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Taekwondo Champions Compete For Points
Martial artists from schools across the western states, including students from 17 regional Robinson’s Taekwondo locations will compete in the event and spectacular special guest are set to demonstrate techniques and weapons.
Photo courtesy of Rick Reed

Taekwondo Championships at Memorial Auditorium

Posted: 1/30/2015

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - Sparring circle competitive matches in eight rings featuring the hard-punching, high-flying kicks of Taekwondo martial arts will be the main feature at Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium on February 28th.

Martial artists from schools across the western states, including students from 17 regional Robinson’s Taekwondo locations will compete in the event and spectacular special guest are set to demonstrate techniques and weapons.

More than 5,000 spectators from across the region attended the event last year, and organizers plan on the 2015 Sacramento Invitational Championships being bigger, better, and more exciting than ever.

Sacramento’s Memorial Auditorium is located at 1515 J Street, Sacramento, CA. Call (888) 249-7853 for information or visit Tickets are also available from the Sacramento Convention Center Box Office.

Source: Rick Reed

Local Rugby Pro Wishes Players Good Luck Before KOT

By Colin Hawley
Posted: 1/23/2015

Colin Hawley is Exuberant When He Breaks Free of the Scrum
Colin breaking for a try against Canada at the USA 7s in Las Vegas.
Photos courtesy of Creative Arts Marketing Imprint

CARMICHAEL, CA (MPG) - Commuting an hour from East Nicolaus, a small town of 200, Sacramento was the big city. Standing 5’ 4”, I was one of the three smallest kids in my freshman class at Jesuit High School in Carmichael. I make this point because no matter where you come from or how big and strong you are currently, you never know what the future may hold, especially with rugby.

Though my father, Loren, had been a great rugby player in his day (Cal Hall of Fame), prior to my attending Jesuit, I had never played rugby. I fancied myself a soccer and basketball player. My dreams of being a legendary soccer player, however, quickly faded after being cut from Jesuit soccer in my first tryout. It was my first athletic experience at Jesuit. Without a doubt, being cut was a sobering experience. Standing face to face with my limitations as an athlete was not the way I had drawn it up.

Still, I maintained my desire to be an athlete, playing football, basketball, and finally rugby in my first year at Jesuit. It was the first rugby practice when, fended in the chest and thrown to the ground by an upperclassman, I fell in love with this awesome sport. The freedom, physicality, and athletic expression in the sport had hooked me and have yet to let go.

That first year of rugby at Jesuit, everything about the game was new and fun. We trained as a club, getting ready for the season of competition ahead starting with something called the “Kick Off Tournament (KOT).” The day of my first KOT started out as just an important team day but proved to be something of a coming-out party. It was fun to be surrounded by so many like-minded friends and rivals. Each year, the KOT seemed to improve in its scope and quality of play and so did our game grow with it.

Though never the biggest, never the fastest, and never the strongest in high school, I enjoyed one distinct advantage: I was a student of the game. Rugby is unique in the sense that there is no one calling plays for you on the field. Playing the game involves perception, reaction, and creativity at its finest. Coupled with the ability to communicate what you see and what you want to do on the field to your fellow teammates, you can be a formidable rugby athlete. Our coaches at Jesuit were great at helping us to see, read, communicate, and exploit opportunities. But I also enjoyed one further advantage.

Colin Hawley and Zach Reed at Jesuit High School
Colin Hawley and Zach Reed at Jesuit. Both would attend Cal and play rugby under Jack Clark.

One of the main points I would like to cover for my progression in high school is that after every game, my father and I would review what my perceptions on the field had been and how I reacted to take advantage of scenarios presented throughout the match. We would talk and discuss the moments of the game and create a clear, unbiased picture of my performance. Even if I had three tries, I would still be rated on ball retention, passing completion, accuracy, kicking precision, etc. The ability to properly evaluate a rugby game, to determine what I did well and where I needed improvement, was the absolute best tool I have ever learned to use in my athletic career.

My love of rugby directed me to attend the Cal Rugby Camps every summer; thankfully, I was tagged by the program to continue my growth as a rugby player and student. Coming into college, I had grown vertically quite a bit, but at 6’1” and 160 lbs., there was some definite work to be done on my physical development as well. Being a part of a program like Cal Rugby exposed me to the type of athletic structure I desperately needed to continue my career. Cal Rugby’s doctrines of “high performance,” “grateful for everything; entitled to nothing,” and “constant performance improvement,” are just a few of the concepts—the cornerstones of my mindset—that would be the driving factors in my success on the rugby pitch.

During my tenure at Cal, I had been named All-American four times, National Collegiate Championship Most Valuable Player, four-time National Champion, and I began my journey into the international arena with my first USA 15s match against Claremont Auvergne in South Carolina and the USA 7s in the World Games in Taiwan. Each game had become a massive learning experience and being exposed to a higher level of play that early in my career gave me a direction to head towards and a level of play to aspire to.

Colin Hawley and Loren Hawley at the 2007 National Championship
Colin Hawley and his father, Loren, embrace after winning the National Championship MVP award in 2007.

Most of my post-collegiate rugby career has been spent sharing time between the two national rugby teams of 7s and 15s. The highlights of these would most notably be playing in the Rugby World Cup for 15s in 2011 in New Zealand and the Rugby World Cup for 7s in 2013 in Moscow but one of my most treasured possessions from a rugby victory is the bronze medal our 7s team won in Guadalajara at the Pan-American Games in 2011. Being able to stand on the podium and wave our country’s flag and receive that medal was an amazing feeling and one I hope many more U.S. rugby athletes come to share.

Rugby is now an Olympic Sport. I am proud to say that I was a member of the first group of American players to be contracted by USA Rugby and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) to train towards an Olympic Gold Medal for 7s Rugby while using the HSBC 7s World Series Circuit as our regular season. The landscape of rugby in America is changing and the opportunities for American Rugby players are currently astounding.

The end of this article is for the young men and women at the Kick Off Tournament: The future of rugby in America is in your hands. First and foremost, be a student of the game. Make sure that you are growing your game personally, and the larger game as a whole, in all the right directions. To the hard working volunteers who help pull this transcendent event together each and every year, please do so knowing your efforts are making a real difference in many lives. Thank you.

Lance Palmer Punches Rick Glenn in MMA Bout
Challenger Lance Palmer lands the first strike in round one of the Featherweight title fight against Rick Glenn during the WSOF 16, which was televised live on NBCSN from the McClelland Conference Center.
Photos by Anne Stokes

Palmer Emerges Victorious in WSOF 16, Takes Featherweight Title from Glenn

By Anne Stokes
Posted: 12/25/2014

In a stunning upset, challenger Lance Palmer defeated defending featherweight champion Rick Glenn at the World Series of Fighting 16. Despite Glenn’s height and reach advantage, Palmer dominated all three rounds to break the reigning champion’s 13-fight winning streak.

Palmer (9-1), fighting with Sacramento’s Team Alpha Male, defeated Glenn (15-3-1) via submission with a rear-naked chokehold 3 minutes and 9 seconds into the third round. It was the co-main event at World Series of Fighting’s (WSOF) mixed martial arts world championship, which was broadcast live on NBCSN from the McClellan Conference Center in Sacramento. The fight was a shot at redemption for Palmer, who lost the title match last year against Georgi Karakhanyan.

“It’s good to have the belt. I didn’t get the belt a year ago and came back to this position and I wasn’t going to leave that cage without it. It feels good to have it now,” said Palmer. “It couldn’t have gone better.”

Lance Palmer is Pumped After Fight
Team Alpha Male MMA fighter Lance Palmer takes a victorious lap around the ring after defeating Rick Glenn to take the World Series of Fighting Featherweight championship title. The match was the co-main event at the WSOF’s MMA world championship, which was broadcast live on NBCSN from the McClellan Conference Center.

“Lance is more of a wrestler so he’s been working a ton on his stand-up [technique],” explained Urijah Faber, MMA champion and Team Alpha Male founder. “So [his strategy] was using his foot work, his distance, and landing those heavy punches.” Palmer, a 4-time All American wrestler and NCAA finalist out of Ohio State University has been based in Sacramento for the past 3 and a half years and has been training for this bout since last June.

With an exploratory start to the first round, Palmer made the first strike, landing a winging overhand left. The southpaw came out swinging in round two, throwing a barrage hooks and uppercuts right out of the gate. In the third and final round, Palmer put his formidable wrestling skills into action, taking Glenn to the ground until he tapped out.

With Palmer’s win, the crowd erupted, celebrating their new local champion. To Palmer, such a support makes a big difference. “I’m not even from Sacramento, but I’ve lived here for almost four years,” he said. “With all the Team Alpha Male fans, and all the teammates, and everybody here, it doesn’t get any better than this, fighting in my adopted hometown and bringing home the belt.”

And according to WSOF Senior Executive Vice President and Matchmaker Ali Abdel-Aziz, there may be more events in Sacramento in the future. “Sacramento is a hot bed for MMA,” noted Abdel-Aziz. “It’s fun and we have a great time, and we’re going to hopefully come back next year.”

For Palmer, the next steps of his career are up in the air. “This is just the beginning. As long as I stay healthy and everything goes well with the sport, I’d like to get another 10 years out of it.”

According to Faber, any challengers to Palmer’s new title will have a tough time of it. “Whoever’s coming after him, they’re going to have their hands full. He’s ready to take on all comers and fight the best in the world.”

Referee Declares Palmer the Winner
MMA fighter Lance Palmer, left, is crowned the new Featherweight champion after defeating Rick Glenn at the WSOF 16 World Championship. “I feel good,” said Palmer. “It’s good to have the belt. I didn’t get the belt a year ago and came back to this position and I wasn’t going to leave that cage without it.”
Urijah Faber Congratulates Lance Palmer on Winning Championship Belt
MMA champion and Team Alpha Male founder Urijah Faber, left, was on hand to support teammate Lance Palmer in his bid to take the WSOF Featherweight title. Palmer defeated defending champion Rick Glenn in the third round.
Lance Palmer Demonstrates Boxing Technique
Lance Palmer took on defending Featherweight Champion Rick Glenn at WSOF 16, which was televised live on NBCSN from the McClelland Conference Center. Palmer, a four-time All American wrestler and NCAA finalist, has been working on his boxing technique to round out his MMA fighting skills.


End of the Bench

End of the Bench

By Gerry Scholl

Season’s Greetings, Fellas! And to All a Good Night!
Posted: 12/25/2014

If you happen to bump into former Sacramento Kings head coach Michael Malone, walking around with a blank look on his face, while you are out and about doing some late holiday shopping, take a moment to give the poor guy a hug.

Or, maybe you could give him a thoughtful, lovely parting gift; just be sure it is not something you picked up at the Kings’ Team Store.

Malone already has received more than he would’ve asked for from the Kings -- a pink slip, the short end of a stick, the old heave-ho. Malone must be feeling kind of down and under-appreciated if that’s the thanks he gets for making the Kings watchable this season (at least until DeMarcus Cousins got sick).

Following eight consecutive dreadful losing seasons, the Kings were off to one of their better starts this year. After losing big to Golden State in the opener, Sacramento won five games in a row, lost three to probable playoff teams on the road, then won four of five to stand at 9-5 -- more winning than Kings fans have been used to seeing. But since, the team has gone just 2-8 through Sunday leading up to Malone’s firing. Seven losses have come without the team’s star center, Cousins (23.5 ppg, 12.6 rpg), in the lineup.

As reported by The Sacramento Bee, Kings general manager Pete D’Alessandro (who was hired two weeks after owner Vivek Ranadive hired coach Malone) said, “It wasn’t about wins and losses. I didn’t really care about what our record was. It’s about who we want to be, what we want our identity to be as a team.”

That seems odd. In professional sports isn’t it ALL about wins and losses (and making the big bucks). Shouldn’t the desired identity be that of a winning franchise? The Kings brass is intent on manufacturing an up-and-down, fast-paced style of play that might be more appealing to the fans. Winning games might be more appealing to the fans.

Of the fourteen coaches during the Kings’ Sacramento era only Rick Adelman (1998-2006) had a winning record (395-229). Due to proverbial philosophical differences, Malone wasn’t given much of a chance to turn things around. He went 28-54 last season, 39-67 overall, through a time of ongoing roster reconstruction.

Malone seemed to be doing rather well with what he had to work with -- a team whose star is one of the best low-post players in the league. It’s questionable whether or not the Kings are built for run-and-gun just yet. They are a strong rebounding team that shoots free throws well and has improved defensively under Malone, but also one that does not shoot a good percentage from three-point range and is turnover prone. Former point guard Isaiah Thomas, The Husltin’ Husky, was an exciting, freewheeling sort to whom defense was an occasional afterthought, but the Kings allowed him to depart. It’s all pretzel logic at this stage.

The Kings have a new point guard in Darren Collison, a second-year player in Ben McLemore and a rookie in Nik Stauskas who are all still developing into their roles. The three have played a total of 24 regular-season games together -- a small sample-size. Good luck to the new coach, be it interim coach Tyrone Corbin, Chris Mullin, Vinny Del Negro, George Karl, Alvin Gentry, Mark Jackson or Red Auerbach (?).

At least in a couple of weeks, if all indications are on point, Malone will be able to seek out 49ers head coach Jim Harbaugh for some consolation. If, and likely when, Harbaugh is given his walking papers, the two ex-coaches will have something in common -- sent unceremoniously on their way despite measurable successes that had been uncommon in their teams’ recent pasts.

Harbaugh, despite taking the 49ers to three straight NFC Championship games and a Super Bowl, and a record of 43-18-1, will, apparently, be exiting the scene due to another case of “philosophical differences” with the bosses. Maybe this too is “not about wins and losses (in the NFL?!!).”

But the guys upstairs will be able to use this 7-7, injury-riddled season, a stagnant offense -- that has featured a duct-tape line, a quarterback under constant siege and a halfhearted, half-fast corps of receivers -- and another disappointing loss to the rival Seattle Seahawks (17-7, Sunday, eliminating the 49ers from the playoffs) as a backdrop for Harbaugh’s dismissal, if it happens as predicted.

Harbaugh, for sure, will not be alone on the list of fired NFL coaches at season’s end. There are always a few downtrodden losers that get the axe. After all, in the pro’s it’s all about…uh…wins and losses.

Harbaugh and Malone could join together and host a party for all of those guys to lift their spirits a bit. And they could invite some college football guys, too -- guys that also received early holiday gifts like Bo Pelini of Nebraska, Will Muschamp of Florida, Brady Hoke of Michigan, Tony Levine of Houston and all the others. They could check in on the Oakland Raiders’ ex-coach Dennis Allen to see if he might need some cheering up.

It might be a great idea to organize an annual holiday event to celebrate all of the guys that have had their coaching hearts ripped out during the year and make a grand evening of it.

Season’s Greetings, fellas! And to all a good night!

Eagles Runner Eludes Matadors Tackle
The Eagles took a 71-0 win over Mira Loma but still lose out on making the playoffs. The Eagles finished the season with an unofficial record of 6-4.
Photo by Ben Barber

Eagles Season Ends

By Ben Barber
Posted: 11/13/2014

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The El Camino Eagles had their final game of the season last Friday against the Mira Loma Matadors. The Eagles, coming in with a record of 5-4, were expecting an easy win again the Matadors which had struggled to win a game all year.

Regardless of their 0-9 record, the Matadors arrived, 19 of them in all, suited up and ready to play. The Eagles were the first to kick off with the ball being caught right on the sideline. The Matadors started their first offensive series with a run which was fumbled but recovered back. The Eagle defense held the Matadors for three plays before being forced to punt it away. On their first offensive play, Eagles quarterback Kamani Elam kept the ball and ran it in for a 45 yard touchdown, setting the tone for the rest of the game. Mira Loma, on their next possession, were again limited to three plays before having to punt to Eagle return man Kijana Zigler who took the ball 50 yards into Matador territory. On their second offensive play, Eagle running back Said Webster took the ball 10 yards on a sweep to the right and into the end zone, bringing the score to 13-0. The onslaught continued for the remainder of the game, with Webster scoring two total touchdowns, Maleek Stewart three, Kamani Elam two, Chris Hernandez one, Kijana Zigler one, and Melvin Willis one. In all, the Eagles had only15 total offensive plays and finished the game 71-0.

The Eagles finished the season with an unofficial record of 6-4. The record is unofficial because of a game that had to be forfeited due to an ineligible player taking five snaps during the Eagles win vs Valley High School. The athletic department administration, who oversees the eligibility of players, had not informed the coaching staff of the player’s ineligibility, a lapse that in the end forced the Eagles to forfeit the winning game along with their potential for a playoff spot. A spot which ironically ended up going to Valley, the team they forfeited to.

Falcons Swoop the Eagles

By Ben Barber
Posted: 10/30/2014

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - This past week, El Camino High School welcomed the Christian Brother Falcons to their home field. It was a competitive match up for the two teams, The Eagles coming in at 5-3 and Christian Brothers coming in at 6-1. Despite the Christian Brothers’ record, they hadn't yet played a team that packed a punch like the Eagles.

The game was very competitive. The Falcons scored first in the first quarter, with an unfortunate interception by the Eagles keeping the Falcon offense on the field. On their second possession, the Eagles were forced backwards, giving the Falcons a safety and an extra two points on the board. The Falcons then scored another touchdown giving them a 16-0 lead.

Fed up and ready to spread their wings, the Eagles, on their third offense possession, were finally able to score a touchdown, and in the last few minutes of the half score again, bringing the game to a 16-16 tie going into half time. After the half, the Falcons were able to get another 10 on the board in the 3rd with the Eagles settling for a field goal. As the final minutes of the game wound down, the Eagles found themselves at a 32-32 tie. With less than a minute on the board, the Falcons were able to get down the field and kick the ball through the uprights, giving them the 35-32 lead to beat the Eagles.

Tyrin Boldin Tackles the Opposition
Tyrin Boldin (#80) finished the game with six solo tackles and two assists, finishing the night with eight total tackles!
Photos by Michelle Akana

Close Call for the Eagles

By Ben Barber
Posted: 10/23/2014

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - The El Camino High School football team made its way back home this week to finish the first of their remaining three games at home. It was all business for the Eagles, hosting Orangevale’s Casa Robles High School. The Casa Robles Rams came into the game 2-4, looking to take a step closer to a .500 season. With their defense prepared, the Rams chose to defer the reception of the opening kickoff, giving the Eagles the first possession of the ball. The Eagles make good use of the opportunity, marching the ball over seven plays into the Rams red zone. But the Rams weren’t ready to give up six points that easily, and took advantage of an odd ball, completing an interception.

Kevin Loheit Kicks It
Kicker Kevin Loheit wins the game with a 25 yard field goal!

The Eagles defense then took the field, holding the Rams to only five plays before it was punted away. The two teams continued to clash back and forth with the Eagles scoring first in the second quarter. Devin Mirkovich came away with three interceptions, keeping the Rams from the Eagle end zone. With seconds left in the game, Eagle kicker Kevin Loheit braved the field for a 25-yard field goal, bringing the score to 9-6, giving the Eagles the Win.

Maleek Stewart
Maleek Stewart (25) leads the way for running back Said Webster (17).
Photo by Ben Barber

Chris Hernandez
Chris Hernandez makes a stellar catch to give the Eagles a first down.
Photo by Ben Barber

Eagles Soar, 47-7

Story and Photos
By Ben Barber
Posted: 10/16/2014

SACRAMENTO REGION, CA (MPG) - For the last road game of the season, the El Camino Eagles found themselves at Del Oro High School facing Rio Americano. The newly renovated field with turf and all-weather track was paid for with the same measure that funded the renovations for Abbott Field at El Camino High School.

The Eagles started it off right out of the gate with an 85 yard kickoff return by Kijana Zigler and point after by Kevin Loheit to give the Eagles an early 7-0 lead. The Rio Americano Raiders responded right away, sneaking a wide receiver along the sideline and into the end zone to tie it up 7-7. The Eagles took full advantage of their next possession, marching down the field and into the red zone where running back Said Webster finished the series with a 10 yard run into the end zone for the Eagles second touchdown.

From there, the scoreboard remained silent with each teams’ defense flexing their strength. With about five minutes left in the second quarter, El Camino running back Maleek Stewart broke away from the line, completing a 60 yard rush for a third El Camino touchdown. After the half, Stewart continued the trend and ended the game with 136 total yards and three touchdowns. Rio’s Raiders remained silent for the rest of the game, unable to reach the end zone after their original visit in the first quarter. In the end, the scoreboard read 47-7 giving the Eagles a much needed league win.

This Friday the Eagles have their homecoming at Abbott Field where they face Casa Robles. Get there early, the stands will fill up fast.


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