Sonoma alums shined
Conner runs, Semenero, Ceja, Robles, Clark kick
Sonoma standout alum Alex Conner – seen racing to a fourth-place medal-finish, and qualifying for the prestigious state meet, in the boys’ 3,200-meter race as a Dragon at the NCS Meet of Champions at Edwards Stadium on the University of California, Berkeley, campus this past May – capped his freshman collegiate cross country season by helping Yale recently take sixth-place in the competitive Ivy League.
Five standout Sonoma Valley High School alumni athletes – four playing soccer and one running cross country – were major contributors to their respective college teams during the concluding 2012 fall seasons.
Sonoma’s Alex Conner capped his freshman collegiate cross country season as an athletic scholarship runner helping Yale University recently take sixth-place at the competitive Ivy League Heptagonal Championships, which took place at Princeton University.
Conner – who as a former prep star and state qualifier for the Dragons holds school boys’ records in cross country and track and field – broke his own PR (personal record) in the 8-kilometer event by 45 seconds with a time of 24 minutes 41.1 seconds, while being Yale’s second-place runner, and finishing overall in 35th-place in the championship meet. He was also the fifth-fastest freshman in the race.
For Sonoma alum Sarah Semenero – a former two-sport star for the Lady Dragons in basketball and soccer – her first, and only, season playing soccer for Cal Poly Pomona was both a memorable and successful one.
After her outstanding four-year basketball career on an athletic scholarship at Cal Poly, Semenero used her fifth year of college sports eligibility to play soccer for Pomona, and, with her impressive athletic ability, helped key a 10-match winning steak to end the season and clinch a playoff berth. She also led her Cal Poly hoops team into the postseason playoffs and a spot in the NCAA Division-2 “elite eight.”
Semenero and Cal Poly Pomona had their collegiate athletic career and season, respectively, come to an end with a 2-1 loss to Western Washington in the NCAA Division-2 West Region Tournament.
Also turning in standout soccer seasons were Sonoma graduates Ellie Ceja and Riley Clark, who played for their San Francisco State University women and men’s teams, respectively, and Bryana Robles, who was a senior starter for her Sonoma State University squad.
Robles and her Seawolf women teammates won their conference championship and were the top-seed for the NCAA Division-2 West Region Tournament, but, unfortunately, their collegiate soccer career and season, respectively, were also ended by Western Washington with a 2-1 overtime playoff loss.
Both Ceja, also an outstanding prep all-leaguer in soccer and basketball for the Lady Dragons, and Clark, a prep all-league star for the soccer Dragon boys, finished standout seasons as key players for their San Francisco State women’s and men’s teams, respectively.