Two first-round picks in the NFL draft.
An NCAA championship in women’s soccer.
It was that kind of year in 2013-14 for former area high school and Solano Community College athletes who have moved on to four-year schools.
Here’s a look back at the best of the best from a very good year:
Jason Verrett, TCU, football
Deone Bucannon, Washington State football
They played against each other in high school – Verrett for Rodriguez, Bucannon for Vanden – and had such outstanding senior seasons that it’s impossible to pick one over the other.
A first or second team selection on numerous All-America teams, Verrett was named the Co-Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year by the conference’s coaches. He ranked second in the Big 12 and seventh nationally with 1.5 passes defended per game (two interceptions, 14 pass breakups). Despite going at 5-foot-9 or 5-10 depending on who’s holding the tape, Verrett was the 25th overall pick in the NFL draft by the San Diego Chargers.
Like Verrett, Bucannon made several first and second All-America teams after leading the Pac-12 with 114 tackles, the first Cougar with back-to-back 100-tackle seasons since 1999-2000. Washington State’s Defensive MVP was picked by the Arizona Cardinals with the 27th pick in the NFL draft.
Katelyn Rowland, UCLA women’s soccer
In helping the Bruins win the 2013 National Championship, Rowland earned All-America honors and led the nation with a 0.27 goals against average. The Vacaville Christian grad allowed just seven goals and made 65 saves, posting 15 shutouts with a 21-1-2 record.
Chris Minner, Our Lady of the Lake women’s basketball
Minner’s Saints compiled a 27-5 record and advanced to the NAIA Division I Sweet 16 after winning the first postseason game in school history.
Craig Bailey (Fairfield) helped the Pacific University Boxers to a 7-3 record, its first winning season since 1987, one of just five teams in program history with seven or more wins.
Tra’Mayne Bondurant (Fairfield) helped Arizona (8-5) rip Boston College 42-19 in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl by making six tackles, five of them solo.
Quincy Forte (Vacaville) helped Eastern Washington reach the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision semifinals where they were upset by Towson 35-31. The junior running back ran 14 times for 77 yards and a touchdown, catching six passes for 68 yards and another TD. He finished the year with 1,208 yards and 11 TDs rushing and was named to the All-Big Sky second team.
After a standout junior season, Brock Hekking (Vacaville) of Nevada has been named to Athlon’s Preseason All-Mountain West team. In 2013 he had 48 tackles, leading the team with 14 ½ tackles for loss and nine sacks.
Marcel Jensen (Rodriguez) played well enough as a senior at Fresno State to earn All-MWC second team honors and to sign as a free agent with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He caught 26 passes for 353 yards and three TDs. In FSU’s 45-20 loss to USC in the Las Vegas Bowl, Jensen caught two passes for nine yards.
Melvin Mason (Vacaville) had a stellar season for Southern Oregon (7-4), rushing for 856 yards and six TDs in nine games while earning All-Frontier Conference second team honors.
One of the city’s all-time leading prep receivers, Cameron Richmond (Rodriguez) finished his career at Idaho State by hauling in 56 passes for 645 yards and six TDs.
Damon Treat (Vanden) helped St. Cloud State reach the NCAA Division II quarterfinals, where the Huskies (12-2) lost to unbeaten Northwest Missouri State. Treat was named to the NSIC Northern All-Conference second team offense and second team special teams.
The records set by Keith Welch Jr. (Fairfield) as quarterback for Lewis and Clark are too numerous to mention, though two stand out. He set the Northwest Conference career record for total yards (11,480) and he set the Lewis and Clark record for career passing yards (8,779). He also finished sixth in career rushing yards (2,701). He made the All-MWC first team offense and was one of 10 finalists for the Gagliardi Trophy, given to Division III’s top player.
Devon Damelio (Rodriguez) finished out her career at UC Davis by repeating as a first team All-Big West selection. She led the Aggies in kills (367), total attempts (973), serve receptions (603) and was second with 25 aces. Damelio became the eighth player in school history to top 1,000 career kills, finishing sixth on the all-time list with 1,058.
Erica Ramirez (Armijo, Solano) helped Columbia College win its first American Midwest Conference championship in just the second year of the program. Ramirez was named to the All-AMC first team, starting 17 games and finishing with a 13-2-2 record. She made 51 saves and had a 0.621 goals against average.
Ronnie Baker (Rodriguez) led Alaska in scoring (14.7 ppg) with 20 games in double figures, six with 20 or more. He ranked sixth in the Great Northern Athletic Conference in 3-point field goal percentage (42.5) and eighth in steals per game (1.5) en route to earning All-GNAC second team honors.
James Givens (Fairfield, Solano) of Maine-Fort Kent earned United States Collegiate Athletic Association Division I All-American honorable mention honors while leading the Bengals in scoring (14.4) and assists (4.8).
By averaging a double-double – 13.2 points and 10.7 points per game – Renique Fitzpatrick (Armijo) of Holy Names received All-Pacific West Conference honorable mention.
Ruby Leon (Fairfield, Solano) earned All-Commonwealth Coast Conference honorable mention after leading Eastern Nazarene in scoring at 11.9 points per game, reaching double figures 15 times, including 20 or more on four occasions.
An All-California Collegiate Athletic Association first team selection, Jazmine Miller (Vanden) led Chico State in scoring (13.2) and 3-pointers (50), ranking second in free throw percentage (82.6), rebounds (5.3), assists (2.4) and steals (1.1) as the Wildcats reached the NCAA Division II West Region semifinals with their first postseason win in four years.
Salonika Quewon-Owens (Armijo) led Domincan in scoring (12.8) and rebounding (7.9) and steals (2.7) en route to receiving All-PacWest honorable mention.
Shante Sands (Fairfield) of Cal Maritime earned All-California Pacific Conference second team honors after averaging 11.2 points and 4.5 points per game for the Keelhaulers.
In his first year at Trinity College, Marques Gales (Armijo) was honored as one of three recipients of the National Wrestling Coaches Association National Rookie Coach of the Year award.
In helping Claremont-Mudd-Scripps win its seventh straight Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference men’s crown, Alex Mendoza (Rodriguez) was second in the 1,650-yard freestyle (15 minutes, 54.19 seconds), and 500 free (4:35.46) and fifth in the 400 individual medley (4:06.25.
Aaron Brasher (Solano) batted .309 for Bellevue in earning All-Midlands Collegiate Athletic Conference first team honors. He helped the Bruins advance to the finals of their NAIA regional, one win away from a spot in the national tournament.
Eastern New Mexico’s Matthew Burks (Wood) earned National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association All-American honorable mention honors and was named to the South Central all-region teams by Daktronics and the American Baseball Coaches Association. He was also named to the All-Lone Star Conference first team after leading ENMU in hitting (.384) and the LSC in home runs (10).
Alex Crosby (Wood, Solano) and Anthony Pezzola (Solano) helped lead Sonoma State to the CCAA regular season title. The Seawolves then went 0-2 in the conference tournament and 0-2 in the NCAA Division II regionals.
A late surge helped Brendan Farney (Fairfield, Vacaville) lead California with a .308 batting average.
Senior third baseman Gene Nanney (Rodriguez, Solano) finished his career with Culver-Stockton, batting .333 (4 for 12) with a home run, double and six RBIs in three NAIA regional games. He went 3 for 5 with a double and sacrifice fly in an 11-10 loss to Missouri Baptist, and 1 for 4 with a two-run homer and three RBIs in a season-ending loss to Bryan. Nanney, an All-Heart of America Athletic Conference honorable mention pick, batted .316 with 10 doubles and 22 RBIs.
A.J. Quintero (Vacaville), a senior pitcher for Cal State Monterey Bay, earned All-CCAA third team honors, recovering from a rough start to go 6-3 with a 2.88 earned run average.
In his senior season, Domenick Romero (Rodriguez) helped Friends reach the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference title game and a berth in the NAIA regionals, where they went 0-2. Ending up 37-24, they were one win shy of the school record. Romero made the KCAC Gold Glove team at second base.
Zach Welz (Solano) batted .304 and led Texas Southern with eight doubles and 33 RBIs, earning All-Southwestern Athletic Conference second team honors.
Junior shortstop Cheyenne Cordes (Rodriguez) of California was named to the All-Pac 12 Conference first team and National Fastpitch Coaches Association All-Region team. She led the team in nearly every offensive category, batting .401 with 13 home runs and 40 RBIs.
Alyssa Landrith (Vacaville), a junior left-hander, helped Rutgers amass a 28-19 record with a .596 winning percentage, the program’s best since 1995. Landrith went 17-8 with a 2.45 ERA and 186 strikeouts in 177 innings, earning American Athletic Conference All-Tournament honors.
Junior outfielder Dana Manibusan (Solano) earned All-Great Plains Athletic Conference honors for Hastings after batting .306.
Rochelle Roberts (Vanden) was named Sun Belt Conference Freshman of the Year and to the All-SBC first team in her first season at Louisiana-Monroe. Roberts batted .343 with 18 stolen bases.
In leading Bethune-Cookman with a .351 average, 65 runs scored and 26 stolen bases, junior outfielder Calesha Shelley (Armijo) was named to the All-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.
Hannah Wilbur (Solano) of Oklahoma Baptist received NAIA All-America honorable mention after setting a school record for wins in a season with 23 and led the Sooner Athletic Conference with 205 strikeouts. Not surprisingly, she was named SAC Pitcher of the Year and was named All-SAC first team.
Aja Erskine (Rodriguez) ran a leg for the standout Chico State women’s 4×100 relay team, which won the CCAA title – as part of the Wildcats’ fifth straight conference championships – and qualified for the Division II national championships. They finished 10th in the trials, missing the finals by one spot.
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.