HAMMAMET, Tunisia (April 12, 2018) — Team USA notched its second medal in as many days as the World Taekwondo Junior Championships continued in Tunisia. CJ Nickolas (Brentwood, Calif.) took the silver medal in the male -68kg division on Thursday, April 12, one day after Anastasija Zolotic (Largo, Fla.) won gold in the female -52kg class. Nickolas is a student at Givans Taekwondo in Antioch, California.
Nickolas breezed through his first two matches of the day with a 29-1 win over Somalia’s Abdullah Fuad Dahir and a 23-5 victory against Italy’s Andrea Riondino to reach the round of 16. He then scored a 12-3 win over Afghanistan’s Rashid Sarwari and edged Chinese Taipei’s Cheng-Chi Wei in overtime to advance to the medal round.
In his semifinal match with Serbia’s Dusan Bozanic, Nickolas broke an 8-8 tie with a scoring kick in the final 10 seconds to prevail and move on to the final. The gold-medal match against Iran’s Mohammad Mahdi Emadi saw Nickolas fall behind 5-1 after two rounds and then 13-2 early in the third. The American would rally to pull within 13-8 in the final minute but Emadi held off the charge to win by a score of 18-10 and claim the gold medal.
“I am proud of him,” said Givans Taekwondo owner Ed Givans, who is also Nickolas’ father.
CJ has a 4.0 GPA…he also plays basketball, runs track and is on a dance team at his church called Generation of Praise. His favorite book is Infantry – Born to Fight by his dad, Edward Givans. favorite TV show is American Ninja Warrior…favorite movies are Planet of the Apes, The Incredibles and Kingsmen/Secret Service…favorite singer is Stevie Wonder…favorite foods are Korean barbeque, burrito bowls from Chipotle and Sprite…favorite athlete is Derrick Rose…favorite taekwondo athlete is Alexey Denisenko…his mother is his biggest inspiration…his proudest moment in Taekwondo to date is making the Cadet National Team for a second straight year in 2015 and competing at the World Championships…favorite quote: “Practice as if you are the worst, perform as if you are the best.” – Mahatma Gandhi. CJ was awarded the 2015 Stanford TKD Athlete of the Year. View his page on the Team USA website.
By Don Martin II
The Antioch Speedway roars back into action this Saturday night, April 14 with an exciting six division All Star Series program honoring the late Larry Damitz. Featured divisions this weekend include the Wingless Spec Sprints, A Modified, B Modifieds, Limited Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Dwarf Cars.
In recent seasons, the division of choice for Damitz, who was racing well into his 80s, was the Limited Late Models. In his final seven seasons at Antioch, he won five championships and finished second in those other two seasons. He won over 50 Main Events in his illustrious career at Antioch Speedway alone, and he was also recently inducted into the Vallejo Sports Hall Of Fame.
For The Limited Late Model racers, this event is for them. They spent many years trying to beat the orange and blue #15 car, wheeled impressively by Damitz. Last season, it was Kimo Oreta taking the wheel and making sure the Sun Drop Racing team maintained their championship status. Though he was very consistent and won multiple races, he still had to fight off the challenges of 2013 champion Jim Freethy and Mark Garner.
Freethy and Garner are both expected to contend for this year’s championship. Garner was doing double division duty last season, but he has put his B Modified up for sale in order to focus on his Limited Late Model effort. The man who has won more Main Events in this division at Antioch than anybody else, Mike Gustafson, will be another driver to watch out for. He was a two-time feature winner last season. Chris Long is anticipated in the John Keith car, and other drivers to watch for include John Evans, Lori Brown, Chad Hammer and Ryan Cherezian.
The A Modified division kicked off their 2018 season two weeks ago with Nick DeCarlo scoring the impressive victory. DeCarlo tends to bounce from track to track, but he has championships to his credit at Watsonville and Petaluma. A decision on Nick’s behalf to compete for the Antioch crown would certainly make him a top threat. Reigning champion Bobby Motts Jr notched the second place finish at the opener as he attempts a title defense. Five time division champion Scott Busby has his eyes on a track record 73 career feature wins, and other drivers to watch for this week include Sean O’Gara, rookie Buddy Kniss, hard charger Trent Wentworth, Mike Salazar and Bobby Montalvo.
Fred Ryland might have been a surprise entrant at the opener as he was the 2017 Merced Speedway champion. However, he picked up right where he left off with another Antioch win. The 2015 Antioch champion, who also has a Hobby Stock championship to his credit, is rapidly approaching 50 career feature wins. Ryland’s presence in the field makes things very interesting and helps make Antioch one of the most exciting B Modified programs in the state. Other drivers to watch for in the field include 2016 champion Trevor Clymens, 2017 champion KC Keller, past Street Stock champion Todd Gomez, past Hobby Stock champion Guy Ahlwardt and Tommy Fraser.
The Wingless Spec Sprint division enters its 20th season on the roster, and it appears as if 2004 champion Bob Newberry has his sights set on the championship. Newberry won more Main Events than anybody last season before settling for third in the standings. Another driver to keep an eye on is the only driver to have competed in all 20 seasons in this division, 2017 runnerup Rick Panfili. A competitive group of racers in this class includes Alan Miranda, Roy Fisher, Shannon Newton, Brandon Burd, Abigail Gonderman, Adam Teves, James East and Bryan Grier, who hasn’t officially said if he’s attempting a title defense this year.
The Hobby Stock division continues to have a strong presence at the speedway. In the opener, Michael Cooper looked very impressive in scoring the win, leaving the battle for second between reigning champion Cameron Swank and 2010 champion Chris Sorensen. Past Super Hobby Stock and Figure 8 champion Jim Robbins threw his hat into the ring this year and looked very fast in the opener. Likewise, Chris Bennett also figures to be in line for his first career feature win. Other drivers to watch for this week include Jordan Swank, Travis Tabucchi, Ricky Foster, Josh Leach, Russell Shearer and Haley Gomez.
There was plenty of disappointment to go around in the Dwarf Car community after the rain out canceled what was sure to be a big event last week. Regardless, Mike Corsaro enters the season as the reigning champion. Corsaro may very well be the driver to beat this year as he has become very consistent in recent seasons. David Michael Rosa is knocking on the door to his first career feature win and may be another driver to watch in the championship hunt. Other drivers to watch for this week include last season’s top rookie, Devan Kammermann, Brian Gray, David Rosa, Charlie Correia and 2016 champion Kevin Miraglio.
It looks as if the weather will open a window and allow this exciting six division program to unfold. For further information on this and other happenings at Contra Costa County’s only place to watch auto races live and in person, go to www.antiochspeedway.com.
On Sunday, February 4, football fans across the country will gather with friends and family to watch Super Bowl LII. The California Highway Patrol (CHP) is teaming up with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to remind motorists to designate a sober driver before the game begins.
“Drunk driving is completely avoidable, but continues to be a serious problem,” CHP Acting Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “We want motorists to remember that drinking and driving is a choice that can have catastrophic results. If you choose to drink, do not drive.”
According to preliminary data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System, during last year’s Super Bowl, one person was killed in an alcohol-involved collision and 41 others were injured on California’s roadways. That same day, there were 247 arrests made by the CHP for driving under the influence (DUI). Consequences of a DUI arrest are jail time, the loss of a driver license, higher insurance rates, court fees, car towing and repair, and lost wages from time off work.
“There are no excuses when it comes to driving under the influence,” Acting Commissioner Stanley added. “Have a game plan ready to avoid a tragedy. Leave your car keys at home if you will be consuming alcoholic beverages, and use public transportation, a designated driver, or a ride-hailing service to stay safe.”
If you are hosting a Super Bowl party, be a team player and help keep impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel. Make proper arrangements and designate your sober driver before the big game begins. And remember: Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.
The public can help by calling 9-1-1 if they suspect a drunk driver. Callers should be prepared to give the vehicle’s description, location, license plate number, and direction of travel.
The mission of the CHP is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service, and Security.
By Luke Johnson
Najee Harris will become the first Antioch High School alum to play in a national championship game in college football.
The true freshman running back and No. 4 Alabama upset No. 1 Clemson in the Sugar Bowl on New Year’s Day, 24-6. The Crimson Tide now faces No. 3 Georgia in the College Football Playoff National Championship in Atlanta tonight at 5:17 p.m. (Pacific)
“If [Alabama] wins, it will be big, but I also think it will push him even more to get it again next year,” Harris’ personal trainer and close friend Marcus Malu said. “I think Antioch, as a city and a school, that we need to build on that, [and] make sure that we don’t have a one-hit wonder, and turnout some more kids.”
Harris has rushed for 306 yards, 5.6 yards per carry and three touchdowns this season, on top of six receptions for 45 yards. His longest reception came last week for 22 yards — a game in which he had no carries.
Alabama’s ground game has been led by juniors Damien Harris and Bo Scarbrough — who are potential prospects for this year’s NFL Draft. Damien Harris is projected to be picked in the second or third round while Scarbrough is expected to be selected between the third and fifth rounds, according to Senior Draft Analyst Charlie Campbell of Walter Football.
Najee Harris has been Alabama’s third option at running back with only 55 carries this season. However, Malu feels his limited action may be a good thing. Harris holds every rushing record at Antioch High School — including carries with 838. He played the majority of his senior year (291 carries) with a knee injury that he hid from the public, for which he underwent surgery last January.
Malu believes this was a productive year for Harris to allow his banged-up body to recover while getting acclimated to the highest level of competition in college football. Although Malu still hopes Harris is utilized and has an excellent performance during tonight’s contest.
“He understands that it’s a process,” Malu said. “If he gets in I’m sure they’ll give him a few touches. If he doesn’t, he understands that this is the business.”
With a lot of local anticipation for this upcoming game between two teams in the Southeastern Conference, Malu said that people come up to him at least three to four times per day to ask about Harris.
“They say, ‘Hey, is the kid gon’ play? Is the kid gon’ get some touches?’ And I’m like, ‘Man, you know, you should be emailing [coach] Nick Saban,’” Malu said while chuckling.
The game will air on ESPN. For more information about the NCAA National Championship football game click here.
By Don Martin II
ANTIOCH, CA…January 1…New Year’s Day meant the Winter Classic was happening Antioch Speedway Monday afternoon. Oval Motorsports began their 21st season of promoting the 3/8-mile clay oval with a special four division program featuring A Modifieds, B Modifieds, Dwarf Cars and Hobby Stocks.
The A Modified Main Event was won by Williston, North Dakota’s Travis Peery. Peery competed at tracks in Medford, Oregon and Yreka, California before moving to North Dakota. He took the lead from Raymond Lindeman and then had a battle with five-time champion Scott Busby during the final 10 laps.
On a restart with 8 laps to go, Busby used the inside line to take the lead from Peery. However, when Chester Kniss rolled in Turn 4, the ensuing red flag negated Busby’s pass. Peery chose the inside on this restart and withstood an outside groove challenge by Busby over the next two laps to hold the lead. As Peery brought it home to victory, 2017 race winner Nick DeCarlo made a late pass on Busby for second. Busby settled for third ahead of reigning track champion Bobby Motts Jr. and Jeff Faulkner.
Fred Ryland took the lead from his wife Patti Ryland early on and won the B Modified Main Event. F. Ryland is the reigning Merced Speedway champion, and he held off reigning Chico and Marysville champion Philip Shelby down the stretch for a well-earned victory. Les Friend finished third ahead of Craig Nieman and Mark Garner.
Reigning champion Mike Corsaro scored an impressive victory in the Dwarf Car Main Event. Two-time champion Danny Wagner led the first half of the race before overheating issues sidelined him. During the second half of the race, Corsaro led with Jack Haverty and Michael Grenert in close pursuit. Grenert made a pass on Haverty for second with six laps to go. Two laps later, Grenert made a slide job move around Corsaro in Turn 2, only to drift too high as Corsaro raced back into the lead down the backstretch. Corsaro scored a hard-fought victory ahead of Grenert, Haverty, Chuck Conover and David Michael Rosa.
The Hobby Stock Main Event featured an entertaining side-by-side battle between Chris Long and Orland Raceway star, Brad Ray. After technical inspections following the race, Ray was disqualified and Long was elevated to first. Orland Raceway champion Jeremy Langenderfer was riding along in third when he spun on the last lap, handing the position to Chris Bennett. Bennett’s third place became second with the disqualification of Ray.
The Antioch Speedway 2018 schedule should be made available shortly. For further information on what’s happening at the track, check out the official website at www.antiochspeedway.com.
SACRAMENTO—The Pittsburg High Pirates had the opportunity of winning its first state football championship in school history, but they blew a 21-point halftime lead.
Pittsburg lead 21-0 midway through the second quarter. The Pirates felt pumped and excited as they were in good position. But by the end of the night, they were disappointed with tears running down many of the players faces as they had to witness the Narbonne Gauchos, of Harbor City in Southern California, hold the CIF 1-A State title trophy high in the air after 28-21 loss against Narbonne.
“I’m disappointed for our fans and I’m disappointed for our kids,” Head Coach Victor Galli said. “We had a 21-point lead and with our defense we’re not supposed to lose.”
The game was won on a 70-yard touchdown return by Logan Taylor, off a botched field goal attempt by Pittsburg’s Miguel Romo, making it 28-21.
The game was tied earlier in the fourth quarter when Jalen Chatham hit Aaron McGee for a seven-yard touchdown pass.
With less than minute late in the clock, Pittsburg looked to be in business for a comeback, but were quickly shut down as junior Willie Harts III threw an interception straight into the hands of Demonti Peoples.
Pittsburg started off the game strong. Junior Willie Harts was by far the Pirates star player this ahem, and he made his presence felt at Hornet Stadium as he intercepted a pass in the first drive of the game.
It resulted in setting Pittsburg scoring first in a drive that ended with Darrion Bartley slamming in home for a one-yard touchdown run.
Pittsburg added another touchdown, Harts was involved in It as well. Harts received a 21-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Justin Boyd.
The Boyd to Harts connection struck again in second quarter for another touchdown, but that was the last time the Pittsburg offense got to sniff the end zone.
With the wind hitting hard, Harts was only able to punt the ball one yard. Narbonne took advantage of it, and after a few player Jermar Jackson found the end zone on a four-yard touchdown.
A field goal in the second quarter by Edgar Ramos had Narbonne going 21-10 into halftime.
A tough loss indeed, but many people stated this was going to be a rebuilding year for Pittsburg.
Instead, they won the Bay Valley Athletic League title in undefeated fashion, while also qualifying for state championship for the first time ever
“I would have loved to really prove them wrong with a win,” Galli said. “We’re going back to the drawing board as coaches and work hard for next season.”
Pittsburg has graduated top players like A’Jae Boyd, Timorese Finau, Michael Pryor and Justin Sanders, but they return a lot of young talent.
Justin Boyd returns for his senior campaign, and will battle it out for the starting position against Trey Turner who went down with an ACL injury earlier in the year.
Defensively, Linebacker Jack Lacy III and four staff recruit Jacob Bandes will continue to be forces for the Pirates.
“A lot of rookies from this year will look back at this year and say they could do it better,” Bandes said. “I’m going to lead those rookies next year, so we can do better.”
Meet the two-time World Record-holder at Barnes & Noble in Antioch Monday, Dec. 18
By Allen Payton
Having previously equaled the World Record, Martinez-born and Pittsburg-raised Eddie Hart was a strong favorite to win the 100-Meter Dash at the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. The inexplicable happened, he was disqualified for arriving seconds after his quarterfinal heat. Ten years of training to become the “World’s Fastest Human.” The title attached to the Olympic 100-meter champion was lost in a heartbeat. How could this have possibly happened on athletics’ biggest stage, the Olympic Games?
Hart provides his story in a new book he’s written with the help of friend and former Oakland Tribune sports reporter, Dave Newhouse, entitled “Disqualified – Eddie Hart, Munich 1972, and the Voices of The Most Tragic Olympics.”
A Champion Since High School
Hart moved to Pittsburg when he was eight years old, and attended Village Elementary and Central Junior High. He graduated from Pittsburg High in 1967 where he lettered every year as a member of the track team, in the 100, 200 and long jump. He won “the conference in four events, including the 4×100 relay in 1966, then he repeated in the 100 and 200 in 1967,” Hart shared.
He then went on to attend Contra Costa College in San Pablo.
“That’s where I really blossomed,” Hart said.
It’s where he won the 100 and 200 at the junior college state meet in 1969.
Hart then transferred to U.C. Berkeley where he majored in Physical Education, because he wanted to be a track coach. In his first year, he won the 100-meter race at the PAC-8 championships and placed second in the 200.
Then at the NCAA national championships that year, Hart won the 100 and running anchor, helped his team win the 4×100 relay, as well.
One of his teammates, Isaac Curtis, who went on to play wide receiver for the Cincinnati Bengals, came in second in that same 100-meter race, making it the only time in NCAA history that teammates from the same school placed first and second in the championship race.
“At the end of that year I made the U.S. national team and toured Europe for six weeks competing in various meets,” Hart shared. “We competed in France, in Russia and Oslo, and Sweden, also.”
Champion in the 5,000-meter Steve Prefontaine was on that same team.
“I knew Pre, well,” Hart said.
First Major Challenge
Then in 1971 he placed second in the 100 and third in the 200 at the NCAA Championships due to an injury earlier in the year, having missed half the season and not even competing in the conference championships.
Hart withdrew from school to train for the Olympics and became an assistant to the head track coach in 1972, at the same time. He entered open competition that year and during the meets Hart made the qualifying times in the 100. In fact, he missed the World Record by just 1/10th of a second running 10 flat at the West Coast Relays in Fresno.
Second Major Challenge
Three weeks before the Olympic trials Hart injured his right hamstring while running in the 200 at the U.S. Championships in Seattle. He couldn’t do any starts between that injury and his first race at the Olympic trials in Eugene, Oregon.
“It was terrifying,” he said. “It was tough.”
Then at the trials, “It was a nightmare,” Hart said. “Each race, everyone was ahead of me. I just kept pulling up.”
Asked if he was hesitant, he replied, “Oh, very much so. I was afraid I was going to reinjure myself.”
“You have to run four races,” Hart explained. “A heat, a quarterfinal, a semi-final and then the final.”
In the semifinal I was fourth and they only took four to the final. “I barely made it,” he stated.
“It was a wind-aided race and the first five guys ran a 9.9 in the 100 meters and the fifth-place guy didn’t even qualify,” Hart continued. “I was the fourth guy and I was scared to death, because from the finals they only took the top three.”
In the blocks at the starting line, he was still thinking about his leg, which was bothering him.
“This was all the marbles right here, there was nothing to save,” he shared.
“The gun went off and I was in a dream,” Hart explained. “I ran the best race of my life.”
Before or after, “Ever,” he said. “That was it.”
“I was an Olympian, an Olympic trials champion and the World Record holder at 9.9,” Hart stated proudly.
“It was legal, not wind-aided,” he added.
Hart had equaled the World Record in the 100-meter dash, which had been achieved by only two others before. It wasn’t broken until 1991 when Carl Lewis ran it in 9.86.
He also qualified for the Olympics as the anchor for the U.S. Men’s 4×100 relay team, which was made up of the four finalists in the 100-meter race.
From Triumph to Tragedy
About a month later he was with the U.S. Olympic Team in Boden, Maine for a few weeks to train in similar weather as Munich, Germany. They then competed in Oslo, Norway, France and Italy before arriving in the Olympic Village just a few days before the Opening Ceremony.
A few days later he ran and won his heat.
“It was easier to make it to the finals at the Olympic games than it was to make the finals at the Olympic trials,” Hart shared. “Of the top 10 to 15 sprinters in the world, the top 10 were in the U.S. at that time.”
After all three U.S. sprinters had won their heats, the coach said “let’s go back to the Olympic Village and rest” Hart explained, “because there was so much time between races. But, that was his schedule.”
The Village was only about a mile or less away from the Olympic Stadium. But, the coach had the incorrect time for the start of the quarterfinals.
They rushed back to the stadium, but it was too late for Hart. He had missed his race and was disqualified. Thus, the title of his book.
Tragedy Ends in Triumph
Hart’s Olympic story didn’t end there. The following week after the tragic murder of the 11 Israeli team members had halted the games for a day for the memorial, Hart once again ran anchor for the U.S. 4×100 relay team. They won that race in World Record time and he became an Olympic Gold Medalist and a World Record holder, once again. See video of Hart’s leg of the race here.
Returning to Pittsburg he was met with celebrations by the Mayor of Pittsburg and the city.
Hart returned to college to complete his degree, and became a paid assistant track coach at Cal Berkeley. He has since started his philanthropic efforts through his Eddie Hart All In One Foundation which holds an Olympian Track Education Clinic at Pittsburg High, each year.
Faith has been a big part of his life, all of his life. Hart has been a member of Stewart Memorial Methodist Church in Pittsburg since elementary school. He’s taught Sunday School for 35 years and for the past 20 years he’s taught the men’s class.
Asked if faith played a part in his Olympic journey, Hart responded, “In every aspect. I grew up in the church, it couldn’t have been any other way.”
“I never prayed to God for success in track,” he shared. “I asked God to give me strength in life to face the challenges as they come.”
“My prayer is that His will be done. God is interested in spiritual things, in our soul not our flesh,” Hart continued. “Ultimately at the end of the day whatever physical things we’ve accomplished here will be left here. It’s about our souls which are eternal. Our flesh is going to burn up. The Bible is clear.”
Asked if his story will become a movie, Hart said, “We’re working on it.”
But, he has to think about who will play the part of him, he shared with a laugh.
His book includes a foreword by Harvard professor, Dr. Cornel West who has been a friend since high school, and whose brother Cliff was Hart’s roommate at Cal.
See Eddie Hart and get your copy of his book signed on Monday, Dec. 18 at 7:00 p.m. at Barnes & Noble book store in Antioch at 5709 Lone Tree Way.
Feet First Foundation and Toys for Tots presents Sparring Expo, a holiday event on Saturday December 16th, 2017.
Hosted by Sean Sharkey and Christian Sharkey, the event will raise funds to help at-risk youth in Contra Costa County in the fight against human trafficking – saving lives one by one.
Sponsored by Urban Barber College, Toys for Tots by U.S. Marines, Fightkore Gym, & Feet First Foundation
Special Guests include Pro Fighters Angel Cordon and Tino Avila plus a Special Guest.
Doors Open at 5:00-7:30 pm. Live Boxing Expedition with local fighters follows a Holiday Reception 7:30-9:00 pm. The event will include small plate appetizers and drinks
at 816 Main Street in Martinez.
Tickets are $20 for adults and $10 for youth. Bring a toy for Toys for Tots and get 1/2 off ticket, and are available here – https://www.eventbrite.com/e/feet-first-foundation-and-toys-for-tots-present-sparring-expo-tickets-39945407790