Category Archives: Sports

Good showing for Berkeley in city’s third Half Marathon

One of the top five finishers in the Berkeley Half Marathon 2015. Photo: Ted Friedman
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On Sunday, Anna Bretan of Berkeley took first place in the women’s race of the 2015 Berkeley Half Marathon for the third consecutive year. Bretan, whose time was 1:18:34, has also finished first in the San Francisco Marathon for the past three consecutive years.

There was also a Berkeley connection for Oakland resident Sam Robinson, who placed first in the men’s race, with a time of 1:12:22. Robinson is a student at UC Berkeley, finishing his Ph.D. in history.

And Holly McIlvaine, also of of Berkeley, took second place in the women’s half marathon with a time of 1:21:12. (See full results on the Berkeley Half Marathon’s website.)Continue reading »

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Elisha Davis: Determined to be great, on and off the court

Elisha Davis, a Berkeley High alum, is succeeding on the court and off. Photo: Sun Devil Athletics
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For a college student athlete, there is no season more important than your senior year. It’s the year when everything could soon be coming to an end: the long practices, the extra work on weekends, the countless hours in the library. For many, it is a bittersweet reality.

For Arizona State Sun Devil and Berkeley High graduate Elisha Davis, senior year is an opportunity to live out dreams she has worked for since she was a child. Through her hard work and dedication, Davis has become an honor roll student with WNBA potential. She enters this season with pro aspirations and graduation right around the corner.

Davis, who graduated from Berkeley High in 2012, was introduced to basketball at the age of 6 by her father, and has been in love with the game ever since.

“My first love was really football,” said the 21-year-old Oakland native. “My dad wouldn’t let me play because I was a girl. So he gave me a basketball and basically told me to stay off the football field.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley athlete Custer poised for breakout senior year

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Only three weeks into the 2015 season, Antoine Custer Jr. is already making his case as to why he should be one of the most highly recruited football players in the state of California.

After a stellar junior season at Concord’s De La Salle High School, in which he rushed for over 1,900 yards and scored 26 touchdowns en route to a state championship, the South Berkeley native seems on pace to pick up right where he left off. The De La Salle Spartans are 2-1 and the outstanding play of Custer has contributed to much of the team’s success.

Custer is now in his senior season and hopes to have a breakout year so he can continue to impress college scouts and land a scholarship at one of the nation’s top universities. He’s already received several Division I scholarship offers and more are likely on the way.

It’s a dream he has worked hard to bring to reality since he was a kid playing for the Berkeley Cougars, the city’s only Pop Warner youth football league from the 1980s until around 2008.

“I started playing football when I was 6,” said Custer, who is now 17. “I just always had a natural love for the game. Growing up I would always see the Berkeley Cougars practicing at San Pablo Park and I just couldn’t wait until I was old enough to play.” … Continue reading »

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BHS grad coaches Ecuador’s first American football team

Coach Owen Krebs talks to his team before its inaugural game, in late July, against a team from Lima, Peru. Photo: Daniel Pulgarian
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Owen Krebs embodies everything that is Berkeley: passion, engagement and the desire to make the world a better place. Last winter, the energetic 24-year-old relocated to Ecuador where the former Berkeley High School football player is now helping coach Lobos De Quito, Ecuador’s first American football team.

The Lobos are coming off their first ever exhibition match against a team from Lima, Peru. Berkeleyside caught up with Krebs as he prepares his team for its upcoming international match against Colombia in October. The team has been generating excitement throughout the nation. Earlier this month Ecuador’s La Hora published a feature on the team, dubbed “The other football,” and EcuadorTV had members of the team on its program earlier this year. The team’s Facebook page has more than 1,300 fans.

Krebs grew up in South Berkeley and attended Berkeley public schools. At Berkeley High, he excelled in the classroom as well as on the volleyball court and the football field. He played so well throughout high school that, at the end of his senior season, in 2008, he was offered football scholarships to attend both Idaho State University and Humboldt State University. Krebs went with the latter, choosing to stay closer to friends and family. It wasn’t until his senior year at HSU, majoring in international studies, when he was presented with the chance to study abroad. That was how he found himself in Ecuador. Continue reading »

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Special Olympics ‘flame of hope’ torch comes to Berkeley

The Special Olympics torch on the Sacramento stretch of its final leg. The torch will be coming through Berkeley Tuesday July 14, 2015. Photo:
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On Tuesday, an international team of law enforcement officers will bring the Special Olympics “flame of hope” torch through Berkeley as it makes its way to the opening ceremony of the 2015 Special Olympics World Games in Los Angeles Coliseum which open on July 25.

The torch run is on its final final leg through California, and Berkeley will mark the occasion with a ceremony at 11:30 a.m at Old City Hall, 2134 Martin Luther King Jr. Way. Mayor Tom Bates will speak at the ceremony, as will Special Olympic athlete and Final Leg runner William Corsi from the Florida Torch Run Program.

The final leg began on July 13 at the State Capitol Building in Sacramento, and, by the time the torch reaches LA it will have been carried through more than 120 cities, towns and communities across the state. … Continue reading »

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Breaking: Manchester United – San Jose Earthquakes game moved from Berkeley to San Jose

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United and Stephen Quinn of Hull City
Barclays Premier League 2014/15 Hull City v Manchester United KC Stadium, West Park, Hull, United Kingdom - 24 May 2015

 (Rex Features via AP Images)
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UPDATE, 9:25 p.m.:  The July 21 Manchester United vs. San Jose Earthquakes game will be played at Avaya Stadium in San Jose rather than Cal Memorial Stadium, according to Wesley Mallette, Associate AD, Strategic Communications for Cal Athletics. Mallette confirmed UC Berkeley was informed today about the decision, made by Relevent Sports, organizers of the tournament. “We were informed that the change in venue was made in order to better meet Manchester United’s travel and logistical requirements,” he said in a statement Monday night. People who bought tickets to the original game will be issued a full refund and should expect their refund within 5-7 days, Mallette said, adding that specific details about refunds will be issued Tuesday. “We have been informed by the promoter that those who purchased tickets for the match in Berkeley will be eligible for a special pre-sale opportunity to purchase seats before they go on sale to the general public.”

ORIGINAL STORY: The Guinness International Champions Cup soccer game between English Premiership club Manchester United and local MLS team San Jose Earthquakes that was due to be played at Cal Memorial Stadium in Berkeley on Tuesday, July 21 will not be played in Berkeley, according to a staffer in the Berkeley City Manager’s office. The source said the decision was taken Monday. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley softball field named in honor of Jane Hammond

ABGLS community members in front of City Hall after the vote to name the Jane Hammond softball field. Photo: ABGSL
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A once-nameless field in Berkeley will now honor one woman’s achievement in a local softball league, with the approval last week by the City Council to name the Codornices Park field the “Jane Hammond Field.”

Bestselling Berkeley author Michael Lewis, whose daughter plays for the Albany Berkeley Girls Softball League (ABGSL), and who coaches one of its teams, is among the many who are delighted with the decision. Lewis said Hammond, who has devoted 25 years to the league to date, brings a persuasiveness to recruiting and retaining players from many different backgrounds, with graduates of her program going on to receive college athletic scholarships.

Read Michael Lewis on the unique Berkeley spirit of the ABGSL.

“It’s fair to say that the players my kids play with have overlapped from other schools and crowds that otherwise we wouldn’t have been with,” Lewis said. “Communities are stitched together by people like her, and it’s nice just to acknowledge all the works she’s done.” … Continue reading »

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Berkeley’s One World Play Project aims to empower young women through sports

In hot pursuit. Photo: One World Play Project
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One World Play Project, a Berkeley-based organization that sends indestructible soccer balls around the world, has launched an initiative that aims to empower young women through sports. Called #AllGirlsCanPlay, the campaign began on May 7, and its roll-out coincides with the women’s World Cup in Vancouver, which kicked off this week.

#AllGirlsCanPlay has been in the works for a while, but became a concrete idea in the fall of 2014, said Neill Duffy, whose title is “Chief Catalyst” for One World Play Project.

“We were looking for a trigger point,” Duffy said.

One World Play Project has used international soccer events to dovetail with its campaigns in the past. After working on the prototype “indestructable” ball for two years, the company launched during the 2010 men’s World Cup in South Africa and sent balls to São Paulo during the 2014 men’s World Cup in Brazil. … Continue reading »

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New proposal will keep Raiders in San Francisco Bay


Caption for photo: The new stadium complex for the Oakland Raiders, floating off the San Francisco waterfront for a night game on a calm winter evening.
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Update, April 2, 12:45 a.m. This was indeed an April Fools’ Day story. We hope you enjoyed!

Original story, April 1, 11 a.m. At a surprise press conference at the former Hunters Point Naval Shipyard this morning, Mark Davis, owner of the Oakland Raiders, announced a new plan to keep the team in Oakland. Or more accurately, to keep the Raiders in the San Francisco Bay. Only some of the games will be played in Oakland.

Despite the recent contract extension, and despite talk of a new “Coliseum City,” the Raiders will proceed with plans to abandon the aging Oakland Coliseum after the 2015-16 season. But instead of the proposed joint venture with the San Diego Chargers, which calls for the two teams to share a new $1.7 billion stadium in Los Angeles, the new venue will float in the Bay.

“Hull-based structures can always be built on much shorter lead times,” explained Davis. “No building permits, no land use issues, no traffic plans, no zoning, no EIR. All we need is classification by American Bureau of Shipping, and a few Coast Guard inspections, and we’re good to go. The shipyard promises a launch date early next year, and the tow across the Pacific from China will take less than 45 days.” … Continue reading »

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Semi-pro Ultimate frisbee team moves to Berkeley

The San Francisco Dogfish, a Major League Ultimate frisbee team, is moving to Berkeley for its 2015 home games.
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For being the lone teenager in a group of adult professionals in last Sunday’s practice, Colby Chuck showed his San Francisco Dogfish teammates he was no greenhorn in Ultimate frisbee.

Perhaps home advantage came in play for the Berkeley High junior. After two years bouncing around in San Francisco, the Dogfish, one of eight teams in the semi-professional Major League Ultimate, is moving to Berkeley and will call Yellowjacket Stadium in Berkeley High its new home starting next month.

Chuck can’t play for the Dogfish due to his status as a high-school student, but he is gaining valuable experience by practicing every week with the team.

“The players mentor me to get better for college and beyond,” Chuck said. “It’s just great that they can correct my game and make me get better.” … Continue reading »

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Op-ed: Cal should take down beer and athletics billboard

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Has anyone been in the Alta Bates ER on a UC Berkeley football game night? I have, and it is an eye-opening experience of drunkenness and bloody injuries.

I was astonished this week as I headed home from work to see a billboard next to the freeway in Emeryville advertising beer with the Cal Athletics logo. I had noticed a similar billboard a year ago and wrote to the newly appointed Chancellor expressing my concerns. I received a prompt reply … Continue reading »

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In Berkeley park, free boxing program inspires young men

It started when Manuel Buendía began taking his young sons to San Pablo Park in Berkeley to teach them to box. Soon others wanted to join in, and now Buendía runs an informal, free boxing training program for any young person who shows interest.

Buendía hopes the sessions are helping some of the participants stay out of trouble. As he says in the video above, “Instead of them fighting out on the street, they should bring it here. Here in the park, right? They can take their anger out here, with boxing.”

Luis Flores, a UC Berkeley student who also attended Berkeley High School, shot the video above through Youth Radio, a non-profit based in downtown Oakland. … Continue reading »

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Soccer mania hits Berkeley, as do crowds, traffic

Around 62,000 people watched Inter Milan beat Real Madrid at Memorial Stadium on Saturday. Photo: Julia Flynn Siler
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Soccer mania hit Berkeley on Saturday when Real Madrid played Inter Milan at Cal Memorial Stadium, in a game that drew more than 62,000 spectators. Inter Milan and Real Madrid tied 1-1. Then, after regulation time, Inter Milan won 3-2 in a penalty shootout.

The game practically paralyzed the streets of Berkeley as fans tried to make their way to the stadium. Traffic came to a standstill all over town on major arteries like College, Claremont, Ashby and University avenues. … Continue reading »

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