With the 2017-2018 school year approaching, Prep2Prep takes a look at 10 of the top rising athletes in each coverage area. This feature focuses on the rising athletes within the North Coast Section, along with 10 other underclassmen who are already regarded among the best in their respective sports. This is not a comprehensive list, and all athletes are listed in alphabetical order.
LJ Anderson, Moreau Catholic football/basketball
Anderson, who recently gave his verbal commitment to Colorado State for football, is a lockdown defender in the secondary, and can be a big-play receiver as well. On the hardwood, he will be one of the team’s top returners after averaging nearly six points and two steals per game last year.
Baylei Coston, Freedom football/basketball
Coston earned All-BVAL honors in both sports last school year, and is the primary receiving threat returning for the Falcons after racking up 63 catches for 1,337 yards and 15 touchdowns last season, with three interceptions on defense. He is also one of the league’s top guards on the hardwood.
Micah Fontenot-Cornely, St. Bernard’s football/track
Fontenot-Cornely was an All-NCS selection at receiver last fall after hauling in 55 balls for 1,225 yards and 18 touchdowns. In the spring, he made the NCS Meet of Champions finals in the 110 meter hurdles and also qualified in the long jump.
Bubba Gomez, Fremont Christian soccer/basketball/baseball
Our NCS Sophomore of the Year in baseball, Gomez is already being recruited by multiple Division I schools for his spring sport. But he makes this list for his well-rounded approach to high school sports, as a key contributor in all three. He had 83 saves last fall as the keeper for the soccer team, and then averaged nine points and four rebounds per game in basketball season.
Katie Hurst, Fortuna volleyball/track
As a sophomore, Hurst was second on the Huskies’ volleyball team in kills, helping lead them to the NCS Division IV playoffs. In the spring, she really flourished, winning the NCS Meet of Champions in the high jump and placing third in the long jump. She then placed second in the high jump at the CIF state track championships.
Ryan Nall, Acalanes football/track
Nall was an Honorable Mention All-NCS selection for football last season after notching four sacks and 8.5 tackles for a loss on the defensive line. In the spring, he qualified for the CIF track championships in the discus, after placing third in the NCS Meet of Champions, and will be among the top seven returners in the state for the event next year.
Miles Owens, Bishop O’Dowd football/basketball
Owens decided to play football for the first time in high school last fall, and it is already paying off for the 6’ 7” offensive tackle, who now has offers from schools such as Cal, UCLA, Oregon State, and Utah. He is also a key figure in the front-court for the Dragons’ perennially powerful basketball team.
Ashley Thoms, Campolindo basketball/track
Thoms, who also won our Female Breakthrough Athlete of the Year award, averaged 15 points per game in basketball and reached the 1,000-point plateau for her career. In the spring, she reached the NCS Meet of Champions in the triple jump – her first year in the sport – after jumping 34’ 8.5”, fifth-best in school history.
Cassidy Tshimbalanga, Carondelet soccer
Tshimbalanga broke through on the high school scene last winter, after already having been a member of the U-16 National Team. She scored 14 goals with four assists last season, and her performance this coming year will have a big impact on whether the Cougars can capture their first section title since 2011.
John Torchio, Campolindo football/basketball
Torchio likely takes over for Jacob Westphal at quarterback this season for the Cougars, who are seeking back-to-back Division II titles. Last fall, he had 664 yards receiving with seven touchdowns, and added seven interceptions and six forced fumbles on defense. He was a key contributor on Campo’s basketball team which reached the NCS championship game.
10 more who have already ‘arrived’ . . .
Angel Jackson, Salesian basketball
Our NCS Sophomore of the Year last season is regarded as one of the top post players in the state, and averaged 11.2 points, 10.2 rebounds, and an amazing 5.8 blocks per game last season, despite playing low minutes in a number of blowout victories.
Kali Hatcher, Saint Mary’s track
At the NCS Meet of Champions, Hatcher won two individual events – the 300 meter hurdles and the triple jump – and also placed second in the long jump and ran on the Panthers’ second-place 4x400 meter relay team. At the CIF state meet, she placed second in the triple jump, sixth in the long jump, and helped the relay team place sixth.
Miranda Heckman, Granada swimming
Heckman has already established herself as one of the best freestyle swimmers in the state and the nation, after winning the 200 and 500 at the state championships, setting a meet record in the 500.
Nicole May, Foothill softball
May was our NCS Freshman of the Year this spring after dominating the section and leading the Falcons to the NCS Division I title. The Oklahoma commit struck out 293 batters in the circle, and hit .460 with 10 home runs and 36 RBI at the plate.
Tierra Robinson-Jones, Bishop O’Dowd track
Robinson-Jones took the state by storm, placing second in the 400 meters at the CIF championships in a time of 53.24, and then leading the Dragons’ 4x400 meter relay team to a state title. She also led the 4x100 meter relay to a NCS title and fourth-place finish at the state championships.
Lexi Romero, Livermore soccer
The Cowboys have enjoyed a meteoric rise the past couple seasons, and our back-to-back NCS Sophomore and Junior of the Year has a big reason to do with that. The Air Force commit has scored 40 goals in the last two years, and led her team to a section title last winter.
Charlie Rudy, Novato lacrosse
It’s scary to think what Rudy can do in her senior year, after she netted 160 goals with 62 assists for the Hornets, leading them to the NCS Division I title. The Colorado commit had nine goals in the title game alone.
Alexei Sancov, Northgate swimming
Sancov set CIF state championship records in the 100 and 200 freestyle, the former mark coming as the lead leg on the Broncos’ state-champion 400 relay team. He also won four events at the NCS championships.
Tatiana Toleafoa, James Logan volleyball
The MVAL Most Valuable Player racked up a state-best 635 kills last fall, leading the Colts to a 37-win season. She has over 1,400 kills and close to 1,000 digs during her varsity career.
Haley Van Dyke, Campolindo basketball
Van Dyke is a true dual-threat for the Cougars, and only continues to get better. She set a NorCal regional finals record with 46 points in a win over Saint Mary’s-Albany, and then pulled down 25 rebounds in the CIF Division III title game, tying a state record. For the season, our NCS Junior of the Year averaged nearly 24 points, more than 15 rebounds, and nearly five steals per game.