Category Archives: Sports

Berkeleyans contribute to Special Olympics softball win

Chris Corr-Barberis holds aloft the Special Olympics torch at the opening of NorCal SO softball tournament. Photo: Julie Rogers
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Berkeley resident Chris Corr-Barberis carried the torch at the opening ceremonies of the Northern California Special Olympics Softball Tournament on Saturday. The tournament, which brought together some 300 athletes from throughout the region, was held at Heather Farm Park in Walnut Creek.

It was a special day for Chris, as he contributed an RBI and a run in the morning and added two runs in the afternoon helping his team, the East Bay Buffaloes, overpower the Columbus T-Birds in a double header.

The wins earned the Buffaloes the gold medal in their division. … Continue reading »

Berkeley club partners with youth group for bowling fun

BLBC Coach Erwin Vista points to the good form and concentration of the BYA camper rolling “the real thing.” Photo- Jim Corr
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Lawn bowling is often (mistakenly) seen as a sport of ‘the older set.’ This summer, the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club (BLBC) set out to counter that myth, joining forces with Berkeley Youth Alternatives (BYA) to offer coaching on the basics of lawn bowling as a summer camp activity for BYA participants.

BYA is a local community organization that seeks to provide a secure and nurturing environment for children, youth, and their families. Through sports, counseling, educational support and other means, BYA places special emphasis on shifting ‘children at risk’ into ‘individuals with potential.’ Its 2016 Summer Jam Day Camp provided spaces for 40 children and teens ages 6-14 from diverse backgrounds to enjoy exciting and fun activities. For the first time in several years, lawn bowling was one of those activities.

Spearheaded by Erwin Vista, a Bowls USA-certified coach (and a grade school and music teacher off the green), the weekly program put the fun back in the fundamentals of lawn bowling, initially by using tennis balls as substitutes for actual lawn bowls and beach balls as substitutes for jacks (the target ball in lawn bowling) — and later graduating to use of actual lawn bowls and a real jack.

The young bowlers were first asked to select blue and gold team names, which happen to be the colors of the two sets of mats BLBC owns, as well as the colors of Berkeley. One week, for example, the Blue Tornados competed against the Golden Hurricanes. … Continue reading »

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UC Berkeley acts after concrete falls at Edwards Stadium

Edwards Stadium. Photo: Hank Chapot
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After chunks of concrete fell from under the bleachers of Edwards Stadium causing safety concerns, UC Berkeley has closed part of the building and initiated plans to install a temporary fix for the aging facility, according to a university official. Cal employees with offices under the bleachers have been ordered to vacate by today, Thursday.

Starting Monday July 25, construction will begin on nets designed to catch any further falling concrete — the chunks being the result of years of water damage, real-estate division spokeswoman Christine Shaff told Berkeleyside.

“The netting installation should start next week, and in preparation for the installation we’re moving equipment and staff out of the tunnel,” she said.

Rated “poor” by the university’s Seismic Action Plan for Facilities (SAFER) — meaning expected to sustain “significant” damage that will have deadly consequences in case of a severe earthquake — the stadium is on the university’s list of structures to receive seismic retrofitting. But the university does not currently have the funding necessary to complete the fix.

Falling blocks of concrete and the water damage that has caused them are a distinct, unrelated problem from the potentially life-threatening susceptibility to earthquakes, Shaff said. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High’s Ultimate Frisbee team turns out winners – and haikus

The BHS Ultimate Frisbee team playing at the USA Ultimate Western HS Championships on June 5, 2016. Photo: John King/  UltiPhotos.com.
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By Geoff Holton with Finn Collom and Elizabeth Wells

On the weekend of June 4th and 5th, Berkeley High School’s club Ultimate Frisbee team, the Berkeley High Coup, piled into vans and traveled to the USA Ultimate Western Regional Championships in Corvallis, Oregon. Conditions there were grueling — temperatures hovered near 100 degrees both afternoons – and tournament directors moved final matches on Saturday into the early evening in an unsuccessful attempt to beat the heat.

Led by a close-knit group of 14 seniors, and standout performances across the board, the Coup persevered, and went 4-2 on the weekend, making the finals against the defending champions, Roosevelt High School of Seattle. As they have all year, the Coup played with skill, spirit and speed in the final. They brought a deep roster, a balanced attack, great coaching and a positive, pumped-up sideline presence, but eventually fell to Roosevelt 13-10 in a physical, emotional match. … Continue reading »

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One to watch: Football player, BHS grad Cameron Fuller

Cameron Fuller
Photo: Courtesy of Travis Jensen @Travisjensen
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Although he gets paid to play football, Berkeley High graduate Cameron Fuller’s biggest talent just may be his positive outlook.

The life of a professional football player is one that is often coveted. Young men sit in the stands and dream of the fame and fortune that accompany such an occupation, hoping that, one day, they too can feel that sense of importance and attract such admiration. It will likely never come. According to the NCAA, only 1.7% of college football players play at any professional level.

When one successfully defies those odds, it’s easy to understand their sense of accomplishment. What better example than Berkeley High graduate Cameron Fuller? Despite the doubters and naysayers, failures and forks in the road, Fuller has found himself doing exactly what he always expected he would do: playing professional football. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley lawn bowler is 2016 Men’s Champion

2016 PIMD Men's Singles Finalists
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Jim Corr, Berkeley lawn bowler — and a periodic contributor to Berkeleyside — won the 2016 PIMD Men’s Singles Championship title last weekend at Sunnyvale Lawn Bowling Club. (PIMD is the Pacific Inter-Mountain Division of BowlsUSA, comprising clubs in Northern California, Utah, and Hawaii).

The competition was a two-day affair involving 16 players from all over the Bay Area. The semifinal featured Jim and Cris Benton, a fellow Berkeley bowler (as well as a noted kite aerial photographer), which turned into a nail-biter.

Read more on Berkeleyside about the Berkeley Lawn Bowling Club.

Corr took an early lead only to see Benton draw level and then surpass him to reach 17-13. With 18 points being the winning goal, Corr had to dig deep, but eventually managed to prevail by the narrowest of margins, eking out an 18-17 victory. … Continue reading »

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Berkeley Rhinos advance to Norcal playoffs second round

Caption here. Photo: Jason Bathrick
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After a stellar undefeated regular season, the Berkeley Rhinos high school rugby club defeated Sacramento’s Kennedy High School in the first round of the Norcal playoffs on Saturday, 33-31.

The Rhinos entered the playoffs ranked third, and had home field advantage for the game at Gilman Sports Fields.

The Rhinos’ high-powered offense proved to be too much for the Cougars’ defense, scoring three tries within the first 25 minutes of the game. Seniors Alex Glover and Efe Ustenci were on a mission to make their presence felt and were responsible for the first three scores for the Rhinos.  … Continue reading »

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Photos: Police take the win in Berkeley Twilite battle

Twilite baskeball game, Friday, March 25. Photo; Berkeley Police Capt. Andrew Greenwood
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Scoring two 3-pointers in the final minute, a team of Berkeley Police officers narrowly bested teen players from the Young Adult Project’s Twilite Basketball program in the “Battle of Berkeley” Friday night. The officers will now get to display a large trophy commemorating the win, at least until the teams face off again this summer.

The youth team was down by 12 points at half time, then fought its way to a 1-point lead with less than 2 minutes to go. Officer Kelvin Gibbs, who played professional basketball in Europe for nine years, scored two baskets from behind the arc in the final minute to claim the victory. … Continue reading »

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Twilite Basketball helps Berkeley youth, police connect

YAP's twilight basketball program winds up this weekend. Photo: BPD
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After a long hiatus, Twilite Basketball returned this year to the Young Adult Project in South Berkeley. Friday night, local youth and Berkeley Police officers who have been coaching them are set to face each other on the court as the program winds down for the season.

The winning team will get bragging rights, as well as a large trophy to display until the next match up, slated for the summer.

Though the “Battle of Berkeley” — where officers and youth compete on the court — has happened in the past, this year will be the first time Berkeley Police Chief Michael Meehan plans to play.

Officers credit Ginsi Bryant, recreation coordinator at the Young Adult Project, or YAP, for bringing back the Twilite Basketball program in January. Though it began in Berkeley in the early 90s, participation dwindled in recent years and it was no longer active.

YAP itself was founded in 1972 in South Berkeley to help keep local youth off the streets and give them a safe, positive outlet for their energy. The organization, at 1730 Oregon St., offers a variety of programs including sports, arts and crafts, and leadership skills building.

Don’t miss our feature from January on YAP’s popular boxing program.

The 10-week Twilite Basketball program is aimed at pre-teens and teens. There are three practices a week, with games on Friday and Saturday nights. Bryant runs the program, which has about five coaches of its own. But Berkeley Police officers are also a key part of the equation.

That’s because one goal of the program has been to help police and youth build relationships that can help them off the court. … Continue reading »

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Sports

Berkeley Yellowjackets fall to Crespi in state final, 68-53

Berkeley guard Bryan Morris, left, and Crespi Carmelite forward Mitchell Mykhaylov battle for the ball during the second half of the CIF boys' Division I high school basketball championship game Thursday, March 24, 2016, in Sacramento, Calif. Crespi Carmelite won 68-53. (AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli)
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Battling one of the nation’s top-ranked teams for the state title, the Berkeley High boys basketball team recovered from a 34-23 halftime deficit to grab a narrow 37-36 lead in the third quarter. But a dream ending for the underdogs wasn’t to be as Crespi-Encino went on a 9-1 tear and led the rest of the way.

The Yellowjackets had upset the odds three times in their drive to a long-awaited NorCal Division 1 championship, beating Jesuit 62-59, Monte Vista 64-52 and Menlo-Atherton 61-51. But SoCal champions Crespi proved too tough at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento. Berkeley finished its season with a 24-9 record.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High boys hoops win first NorCal title since 1921

The Yellowjacket bench erupts in joy as the team clinches its first NorCal championship since 1921. Photo: Gary Jones
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When the Yellowjackets boys basketball team last won a NorCal championship, Woodrow Wilson had just handed over the White House to Warren Harding, Babe Ruth had completed one season with the Yankees, and the founding of the precursor to the National Basketball Association was still 24 years in the future. But memories of 1921 can now be safely shelved at Berkeley High, because the Yellowjackets are the 2016 Division 1 NorCal champions after defeating Menlo-Atherton 61-51 at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento on Saturday night.

On Thursday, the team travels back to Sacramento to face SoCal champ Crespi-Encino for the state title.  … Continue reading »

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Berkeley High student faces up to reality of vision loss

Jorden Johnson and his mother Keisha Darden. Photo: courtesy family
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Sometimes bad things happen to good people, changing the trajectory of their lives with no notice. For Jorden Johnson, a 17-year-old senior at Berkeley High School, this moment came while attending football practice in the summer of 2015.

Johnson says it was like any other day. He was prepping for the first preseason game of his senior year. He had spent most of the summer preparing for that moment, and was eager to show his coach how he had developed as a player since the prior season. He went through his normal routine: stretching, team jumping jacks, and a few other exercises to get warmed up. It was when the team transitioned to position drills that Johnson began to notice something was wrong.

While going for a pass, Johnson watched the ball as it left the quarterback’s hand, soaring through the air and eventually eclipsing the sun. As the ball passed in front of the sun, Johnson recalls seeing a glare and not being able to relocate the ball, which caused  him to drop the pass.

“It was nothing new. I had done this drill a million times,” said Johnson recently. “I had lost the ball in the sun and been blinded by the glare, so I thought nothing of it.”

Johnson says he apologized to the coach for the dropped pass and determined he would make up for his mistake. His turn came around once more, and just as he had done so many times before, he took off for a pass. Again he was blinded by a glare and again he dropped the ball. This time he wasn’t sure the glare was a result of the sun.

“After that second drop I realized something was off,” said Johnson. “The glare began to turn into bright spots. I didn’t know what it was from, but I knew it couldn’t be good.” He was worried but not terrified, and he left practice thinking that some rest would do the trick. … Continue reading »

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Draymond Green serves coffee at Berkeley Peet’s

Photo: Lance Knobel
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Warriors basketball star Draymond Green came to Berkeley today to serve up coffee at Peet’s on Shattuck Avenue, and the line was already stretching down the block long before his arrival at around 1:45 p.m. A TV helicopter hovered overhead to catch footage of the event.

The line from Shattuck extended onto Kittredge almost to the Touchless car wash at Oxford. Traffic in the area appeared slow, according to Google Maps.

Follow our live tweets from inside Peet’s!

Berkeleyside’s Lance Knobel reports that it was a “mob scene” outside 2255 Shattuck before Green’s arrival at around 1:45 p.m. His shift behind the counter was slated to begin at 1:30 p.m. and run through to 3 p.m.

Green is helping promote the release of Peet’s limited edition “Warriors Grounds” blend. Peet’s will donate 5% of each purchase of “Warriors Grounds”, up to $10,000, to the Warriors Community Foundation.
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