Cal-Hi Sports Insider Blog

Quick-hitting, behind-the-scenes news and notes from the staff, including previews of upcoming content and events.

Lions All-Star Football Rosters

The 47th annual Central California Lions All-Star Football Game was supposed to have been played on Saturday, June 14 at Lincoln High School’s Alex G. Spanos Stadium.
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Honorable Mention Schools of Year

To go with our annual State Schools of the Year tribute, here are some additional schools that were on our board in the various CIF state divisions and in our own five-division format that we would consider to be honorable mention.
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CIF Names Scholar-Athletes of Year

SACRAMENTO, CALIF. — Tulare Union High’s Barrett Nunley from Tulare Union High School and Eleanor Wikstrom from Skyline High School were selected as the 2020 CIF Scholar-Athletes of the Year. Since 1982, the scholarship award identifies student-athletes who excel in the classroom, athletics, and are strong contributors to their schools and communities.

“Our CIF scholar-athletes embody the principles of education-based athletics,” said CIF Executive Director Ron Nocetti. “On behalf of the entire CIF family, I congratulate Eleanor, Barrett, and all of our scholar-athletes. They are certainly examples of all that is positive during these challenging times.”

Nunley and Wikstrom will each receive a $5,000 scholarship award. They were selected from a pool of 374 candidates representing 1,606 CIF member schools and more than 830,000 student-athletes statewide.

Additionally, 20 CIF Section winners earned a $1,000 scholarship award. (See below for complete list.)

Barrett ‘Bear’ Nunley
Tulare Union High School (Central Section)

Nunley is a three-sport athlete at Tulare Union High School participating in football, golf, and wrestling, while also serving as captain of the football and wrestling teams the past three years. He has been involved in student government since his freshman year, is a four- year Character Counts! award winner and is also a member of the National Honors Society, FFA, and CSF. Additionally, he has been involved in community service helping the underprivileged in the Tulare community, including volunteer tutoring and ‘Soled out for Kids.’

“As my high school career is coming to a close, some of my fondest memories center around the experiences and relationships I have had while playing sports,” states Nunley. “The brotherhood and bonds I have made with my teammates are more valuable than any win or championship. These memories will forever be what high school athletics means to me.”

“I have never had the opportunity in my 37 years of coaching to coach such an outstanding young man who embodies everything we as coaches strive to have our student-athletes become,” praised Tulare Co-Head Football Coach and Avid Instructor Marty Martin.

Tulare Athletic Director Diana Nalbandian-Hatton adds, “Barrett as a student-athlete encompasses the passion, dedication, hard work and sportsmanship the CIF strives to instill in its student-athletes.”

More on Barrett: GPA 4.00; College: UCLA; Career Interest: Real Estate Development and Acquisition; College Major: Business Administration ; Primary Sport: Football.

Eleanor Wikstrom
Skyline High School (Oakland Section)

Wikstrom is a four-year member of the cross country and track teams at Skyline High School and is a National Merit semifinalist and National AP Scholar. She is involved in many extracurricular clubs throughout Skyline and is co-founder and President for the Oakland Students for Public Education, a student lobby group that advocates on behalf of K-12 public education in California. Additionally, Wikstrom won first place in the MLK Oratorical Festival four times and was the Oakland Youth Vice Poet Laureate in 2019.

“…My character is the product of multiple parts – my family, my school, my city, and beyond,” states Wikstrom. “I know that the deep gratitude which I hold for my community – and the trustworthiness fairness, caring, respect, responsibility, and citizenship which it teaches me – is something that will shape my actions forever.”

“Eleanor is hardworking and diligent, community-driven and compassionate, as well as exceptionally intelligent and motivated,” praised Skyline Assistant Principal Justin Anderson. “The word resiliency comes to mind when thinking of Eleanor, not just her resiliency for her own path, but supporting others to be resilient on theirs.”

Skyline Head Cross Country and Track & Field Coach Sean Kohles adds: “Eleanor is a very unique individual. She inspires and challenges others to be better. She is empathetic, uplifting, fair, stern, and able to see the big picture.”

More on Eleanor: GPA 4.00; College: Harvard; Career Interest: United Nations (diplomacy, education policy, public health, medical research); College Major: Cognitive Science, International Relations; Primary Sports: Cross Country and Track.

2020 CIF Scholar-Athlete SECTION Winners

Central Section — Jacqueline Maze, Tulare Union High School & Bryson Job, Boron High School.
Central Coast Section — Alden Standley, Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) & Evan Franco, Branham High School (San Jose).
Los Angeles City Section — Tracey Truong, Abraham Lincoln High School & Nathanael Davis, University Senior Charter School.
North Coast Section — Emma Casey, Las Lomas High School (Walnut Creek) & Zavier Annis, St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda).
Northern Section — Natalie Osborne, Fall River High School (McArthur) & Calvin Thackeray, Etna High School.
Oakland Section — Carla Franco-Felix, Coliseum College Prep Academy & David Robles, Coliseum College Prep Academy
Sac-Joaquin Section — Brooke Giorgi, Whitney High School (Rocklin) & John Kroeger, River Valley High School (Yuba City).
San Diego Section — Emma Rens, Academy of Our Lady of Peace (San Diego) & Logan Schmidt, Monte Vista High School (Spring Valley).
San Francisco Section — Elena Rodriguez, Mission High School & Adam Chirackal, Raoul Wallenberg High School.
Southern Section — Ella Whitehouse, Woodcrest Christian High School (Riverside) & Cole Sawires Yager, Great Oak High School (Temecula).

WCAL vs. Moore League: All-Time Baseball Teams

We’ve often thought about the great baseball traditions for schools in Northern California’s West Catholic Athletic League and schools in Southern California’s Moore League. If you stop and think about players and teams from 40, 50, 60 and even more years back, there are no two leagues in California historically that come close and we’d bet for the entire nation.
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Baseball Tips: Guide To Buying The Right Catcher’s Bag

Baseball, like other sports, requires a set of specific equipment for participants to play the activity correctly. For example, it might be challenging for catchers to grab a speeding fastball mid-flight without a reliable catcher’s mitt. So, it’s relatively safe to say that you’ll need the right bag to place and carry all baseball equipment, especially if you’re a catcher. Hence, continue reading for a buying guide to help you purchase the right catcher’s bag.
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18-Strikeout No-Hitter From 1956

The letter and copies of press clippings from a 1956 baseball game involving Encinal of Alameda and its rivals from Alameda was expected last week, but the article was even more interesting because of who wrote it.

The letter was sent by 82-year-old Paul Dennan of Fairfield, who had called a few days earlier wondering about a record from a game he was in at Encinal in the 1950s. Paul’s teammate from long ago, Ray Quintana, had struck out 18 batters in a seven-inning no-hitter and he wanted to know if it was a league record or a record of any kind. Paul said he had the articles to prove that the achievement was valid.

Quintana did indeed strike out 18 batters in a no-hitter and it came in a 15-0 win on April 21, 1956 by Encinal over Alameda. Coming into the game, Encinal was 0-3 in the Alameda County Athletic League while Alameda was 2-0. Quintana walked two and at one point struck out 10 straight batters. Dennan was reported with three hits as were teammates Don Sobrero and Jerry Aldrich.

There is no category in the Cal-Hi Sports state records for most strikeouts in a no-hitter but there is a category for most strikeouts in a seven-inning game. And in that category there are notations for those players who threw no-hitters.

The record would be 21 by two players. Eddie Gordon from Alhambra of Martinez, who had his 21-strikeout no-hitter in 1969 in a 4-0 victory against Las Lomas of Walnut Creek, would be the first. That achievement was duplicated in 2008 by Michael Fagan of San Diego Jewish Academy in a 5-0 win over San Diego Midway Baptist.

We also have notations for two other players with 20 strikeouts in a no-hitter. The first of those was by Bob Flynn of El Segundo in 1960 when the Eagles blanked St. John Vianney of Los Angeles 4-0. The second was by Steve Young from Amador of Sutter Creek in 1982 when the Buffaloes topped Calaveras of San Andreas 2-0.

There could be an unreported 19-strikeout no-hitter, but the only other 18-strikeout no-hitter we have in our files is one from just two seasons ago by Patrick Wicklander from Valley Christian of San Jose, who did it in a win against Archbishop Riordan of San Francisco.

As far as we know, therefore, the achievement that Paul was part of at Encinal in 1956 would be tied for second in Bay Area history and we will certainly accept it. As for most consecutive strikeouts, 10 could still be a league record, but it takes 12 to make it into our state record files. The record of 19 was set in 1967 by Lloyd Allen of Selma in a contest against Tulare Western.

The 1956 article itself was from the Oakland Tribune and it had a byline of Scotty Stirling. That is the same Scotty Stirling who went on to have a long, distinguished career as a professional sports executive and scout. He was once the NBA’s vice president of basketball operations, he was a general manager of the Oakland Raiders and Oakland Oaks (ABA team) and for 27 years was an executive and scout for the Sacramento Kings. Gordon “Scotty” Stirling died in 2015 at age 86.

Two years after Quintana’s 18-strikeout no-hitter at Encinal, the Jets had a 1958 squad that included future major leaguers Tommy Harper, Curt Motton and Willie Stargell. Paul recalled that Tommy was a sophomore on the varsity in 1956 but that Stargell was still on the JV team. The field at the school is now named in the late Stargell’s honor. He was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988.

Thanks, Paul, for taking the time to let us know about one game played more than 60 years ago. It’s never too late to report a possible record.

All-State Girls BB Patch List

Our all-state hoops patch for this year is now available to order. This year’s patches are being delivered this week to our partners at

For those just interested in seeing the names of players who are on the Gold Club post for this year’s All-State Underclass Team for girls basketball 2020 without having to pay us any money, here is a simple alphabetical list. If you want the full presentation and are not Gold Club, please check out getting a membership today.
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All-State Boys BB Patch List

Our all-state hoops patch for this year is now available to order. This year’s patches are being delivered this week to our partners at

For those just interested in seeing the names of players who are on the Gold Club post for this year’s All-State Underclass Team for boys basketball 2020 without having to pay us any money, here is a simple alphabetical list. If you want the full presentation and are not Gold Club, please check out getting a membership today.
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Faulk Legacy To Inspire Class of 2020

California’s future generations of football stars have a rich array of idols to look up to for inspiration. In San Diego specifically, many amongst the current crop of talents at SDSU look towards Marshall Faulk, who played for the L.A. Rams franchise during its period spent as the St Louis Rams, at the latter end of an industrious NFL career.

As a product of SDSU, it comes as no surprise to see that memories of Faulk’s playing days show a man who valued integrity of spirit and intensity of deed, which in turn inspires the future generation of pros recently identified as the brightest new talents.

Few seasons in NCAA history have matched Faulk’s freshman campaign of 1991, during which he gained 1,429 yards rushing, with 21 rushing touchdowns of 23 total alongside a total of 140 points scored. There was no dreaded ‘slump’ either, with Faulk thereafter attaining 1,600 and 1,530 in his sophomore and junior years, respectively.

Faulk’s running abilities made him a projected high pick for the 1994 NFL draft, and it came as little surprise to see that the Indianapolis Colts made him the second pick overall. They were desperate for someone with the potential to not only make up the lack of yards that had been their undoing in 1993, but also a man who could create a long-term legacy.

Overall, Faulk’s contract was worth $22.3 million, and set to run until 2001. He proved to be worth every penny in his debut NFL season, getting impressively close to covering as many yards (1,282) as he did in his freshman year. He did much to restore some pride at the franchise, with the Colts getting a .500 season (8-8) and Faulk being named as the Offensive Rookie of the Year and becoming the first debutant to claim the Pro Bowl MVP award.

Present-day Rams value Faulk principles despite poor 2019

Flash forward more than 25 years from the end of Faulk’s illustrious college football years, and the L.A. Rams’ find themselves with a philosophy that is built around pace and chasing down every ball. It is this strength – as shown at flashpoints in the video below – that showed itself in the Rams’ 2018 run to the Super Bowl, and it remains vital towards the franchise keeping its American football betting odds for regional and divisional triumph encouragingly short.

2019 was a different story, with RB Todd Gurley, who was so crucial in 2018, finding it difficult to make up the necessary yards. As an accomplished starter, Gurley became a victim of his own success, and he figured prominently in the playbook of most opposition teams.

The 2020 campaign will be a different story with Gurley no longer around and with a different offensive coordinator, but successfully taking inspiration from Faulk’s achievements is more than just about emulating them. It is also about overcoming setbacks in the same way as the man many believe to be SDSU’s greatest product in football.

The rest is history

As there were for the Rams in 2019, so too were there setbacks and moments of doubt in Faulk’s own career. In his last season with the Indianapolis Colts, an injury forced by various circumstances into moving to the St. Louis Rams.

What happened next was a Missouri manifestation of ‘Cali’ team spirit, since named as the ‘Greatest Show on Turf.’ In 2000, Faulk became a Super Bowl winner, and the outright MVP of the NFL. Overall, Faulk’s NFL career is a classic story that can inspire anyone from college upwards to fight for every value they hold on the field.

So too is it a poignant example of promise unfulfilled, with many believing that the Rams’ franchise should have become as dominant in the 2000s as the Patriots were in the 2010s. This leaves the proverbial door open for Californians – whether native, or ‘adopted’ like Faulk – to impose themselves and create a legacy to match or even outstrip it.

Jalen Green goes for new NBA program

Former State Sophomore of the Year and perhaps the nation’s No. 1 player for the Class of 2020 who played as a freshman, sophomore and junior at San Joaquin Memorial of Fresno said no to the NCAA on Thursday and yes to new NBA G-League developmental program.
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