All sorts of sports on display in playoff buffet

Menu ranges from high school golf to youth football
By: Cecil Conley, Sports Editor
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A softball mishap left Kelsey Ulep with a fear of flying objects when she was 7 years old. Whitney High School’s girls golf team should thank the individual responsible for Ulep being struck in the eye by the ball.
The mishap was the end of softball for Ulep and the beginning of golf. Her father, Clyde, thought she might have some potential because she had no problem hitting softball. Catching it was a different story.
As it turned out, Ulep had no fear of flying golf balls as long as she was responsible for putting them in flight. She is doing it on a regular basis these days.
Ulep has qualified for the CIF Northern California championships on Monday at Stockton Country Club. Ulep did so by placing second in the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters tournament with a 1-under-par 71 last Monday at the Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.
And she is just a freshman. Her experience in junior tournaments prepared her for high school competition, so she is not intimidated.
Ulep is taking her success in stride, but her classmates are turning her into a celebrity.
“I didn’t think people would make such a big deal out of me,” she said. “I didn’t think people would be amazed by what I’m doing.”
Cross country
Ryan Hodgens had time to check his time as he approached the finish line last Friday. The Whitney High School sophomore took a gander at his watch because no one was close to him.
Hodgens finished second in the varsity boys race at the Capital Athletic League finals in Folsom. He was 15 seconds behind Rio Americano’s Ansel Mills and 17 seconds ahead of El Camino’s Mustafas Abbas.
With that gap, Hodgens checked his watch for his time of 17:02. Sophomore Jacob Zufelt placed ninth at 18:20. The Wildcats finished fourth as a team, 49 points behind champion El Camino.
Whitney’s varsity girls were second with Megan Hall, Henico Dodge and Kvrah Vaughn finishing eighth, ninth and 10th, respectively. Rio Americano earned the team title with 58 points, 14 ahead of Whitney.
The Sierra Foothill League finals were also contested Friday at William Jessup University. Rocklin’s varsity boys finished second and the girls were fourth in the team competitions.
Leading the boys were seniors Parker Ahlf in fifth place (16:00), Michael McHenry in sixth (16:04) and Cody Fikes in seventh (16:07). Jessica Skalet was 11th (18:56) for Rocklin’s girls.
The next stop is the Sac-Joaquin Subsection meet Saturday at Frogtown in Angels Camp. The first race begins at 9:30 a.m.
The Division II races for Rocklin’s varsity boys and girls will be 11:30 a.m. and 12:10 p.m., respectively. The Division III races for Whitney will be 12:45 p.m. for varsity girls and 1:30 for varsity boys.
Rocklin’s girls have advanced to the section Division II quarterfinals with 9-0 victories over Rodriguez in Fairfield and at Yuba City.
The Thunder will travel Monday to face Rio Americano, which beat Rocklin 7-2 earlier this season when Dale Eckenburg’s team was without No. 1 singles player Stefanie Studen.
Whitney’s girls bowed out of the playoffs Tuesday with a 9-0 loss to Granite Bay. The Wildcats defeated Sierra 5-4 on Monday.
Rocklin’s boys team will begin the defense of its section Division II championship when it hosts Burbank of Sacramento at 3 p.m. Tuesday.
The Thunder finished second in the Sierra Foothill League behind Granite Bay, and Rocklin coach Grant Depue hopes his team will get another shot at the Grizzlies. The rivals are on opposite sides of the bracket, so they would only meet in the final Nov. 13 at Cosumnes Oak High.
Water polo
Whitney’s girls team will face Oakdale in a section Division II playoff opener Saturday at 9 a.m. at Woodcreek High in Roseville. This is the third consecutive year in which the Wildcats have qualified for the postseason under coach Kari Ustaszewski.
Youth football
The Whitney Junior Wildcats will have two teams playing for Sierra Youth Football Conference championships Saturday.
The Mighty Mites will face Franklin at 9 a.m. at Antelope High School, and the Junior Pee Wees will follow at 11 a.m. by battling Folsom.
The Rocklin Junior Thunder had three teams reach the second round, but that was the end of the road for the Mighty Mites, Junior Pee Wees and Junior Midgets.