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2013’s top team performances
2013’s top individual performances
Editor’s note: More so than any other year in recent memory, 2013 saw several sports programs look to their past to honor coaches, teams and players. In one instance, a pair of coaches came out of retirement to coach their former team. Below, in the order they occurred, are three events that capture that nostalgia of years gone by.
El Dorado wrestling program honors its heritage
El Dorado annual wrestling banquet last February at the Cold Springs Golf and Country Club acknowledged its past — all the way back to its first-ever coach and the program’s founder, Bill Hickey, who along with five alumni were inducted onto the Cougars’ Legacy Wall.
Hickey, a resident of Grants Pass, Oregon, was the guest of honor and considered the founder of high school wrestling in the greater Sacramento area. At El Dorado, Hickey coached and taught 11 years and then another 20-plus years at Sacramento City College.
MC’d by Cougar assistant coach Dave Pimentel, Hickey’s presence highlighted an evening brought together wrestling alumni from each decade from the 1950s forward. Hickey’s first four-year wrestler, Dave Fickle, a Legacy Wall selectee who went on to success for UC Davis, was in attendance as well as the two others slated for the wall, Steve Niles and Ron Lung McKensie. Two others inducted, Casey Oliver and Alex Docherty, are deceased but had representatives attend. El Dorado alumni Frank Peterson spoke on Docherty’s behalf.
At El Dorado, Hickey oversaw a program that began with 20-30 kids but increased to 90 kids and full varsity, JV and freshman teams when he left.
Section champs reunite
The 1983 El Dorado High School Varsity football team reunited in late October to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its San Joaquin section championship.
That year, the Cougars crushed the Oakdale Mustangs 57-7 to cap a string of eight straight victories.
Players and coaches traveled from all over the country (Alabama, Idaho, Utah, Oregon and throughout California) to share memories. Many had not seen one another in decades.
The ’83 Cougars and coaches were honored at Friday night’s game against Liberty Ranch. During halftime, the ’83 team, like old times, burst through a banner and were recognized for their achievements on the football field.
A moment of silence was observed for four deceased members of the ’83 team: Kurt Bergmeister, Craig Locher, Kyle Kenworthy and Brad Mirande.
Head Coach Mike Coulson, Coach Dick Perry, Coach Gary Kenworthy, Coach David Bolster and Coach Ray Everingham put together the weekend with help from players Mike Watkins and Brant Gasink.
Ponderosa wrestling goes old school
SHINGLE SPRINGS — Ponderosa coaching icons, Richard Fox and Steve Escobar, returned mat side in early December for the Bruins’ match with visiting Bella Vista.
Both California Wrestling Hall of Fame inductees, the two won 19 league championships, eight section titles, coached 30 state medalists and complied the nation’s second longest dual meet win streak in their 20 years together, including a won-loss record of 349-43 — make that 350 victories — after Ponderosa’s 57-18 defeat of the Broncos.
Escobar coached from 1971-1998, Fox from 1978-2000. Within that period, they coached their sons: Tyson, Ryan and Bryce Escobar; Christian, Brandon and Evan Fox. All six were state qualifiers, five medaled.
“They were the two individuals who put the league and section championships banners on the gym wall and have built our winning legacy that we still have today,” said Tyson, the current Bruin head coach. “In any given sport at our school and probably the county, they were probably the most successful coaches by what they achieved.”
Both have retired from teaching, Steve in 2010 and Richard last spring.