Attention, Devil Nation …
It’s time to break out the sunscreen, fix that folding chair and make sure your cooler doesn’t leak.
Spring sports at Davis High get under way Friday as the soccer girls are in the St. Mary’s Tournament and boys volleyball meets Yuba City at The Cage. Another 11 varsity-level sports are champing at the bit to get their seasons going.
In case you hadn’t noticed, we Davisites are fortunate. From city recreational sports, to the myriad aquatics programs, to the mighty youth soccer organizations and Junior Blue Devil football squads, and to the bazillion clubs for gymnastics, baseball, lacrosse, basketball (take a breath here), rugby, track and field …
Well, you get the idea. By the time our local athletes get to the high school, they’re ready to hit the ground running.
And during the next three months, run they will.
If you’ll recall, last year every DHS spring sport made the postseason. Every sport. Some won section titles — boys tennis, girls swimming — most dominated their leagues and every squad provided a good account of itself in the playoffs.
With such success, most fans might think it’s a retooling season for the Blue Devils.
On the contrary …
League champion girls and boys lacrosse teams return most of their rosters as they head into a new Sacramento-based conference. Young boys and girls swim teams have just enough senior leadership while chockablock with talented freshmen, sophomores and juniors.
Track and field has greeted more than 160 competitors and those Blue Devils are expected to show up on the big board come section and Masters time.
Softball, while trying replace 160 runs gone with graduation, looks to a youthful corps that DHS coach Art Guerra swears will be up to the task as the Devils hope to repeat as Delta Valley Conference champions.
Baseball? How do you replace guys like play-anywhere George Hatamiya and pro-level pitcher Ben Eckels? Coach Dan Ariola says it won’t be easy, but he’s confident he has the horses to make a legitimate run at DVC honors for the second year in a row.
Tennis? Well, tennis is sitting on a string of four consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section titles — and the Devils get fourth-year No. 1 singles player Glenn Hull back. With five other senior veterans in the mix, don’t be surprised if Dale Hersch’s guys take an unprecedented fifth straight cup home.
Girls soccer went 20-3-2 last year. However, second place in the rugged DVC was foreign territory for the Blue Devils. Despite the graduations, coach Sara Stone and her girls are poised for a return to dominance.
Boys golf, badminton, diving … is there a sport Davis doesn’t play? There certainly isn’t a sport the Blue Devils don’t play well.
So, are you ready to get some sun? See some terrific prep competition? Get your calendar out. I’ve got some dates for you to circle:
* Baseball. Next Friday, March 1, against Woodland at Clark Field. Despite their Division III standing, the Wolves under Felix Castillo know what a decades-old rivalry looks like. This is also a good way to start a new season. Game time is 6:30 p.m. Caution: Bring a coat, gloves and a blanket. There have been some frigid openers.
* Girls soccer vs. Rocklin on Tuesday, March 5. The two schools met early last year with Davis nudging the Thunder, 2-1. Rocklin went 12-5-4 and should be a good test for the rebuilding locals.
* Boys lacrosse vs. Jesuit (Friday, March 5, 7:30 p.m.) and Cardinal Newman (Friday, April 4, 7:30 p.m.). The Marauder match is now a league outing while The Good Cardinal is a Bay Area powerhouse. DHS went 20-1 last season.
* Softball. Elk Grove and Davis shared the 2012 DVC title and The Herd comes to town on Monday, April 22, for a 4:15 p.m. showdown. The same two teams finish the regular season at Elk Grove.
* Track and field. Jesuit and St. Francis will be at Ron & Mary Brown Stadium on Wednesday, March 6. It’s always an entertaining meet and offers a sneak peek at the section pecking order.
* Girls lacrosse. Tuesday, March 12, is redemption day. Monte Vista — the school that knocked Davis from the North Coast Section tournament nine months ago — returns to the scene of the crime at 7 p.m.
*Swimming. Boys and girls splash down against Rio Americano on Tuesday, April 9, at 4 p.m. at Arroyo Pool. Rio was runner-up to Davis’ girls for last year’s CIF crown.
If your calendar isn’t full yet, watch The Enterprise for daily schedules and important outings.
— Bruce Gallaudet is a staff writer for The Davis Enterprise. Reach him at [email protected] or 530-747-8047.