The New Gold River Sports Club

By MPG Staff  |  2019-02-08

GOLD RIVER, CA  (MPG) - Gold River Racquet Club, the 33 year old club built in 1985, has changed its name to Gold River Sports Club.  Gold River Sports Club, which is part of Spare Time Sports Clubs, has led the Sacramento region in innovative sports and fitness programming for decades. 

Mike Burchett, General Manager said “we are changing our club name from racquet club to “Sports Club” to better reflect the wide range of sports and fitness programs that we offer.  We are committed to further expanding our programs and services to better serve the fitness and recreational interests of our members going forward.  As always our goal is to make our club “the best part of your day!”

This neighborhood club has continued to increase its offering to stay up with the changing times.  Over the years Gold River Sports Clubs has added; Swimming Pools; Junior Recreation Swim Team; Cardio Exercise Equipment; Weight Circuit; Free Weights; Squash courts; Dedicated function training area to include TRX; Pilates Reformer Studio; Personal Training; HIIT; After school programs; Play Center and Kids Club; Summer Kids Camp. They have also added a full range of group exercise classes from mind body, weights, cycle, dance, aqua, spin and much more.

So what does the name change mean?  Gold River Sports Club will continue to build on the strength of tennis programs, which have had some incredible athletics over the years and include National Tennis Champions and Championship Swim Teams. Additional emphasis will be placed on enhancing fitness services and other sports programs that broaden their appeal through the implementation of new programming technology.

Source: Spare Time Sports Clubs

Cordova Gridiron Athletes Honored

Story and photos By Rick Sloan  |  2019-01-06

Alvin Banks, Photo by Rick Sloan

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - The Cordova Lancers football team wrapped up their 2018-19 Season with a team banquet held at Cordova High on December 10th. The Lancers finished with an undefeated record in the Greater Sacramento League and captured the outright Championship.  They took the school football program further that any other team in the last 15 years making it to the 2nd round of playoffs. 

     Their 12 game schedule included contests verses 7 playoff caliber teams including the 5-AA State Champion Rio Linda Knights. Head Coach John McCoy had this to say about his team. “While our season had its ups and downs, I am extremely proud of the young men and woman on this team.”

     Nine players received All Greater Sacramento League First Team Honors. They were seniors: Raymond Fite, Johnelle Sanders, Alvin Banks, Andrew Turner, Austin McCoy, Elijah Jenkins, and Anthony Patterson. Freshman Deshaun Bradley and Sophomore Dumaurier Hackett were also selected to the first team. Two players were selected to the 2nd Team. They were Jeremiah Bankett (Senior) and Jalen Jones (Junior).

     League Most Valuable Player awards selected by league coaches found 3 Lancers standouts. They were League MVP Raymond Fite, Defensive MVP Andrew Turner and Lineman of the Year Austin McCoy.

     In addition, Austin McCoy won the Marvel A. Smith Lineman of the year award chosen by Strap’Em Up Sports. This prestigious award that started in Oakland, California was awarded to a Sacramento Area athlete for the first time this year. Austin was selected out of 8 finalists. Also, Alvin Banks was chosen to participate in the Optimist All Star Game on January 19th at 1pm at Sacramento State.      

     Congratulations to the entire Cordova Lancer football team and coaching staff for a job well done. Your performance on and off the field will be an inspiration to future players. Way to GO BIG RED!

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Optimist’s Serve Up a Great Volleyball Tournament

John Yoshikawa, Optimist Sports Director  |  2019-01-06

The Hall of Fame inductee (in the middle) Mike Yates from Ponderosa High School. On Mike

SACRAMENTO, CA (MPG) - The 35th Annual Optimist High School Girls’ Volleyball All Star games were held on December 8, 2018 at El Camino High School. The Small Schools match was won by the North Team. The scores were 25 (South) – 23 (North), 25 (North) – 21 (South), 30 (North) - 28 (South), and 25 (North) – 17 (South). All of these sets were so exciting that they brought the fans to their feet and yelling for more.

The Outstanding Player for the North was Amy Hiatt from Placer High School and for the South Team was Jillian Petnicki from Vacaville Christian High School. The Large Schools match was swept by the South Team 25 – 21, 25 – 18, and 25 – 16, and as like the Small Schools match, the fans were super excited.

The Outstanding Player for the South Team was Sam Chavez from St. Francis High School and for the North Team was Kaylie Honberger from Whitney High School.

During the intermission, Mike Yates from Ponderosa High School was inducted into the Optimist Hall of Fame for his tremendous dedication and commitment to encourage and train our youth to take their volleyball to the next level.

Mike has been the Girls’ Volleyball Coach at Ponderosa High School for the past 5 seasons. Within that time, he has won three (3) league championships, two (2) SacJoaquin Section championships, and Ponderosa’s  first State appearance in the past 30 years….to include having an undefeated season last year. Prior to his coaching at Ponderosa, he coached at Union Mine High School for five (5) years. In his last season, he won Union Mine’s very first Section championship and subsequently went on to win the State championship.

Club Volleyball has also played an important part in Coach Yates’ activities. Within his involvement in the Precision Volleyball Club, he has been the driving influence for the boys and girls to take their volleyball game to the next level to include beach volleyball. Last year, he created the first ever high school volleyball sand league and continues to be the leading force in its development.

His involvement in volleyball would have never taken place was it not for being burned out from playing baseball. He started playing volleyball, loved the sport, and his achievements took off from there. He played volleyball at Ponderosa High School and subsequently had a successful collegiate career at California State University-Sacramento. Thereafter, he transferred these indoor volleyball skills to beach volleyball which has made him one of the best known beach players in the Sacramento area.

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Lancers Romp Riles Up Homecoming Crowd

Story by Daniel Mano, Photos by Rick Sloan  |  2018-10-31

Alvin Banks TD

Lancers Romp Riles Up Homecoming Crowd


RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - What better way to entertain a packed house on Homecoming night than with the 77-13 rout the Cordova High School football team performed October 5 against Florin.

The Lancers lit up the scoreboard behind an explosive offense (364 yards on 22 plays) and a clamp-down defense (only seven first downs allowed and five forced turnovers).

“It was nice to actually get all cylinders clicking,” Lancers head coach John McCoy said. “We haven’t done that until tonight. We were able to run the ball some games, we were able to throw the ball some games – but tonight we were able to do everything.”

The victory brings Cordova to 3-5 overall and 2-0 in Greater Sacramento League play.

“Coming into the game, we knew they were going to be short-handed. Our thing was, we wanted to play against ourselves, not the level of competition,” Cordova assistant coach Charlie Ruiz said. “We wanted to reach our potential. … We did what we were supposed to do.”

Johnele Sanders finished 7 for 8 passing with 194 yards and two touchdowns through the air to go with three scores on the ground.

Alvin Banks caught four passes for 105 yards, including a screen pass he transformed into a 58-yard touchdown.

"We caught them on a blitz,” Ruiz said of that play. “Johnele just floated it over the defenders hands, we got a great block on the outside and Alvin did what he does. It was awesome.”

Jaylen Jones scored on runs of 22 and 26 yards while Raymond Fite had a 30-yard touchdown jaunt.

Sanders had touchdown runs from 33, 5 and 7 yards – that last one on 4th-and-inches.

“I’m excited because our main guys – Jaylen, Ray, Alvin, Johnele, Jeremiah – had great games,” Ruiz said.

Defensively, the Lancers allowed just 174 yards while creating opportunities with turnovers.

Dashawn Bradley hauled in a pair of interceptions while Dumaurier Hackett and Kelton Stevens both forced fumbles.

Jeremiah Bankett and Fite each scooped up fumbles and rumbled to the house, with returns of 48 and 55 yards respectively, and Trevor Dix recovered another fumble.

Andrew Turner and Elijah Jenkins each had sacks and Ki Allen blocked a punt.

Cordova has a bye October 12 before hosting Natomas in league play October 19.

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For the Glory Days

Story by Trina L. Drotar, Photos by Rick Sloan  |  2018-10-31

Athletes, teams, and coaches have been honored in football, baseball, softball, tennis, track and field, swimming, cross country, golf, running, basketball, boxing, rugby, soccer, and mixed martial arts.

4th Annual Sports Hall of Fame Inducts Eight Women

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) – The 4th annual Sports Hall of Fame inducted eight female athletes this year, the largest number yet, 46 years after the ground-breaking Title IX. Good Day Sacramento’s Ken Rudolph, Cordova High School alumni and self-proclaimed “Lancer for life,” returned as the sold-out event’s emcee.

                Shelly Blanchard, Cordova Community Council’s executive director, said that the event was “a true homerun, with more than 250 attendees and plenty of Cordova Lancer love.” It was, she added, a mix of awards event and Cordova sports reunion.

                Athletes, teams, and coaches have been honored in football, baseball, softball, tennis, track and field, swimming, cross country, golf, running, basketball, boxing, rugby, soccer, and mixed martial arts. Nominations come from the public and are reviewed by a panel of sports experts for recognition in three categories – athlete, coach, and heart of a champion.

                It’s the “Heart of a Champion” category that sets this hall of fame apart. This category, wrote Blanchard, recognizes and honors Rancho Cordova athletes like 2016 inductee Eppie Johnson, founder of Eppie’s Great Race which ended a 45 year tradition in January, “people who made huge contributions to local sports in other ways.”     

                John McFann, one of three inductees in this category, played baseball and basketball at Cordova High School but chose the Air Force over professional sports. McFann attained rank of three-star general, received numerous medals including Humanitarian Service and Distinguished Service medals.

                Thelma King, the lone woman in this category, coached soccer teams for Cordova High School and other groups beginning in the 1970s. First introduced to soccer while at Mather Air Force base, she passed her love and passion for the sport to numerous young women, including three generations in her family.

                One of the younger athletes is Angie Matheu, who was honored as “one of the most successful female swimmers to emerge from Cordova High.” She set records in butterfly, freestyle, backstroke, and relays, and she received the 2002 Athlete of the Year while at American River College.

                Hub Morphew is one of two coaches inducted this year. He spent nearly four decades coaching at Cordova High School and American River College. He had signed a professional baseball contract with the Orioles but decided basketball was more to his liking. He was inducted into the LaSalle Club Coaches and Officials Hall of Fame in 2014 and is currently enjoying retirement as is Dave Andreotti whose accomplishments include founding the Dusters youth track club and Cordova Rugby Club.

                This year’s athletes have competed in volleyball, softball, football, soccer, golf, basketball, track, pole vault, swimming, and baseball. The single baseball athlete is the 1984 Cordova High School baseball team. That year, the team was ranked as fourth best nationwide and first in California with a record of 35-5-1. Several team athletes went on to pursue professional sports careers.

                Basketball, football, and soccer were represented by the male inductees. David Crouse began as a Little League pitcher but soon found himself, because of his 6’10” height, playing basketball. He played professional basketball internationally for twelve years in numerous countries. Jeff Allen earned numerous awards, and played professionally for Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers, making a game-changing interception in a critical game against the Pittsburgh Steelers.

                The eight women inductees include Kelly Crawford who played on Cordova High School’s golf team in 1981 and 1982 as the only female golfer and who made a name for herself in the world of golf. Ugo Eke, St. John Vianney School, and Bryson Stately, Cordova High School, share Olympic dreams. Eke set numerous records in track and hopes to represent Sierra Leone in the 2020 Olympics. Stately’s record includes a #2 nationwide ranking in pole vault, high school All-American in 2005, and she retains the record she set in the San Joaquin Section pole vault. She hopes to represent the U.S. in the 2020 Olympics.

                There was no particular effort by the Rancho Cordova Athletic Association or the jurors to select the women inductees, wrote Blanchard, saying that “the stars did align that way.”

                Since 1972 women in sports have gained more opportunities for development and in professional sports, which is where many of the hall of famers end up, she added, and the past quarter century has seen more accomplished female athletes in sports.

                “It’s a sign of the times that they are finding their way into the Rancho Cordova Sports Hall of Fame and other sports hall of fame recognition programs around the country.”

                For additional information, visit:

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Stingrays Swimming: Timing is Everything

By Jan Float  |  2018-04-27

May 5 is Time Trials, when all swimmers establish seed times for their first home meet against Arden Hills on May 12. Photo by Tom Jones

GOLD RIVER, CA (MPG) - It’s Showtime! The Stingrays are taking the plunge Back into the Water. Time to roll out the good times, set lofty goal times and streamline into new times. May 5 is Time Trials, when all swimmers establish seed times for their first home meet (aka Pool Party) against Arden Hills on May 12. Then the geared-up pendulum starts swinging into a full summer season. May Days are wind-the-clock days. Time keeps on tickin’, kickin’, flippin’ … into the future!

Swimmers, as individuals and a team, challenge themselves and shatter the clock. During this early time of the season, athletes often leap out of the pool, dropping whole seconds to dissolve in chlorine. Toward year’s end, in peak condition and competitive mode, races are cinched by 100ths of a second, far less than the blink of an eye. It’s about time!

Three years ago, the Stingrays invested in what’s called the wireless Colorado system, a mini-version of those seen at world-class levels. Red digital times pop up within nanoseconds of swimmers slamming into the wall and before they can whip their heads around to absorb results. A handy time tool during the adrenaline rush of a splash and dash.    

Because time is of the essence, parental-volunteer timers form a line at the finish of each lane and, with human precision, click their stopwatches. These backups are used in the rare event of a Colorado malfunction or as verification of a discrepancy or tie. When there’s a bonafide tie between two swimmers – watch out! Everybody gets wound up. Time for a race-off!  

Older swimmers are trained to count every stroke and every breath. In contrast to this photo (a 100-yard back tie-breaker), the duo is typically head for head. As the intensity swells, it’s inevitable: One will catch the other. Now you’ve got a serious duel in the pool, which ultimately comes down to the final technique, a seamless series of ingrained motion. A race-off never disappoints – always a breathtaking nail-biter. Time flies when you’re having fun.     

All dolphin-kick starts, turns, and finishes are critical … so much so that backups are added to backups, albeit oftentimes for different purposes. As Timing is everything, coaches grab their stopwatches and, while simultaneously viewing the Colorado, record teammates’ split times. Each lap counts; each swimmer reaches sky-high: “I’m so proud of my new personal best time, and ‘I Believe’ I’ll do even better next time!” For the coaching staff, these objective times are frequently called upon for split-second decisions.  

Rounding out May Days, on the 4th and 11th at 5:45, Gold River’s Mini-Rays are participating in their first two meets of the season. In previous years, they’ve swum in four. These mighty Minis work so hard and improve so much in their respective strokes (the 25 free and 25 back) that they’re being moved up next month into the Stingrays’ six-and-under age-group. You’re all encouraged to take a time out and watch them swim their hearts out. It’s showtime. Come on out and enjoy the show!  

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Cordova Softball Shuts Out Union Mine

By Rich Peters, MPG Editor  |  2018-04-20

Sophomore pitcher Alexis Wygand is 5-6 with a 4.58 ERA for the Lancers this season. Photo by Rick Sloan

RANCHO CORDOVA, CA (MPG) - For the second day in a row the Lancers defeated an overmatched Union Mine team, shutting them out 8-0. A day prior, Cordova knocked out 23 hits in route to a 15-1 victory over the Diamondbacks to take game one of the series in dominant fashion.

Cordova (5-6, 2-4) kept those hot bats rolling in game two, led by a pair of hits from Cassie Rucker, Emika Love and Erica Jackson. The freshman Jackson also knocked in two RBIs on the day. Rucker and Love lead the team in hitting with .533 and .429 batting averages, respectively.

Sophomore Alexis Wygand threw a complete game shutout for the Lancers, allowing just five hits and one walk while striking out four along the way. She pitched a complete game and allowed only one run the day before, stifling the Diamondbacks two days in a row.

Ahead for the Lancers is a matchup with Vista del Lago on Friday, April 20. First pitch is at 7pm under the lights at Folsom Lake College. They follow that up with a double-header in Galt on Tuesday, April 24. Game one is set for a 1pm first pitch.

The Lancers currently sit in third place of the Sierra Valley Conference standings behind Liberty Ranch and Rosemont. Union Mine resides at the bottom of the pack with just a 1-6 record overall.

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