning to play sports in 2020-21.
All games this spring will be against league opponents only. The leagues met Monday to come up with schedules for each sport based on what is allowed during what colored tier. The schedules must go through an approval process, but practices and tryouts are expected to start Monday, Feb. 8, with competition starting in late February or early March.
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.”
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 88th edition features Sam Boeschen of Justin-Siena, Daniel Healy of Napa High, and Aliyah Flamson of St. Helena.
School: St. Helena
Class of: 2022
Sports: Cross country, track and field
The junior has been leading the Saints’ distance runners with seniors Harper McClain and Jade Schlatter for the last two years.
In 2019, Flamson set three personal records in 2019 — in the 800 meters with a second-place time of 2:50.88 at the Coastal Mountain Conference Championships, in the 1,600 meters with 13th-place time of 5:46.29 at the North Coast Section Class A Championships, and in the 3,200 meters with a 12:49.59 at the midseason Granada Distance & Sprint Festival in Livermore. She also helped the Saints place second in the 4x400 relay in 5:10.01 at the conference championships.
Class of: 2021
Sport: Track and field
He competed in four events in 2019, setting personal records in the pole vault (9 feet), high jump (5 feet, 4 inches), 300-meter intermediate hurdles (46.15 seconds) and 110 high hurdles (16.66 seconds)—the latter coming at the North Coast Section Redwood Empire Championships at Maria Carrillo High in Santa Rosa.
Boeschen’s best times in the two meets he competed in last year, before the pandemic canceled the season, were 17.0 in the 110 hurdles and 46.96 in the 300 hurdles. A team captain, he also matched his best pole vault at 9 feet.
According to head coach Tracy Martin, Boeschen also holds a 4.73 weighted GPA, is the founder of Napa County’s first National Science Bowl team, is a co-founder of the Diversity, inclusion and Belonging student group, is a ComedySportz Improv captain, sings in Advanced Choral, and is a National Merit semifinalist, the finalist for which will be announced later this week.
“A talented, four-year member of the team who is one of those athletes that fully embraces the time-consuming technical work needed for an event like the 110 hurdles, Sam will stack up in the top five in VVAL this season in that event,” Martin said. “Beyond his athletic abilities, Sam is a significant member of the academic community at Justin. His distinguished college list reflects his drive and commitment to all things in which he participates, but he still embraces both the fun and hard work of track and field every day.”
School: Napa High
Class of: 2021
He tied Elliot Zuidema for most hits with 18 for the junior varsity team in 2019. But Healy will be hungry this season after last year’s 4-1 campaign wasn’t long enough for him to post a hit as a varsity rookie.
“Danny is an exceptional athlete. He can do a little bit of everything,” head coach Jason Chatham said. “He had a monster year on JV in 2019 and we expect for him to do big things for us this year, as well. His hand-eye coordination and ability to adapt are far above average and, once he gets hot, he’s a force. He’s one of those guys that could be great at any sport he plays.”
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