PD Preps Insider: Casa Grande’s Erika Mihalca takes fourth at national wrestling tournament


Casa Grande’s Erika Mihalca placed fourth among 35 competitors in her weight class at the USA Wrestling High School Folkstyle Nationals this past weekend at Oklahoma City.

Mihalca qualified by winning the California folkstyle title at 139 pounds the previous week. Jimmy Pera, Her coach with the Minutemen Wrestling Club of Petaluma, said she turned the heads of quite a few college coaches with her performance at Oklahoma City.

Great lineup on paper

The Analy baseball team has a familiar name on its roster: Johnny Gomes. Don’t start moving the fences back quite yet, though. Johnny is no relation to Jonny Gomes, the Casa Grande graduate who is beginning his 12th MLB season with the Boston Red Sox.

“It’s funny,” Analy coach Jeff Ogston said. “We’ve got Johnny Gomes, and we’ve got a kid in the program named Alex Rodriguez.”

The Tigers, defending champions of the Sonoma County League, are 7-4 overall to start the 2014 season, not counting a tie with Petaluma that might be resumed in progress when the rains let up.

Casa freshman can play

Casa Grande third baseman Spencer Torkelson might be the best freshman ballplayer in the Redwood Empire. His offensive stats are certainly impressive.

His .516 batting average is tops on the team and he hasn’t struck out in 31 plate appearances. The lone freshman on the roster, he has at least one hit in each of Casa’s 11 games and was named to the All-Tournament team at last month’s Adam Westcott Memorial.

Torkelson’s defensive stats are equally solid. He’s made just one error in 25 plays.

The Gauchos are 8-3 and are one of the top NBL teams.

A loss re-examined

Cardinal Newman senior P.J. Klee came crushingly close to a state wrestling championship in early March, losing 3-1 in the 152-pound title match to Paul Fox of Gilroy, a bout that was scoreless until 32 seconds remained. The loss probably still gnaws at Klee, but his accomplishments are even more impressive in light of what happened in Virginia over the weekend.

Wrestling at the prestigious NHSCA High School National Wrestling Championship at Virginia Beach, Fox was crowned the national champion at 152 pounds. Fox did not lose over his entire senior season. Klee probably believes he could beat Fox if they wrestled again tomorrow. Even if he couldn’t, it turns out, Klee is clearly among the few best wrestlers in the country in his weight class.

Mountain bikes on tap

The first Sonoma County race in the growing sport of prep mountain biking is set for a Petaluma area ranch this weekend.

The Five Springs Ranch Round-up Weekend is the fourth set of races on the NorCal High School Cycling League schedule.

Teams from the north half of the league, including Empire high schools, race Saturday and southern squads compete Sunday at the ranch off Old Adobe Road. Each day features 11 races ranging from 12 miles to 26 miles.

Racing began in February, at the Fort Ord course on the central coast. Next are the NorCal Championships, at Boggs Mountain, in Lake County, April 26 and 27. The season concludes with the state championships, at Laguna Seca, in Monterey County, on May 11.

Started in 2001, the league has grown to nearly 70 teams from the Central Valley and Monterey on the south to the Oregon border on the north. The league was split in half to provide more racing in the growing sport.

Phil Barber, Michael Coit, Howard Senzell and Crissi Langwell contributed to this report.


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