By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Ranking among the nation’s best in junior college athletics is Santa Rosa, led by great seasons from a deep program of men’s and women’s sports.
Santa Rosa was No. 13 in the Learfield Sports Directors Cup recognizing athletic excellence for two-year colleges during the 2012-13 school year. Points are awarded based on how team’s finish in up to 14 sports.
The Learfield Cup is a joint effort of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and USA Today. Half of the Top 20 programs were from the California Community College Athletic Association.
Santa Rosa finished sixth in the final CCCAA standings. Mt. San Antonio College won the state cup, Riverside College was second, and American River College third.
An impressive 11 teams from Santa Rosa contributed to the program’s total score. Leading the way were women’s basketball and volleyball, baseball and men’s golf. Also on the list were women’s swimming, water polo, soccer, and men’s basketball, swimming, tennis and wrestling.
After taking another conference title the Santa Rosa Junior College women’s basketball team was awarded the top seed in the California Community College Athletic Association Northern Regional. Defense was Santa Rosa’s strength allowing the fewest points per game in the state. The Bear Cubs fell in the state final four, one step away from an appearance in the championship contest.
Also earning a top seed was the Santa Rosa baseball team. Winners of the Big 8 Conference, one of the state’s toughest, the Bear Cubs marched through the NorCal playoffs. Santa Rosa hosted and went undefeated in the Northern Super Regional to reach the state final four. Pitcher Jason Alexander, from Cardinal Newman, was a Northern California All-American selection.
Another state final four participant was the Santa Rosa women’s volleyball team. The Bear Cubs went undefeated to take a third consecutive Big 8 Conference title. Santa Rosa won 20 consecutive matches before an opening round loss to eventual state champion Los Angeles Pierce. Olivia Urban and Kaitlyn Dunaway were named to the CCCAA state championship all-tournament team. Urban, from San Marin High. also earned All-America recognition in addition to NorCal honors. Dunaway, out of Petaluma High, also was a NorCal selection.
A strong finish carried the Santa Rosa men’s golf team to a third consecutive CCCAA finals, where the Bears Cubs finished third in Carmel. Santa Rosa qualified out of the challenging Big 8 Conference and moved on with a second place in the NorCal finals. Santa Rosa’s three low scorers on the season were the team’s top trio in the Big 8 All-Conference selections: Travis Evans, Eureka; Corey Ghiringhelli, Casa Grande high; and Zachary Sims, Napa.