In an unprecedented season of sports at Davis High School, teams from all 13 spring athletic programs will make postseason appearances, beginning this week.
From badminton to boys volleyball; knifing through a swimming pool or flying over the bars in field events; from softball to hardball … every Blue Devil team will be vying for section crowns this month.
In lacrosse, both local boys and girls squads are competing in the rugged North Coast Section in an attempt to put a Sacramento stamp on a Bay Area athletic staple.
In baseball, the Blue Devils are the Delta Valley Conference Champions and will shoot for regional crown No. 3.
On Monday, DHS’ boys golfers got the postseason started when they tied for third at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Tournament.
“For us, to get some historic wins (like the first softball win over Elk Grove in 19 years) has been impressive for the program,” DHS Athletic Director Dennis Foster told The Enterprise. “It’s a fun time.”
Despite all the added work for Foster and administrative assistant Laurie Williams?
“Yeah, it’s a little more work … a few more nights out, but it’s why I signed up for the job. I want to help kids, make their athletic experiences good ones. But the icing on the cake is (that) everyone’s work — from administrators, to parents, to coaches — has made this season so special.
“It’s just awesome.”
DHS began the 2011-12 school year with 109 team Sac-Joaquin Section titles — 10 up on second-place Jesuit. The Devils have already picked up two more championships thanks to girls water polo and boys soccer last fall.
Glenn Hull, a junior, last week captured Davis boys tennis’ first individual singles championship since Scott Sigerseth went back to back in 1986-87.
And so the title drives begin. Here’s a look at what’s ahead …
Badminton — This little-known Blue Devil squad shared a section win with Stagg High in 2008. Now, first-year coach Michael Rutgard has DHS crushing the shuttlecock again.
A member of the Monticello Empire League, Davis is 9-8 and sees in team captains Amy Yordduangjun and Yuriko Oto a doubles team that could be dangerous once playoffs begin.
“Mo Xu and Debra Ouyang have played consistently awesome together throughout the season,” UC Davis student Rutgard explains. “So they will more than likely be on the bus to sections, too.
“I am currently working on the combination of girls I will be sending because the (MEL) tournament only allows for players to compete in either singles or doubles.”
Postseason dates: MEL Tournament, Friday at Vacaville, all day; Sac-Joaquin tourney, Thursday, May 17, at Bear Creek (Stockton), 9 a.m.
Golf — The Devil boys, after second-place finishes in both Division I and Masters tournaments a year ago, began their section sojourn by tying with Vacaville for third-place at Divisionals. The locals, unfortunately lost a one-hole playoff for a spot in the Masters tourney.
Softball — After an epic, 14-5 victory over Elk Grove last week, a win by Davis in the regular-season finale with Franklin on Tuesday almost assuredly will create a DVC first-place tie between the Thundering Herd and DHS.
So guess what happens? Yep, another coin toss (remember two years ago when a coin flip knocked the Blue Devils out of a tournament bid?). This time the toss will be on the phone, Wednesday at 9 a.m. Winner “earns” a first-place seed in the section playoffs.
Postseason dates: The double-elimination tourney begins Saturday, May 19, at the Sacramento Softball Complex. If DHS wins the toss, it plays a noon opener. Lose the flip, and it plays at 9 a.m.
Soccer — The defending CIF girls champions went 19-2-2, but finished second in the DVC. Nonetheless, they are being rewarded by opening 2012 tournament competition at home against a familiar face: Napa. Davis topped the Indians, 3-0, on Feb. 29.
Postseason dates: Thursday’s playoff opener against the Monticello Empire runner-up Napa (10-7-2) is on Yudin Field at 3:30 p.m.
Volleyball — “Our team’s goal the whole season has been to make the playoffs and I am so proud of them,” Devil boys volleyball coach Julie Crawford told The Enterprise recently. “I know they are so excited because most of them have never been to playoffs. It’s my first playoff experience, too.”
Michael Johnson, Daniel Bonetti, Sam Manderfield … While not yet household Blue Devil names, they and their teammates will try to put the DVC’s No. 2 DHS back on the volleyball map.
Postseason dates: Davis travels Thursday to Crawford’s alma mater Ponderosa for a 7 p.m. first-round game. The Bruins are the Delta River League champions.
Boys swimming — In what is expected to be a swim to the finish between the Blue Devils, Granite Bay and Jesuit High schools, there are a lot of local kids destined to make waves this weekend.
Kyle Nadler (200 IM and 500 freestyle), Connor Stapleton (200 IM and 100 backstroke), David Nunez (200 IM and 100 butterfly), CIF 100-meter breaststroke individual champion Matt Whittle (100 fly and breast), Riley Hickman (100 and 200 free), Griffin Molotky and Adam Raabe (both in the 200 and 500 free) and Yunus Tezcan (100 fly and back) are key ingredients of DHS’ swim for the team title.
Davis has won nine Sac-Joaquin championships.
Postseason dates: Section trials are Friday (10 a.m.) at Tokay High and finals are there Saturday at 10 a.m.
Girls swimming — Leading all Sacramento Valley schools with 16 titles, the Devil girls hope to win their first crown since 2006 (DHS was runner-up to St. Francis each of the past two seasons).
“Bottom line is we need to have safe/fast relays, swim hard, rest and — most important — support each other,” longtime coach Doug Wright explained. “(Thursday’s trials are) about swimming fast and qualifying for a second swim on Saturday.
“We are cautiously optimistic. We will have fun and swim in the moment.”
Among the fastest faces in the Blue Devil pool: Rachel Johnson, Tara Halsted, Hailey Wright, Beverly Nguyen and Julie Arvin.
“This is the fastest, deepest team we have had in years, if ever,” Wright says.
Postseason dates: Section trials are Thursday (10 a.m.) at Tokay High and finals are there on Saturday at 10.
Lacrosse — It will be a stick-and-basket lovefest Tuesday when Davis hosts Bishop O’Dowd for both boys and girls lacrosse matches.
After turning into a couple of Bay Shore Athletic League powerhouses this season, the two Devil squads have earned their home games.
Coach Jenn Morris’ girls have carded a 15-4 record, while going 11-1 in league.
Kylie Drexel, Kelly Chuck, Ceci Cajandig and Lucy Hass are but a few of the talented DHS players who have led the 2012 charge.
The local boys, under the direction of Nick Juri, are 18-0, ranked ninth in the nation and sport some of the best balance in the Western United States.
Even with All-BSAL first-teamers Mikie Schlosser, Willie Hawkins and Rudy Buhlman staking claim to region superiority, Juri knows it won’t be easy to navigate through the league tournament.
Postseason dates: Tuesday features a playoff doubleheader with the Davis girls taking on Bishop O’Dowd (5:30 p.m.) before the Blue Devil boys entertain the Dragons (7:30 p.m.) at Ron & Mary Brown Stadium.
Track and field — DHS hosts the Delta Valley Conference meet Wednesday (trials) and Friday (finals). Devil coach Spencer Elliott hopes to send a large group of athletes on to the section meet to defend last year’s first-ever Sac-Joaquin boys track and field crown.
“The goal for all four (frosh/soph included) teams is to win a team championship,” the former UCD sprinter said of the DVC meet. “My expectation is, win or lose, each individual will compete with confidence and pride.”
From Nick Denton in the throws, to hurdler Rose Stephens, sprinter Bailey Gary and distance dandies Sophie Meads, Jack Scranton and Ryan Greenough, the Blue Devils have points waiting at every turn.
Postseason dates: DVC meet Wednesday (3:30 p.m.) and Friday (3:30 p.m.) at DHS. On May 16 and 18, SJS championships will be conducted at Elk Grove (start times are to be announced). The state meet is June 1 and 2 at Buchanan High (Frseno)
Baseball — When DHS stopped Franklin, 5-2, on Monday, the locals clinched the conference title and will be the DVC’s top seed heading into the section playoffs
With a solid pitching staff paced by Ben Eckels, Jack Shelledy, Reinert Toft, Matt Trask and George Hatamiya, the 20-5 Devils are built for the postseason.
Wednesday, Davis is home for the regular-season finale against Franklin.
Postseason dates: Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs begin with an elimination game on Wednesday, May 16, against the No.3 team from the Delta River League, before moving into double-elimination play at Sacramento City College.
Tennis — Working to capture their fourth consecutive Sac-Joaquin title in a row, the Blue Devil boys tennis team danced past second-round opponent Oak Ridge, 9-0, on Monday.
After getting a little more competition than it expected from the Trojans, DHS is into the section semifinals, where it will face Pitman.
Postseason dates: Davis hosts Pitman on Wednesday (3:45 p.m.) with a spot in the Sac-Joaquin team finals on the line. The title match is set for Friday.
— Reach Bruce Gallaudet at [email protected] or (530) 747-8047.