Under his leadership, the girls water polo program has grown


Robert Airoldi

Doug Pickford

Congratulations to Gilroy High School girls water polo coach Doug Pickford, who was named one of eight Central Coast Section Honor Coach Awards. They are presented to those coaches whose colleagues believe they have made outstanding contributions to their sport at their school, within their league, in the community, and to the CCS, according to a press release from the CCS. Pickford, the former U.C. Santa Barbara All-American, has guided the GHS water polo team to league titles and post season play. He created a challenging and competitive atmosphere in the Mustangs boys and girls programs while fostering collegiality and high standards among the student athletes. Under his leadership, the girls water polo program has grown and the student athletes are among the highest achieving in the classroom.

Keep up the good work, Doug.

Speaking of congratulations, way to go Mount Madonna girls varsity volleyball, girls cross country and boys cross country for receiving the Central Coast Section highest academic honor by the California Interscholastic Federation: the “2019-’20 Fall Season Scholastic Championship Team Award.”

“We find the hard work and discipline it takes to excel in athletics also carries over into the classroom,” commented MMS Head of School Mary Supriya McDonald. “We are so proud of each of these scholar-athletes!”

The girls varsity volleyball team is honored as having one of the top five scholastic averages among all CCS volleyball teams, 3.881. Team members are AnMei Dasbach-Prisk, Ceci Rothman-Salado, Ksenia Medvedeva, Paola Jacobs and Tabby Hardin-Zollo, 12th grade; Kahlan Tervalon and Savannah Cambell, 11th grade; Liana Kitchel and Summer Howley, 10th grade; and Eve Willis and Mariah Cohen, 9th grade.

The girls cross country team is recognized as having the highest collective scholastic average among CCS girls cross country teams, 3.944. Team members are Kira Kaplan and Sara Bautista, 11th grade.

The boys cross country team is being honored as having one of the top five scholastic averages among all CCS cross country teams, 3.805. Team members are Oliver Mensinger, Ronan Lee and Sammy Caudill, 11th grade; and Jacob Sirk-Traugh and Sam Kaplan, 9th grade.

“I’m very excited to hear this news,” said cross country coach Nicholas Cabassa. “I’ve always believed that a strong mind is the common thread that binds all great athletes.”

These awards were instituted by the CCS Board of Managers in 1985 as a way to recognize the top teams with the highest collective grade-point average in their respective sport during that season of competition.

Thanks to the San Jose City Council, 937 acres of undeveloped land has been permanently protected. The land features natural floodplains and wildlife habitat, mitigates wildfire impact and builds climate change resiliency for the citizens of the tenth-largest city in the nation and beyond. It will create a permanent buffer of open space between South County and San Jose.

Coyote Valley from the air


“Our preservation of Coyote Valley for future generations makes good on our collective obligation of stewardship of our — and more importantly, their — planet,” said San José Mayor Sam Liccardo at an event Nov. 6 announcing the deal. It was done through a public and private partnership among the Peninsula Open Space Trust, Santa Clara Valley Open Space Authority and the city of San Jose.

The transaction includes land purchases from two willing sellers, the Sobrato Organization (335 acres) and Brandenburg Properties (572 acres). An additional 30-acre property, already owned and protected by POST, will be transferred to the city to complete the 937-acre deal.

One of the largest “natural infrastructure” transactions in the country, the deal reflects a growing trend by cities to invest in natural floodplain protection as a more responsible fiscal alternative to incurring the human and financial costs that natural disasters have on communities. The $93.46-million deal is funded in part by $46.3 million from Measure T, a $65- million infrastructure bond approved by San José voters in November 2018. POST is providing $42.16 million in cash and real property that includes significant contributions from private foundations and individuals. The Authority is contributing $5 million. POST and the Authority are also working to secure significant funding from other public agencies.

“I commend Mayor Liccardo, the City Council, POST and the Open Space Authority for securing this landmark deal,” said Ash Kalra, California State Assembly member for the 27th District. “Our natural environment is our first line of defense against climate change and this investment will be used as a model across the state.” Kalra introduced Assembly Bill 948 to designate Coyote Valley as a landscape of statewide significance and create the Coyote Valley Conservation Program.

Robert Airoldi

Robert Airoldi is the editor of Morgan Hill Life newspaper. If you have a story idea or an Around Town column item you want to tell him about, you can reach him at (408) 427-5865 or at editor@morganhilllife.com.
Robert Airoldi