UC Merced is the host, but title races will be in Fresno

slynch@mercedsunstar.comOctober 30, 2013 

Kevin Clancy is feeling the love. In addition to getting his UC Merced cross country teams prepared for the California Pacific Conference Championships, the first-year head coach is also responsible for putting on the event.

The Bobcats will host the meet for the first time on Nov. 4. at Woodward Park in Fresno. It's the same location for the CIF state cross country meet.

It could be a pretty stressful time, but Clancy said he's got plenty of help.

"There's a couple coaches around the conference who are helping with the details and I'm really lucky to have the event staff and administration that we have," Clancy said. "They're making it so I can really focus on coaching."

The UCM teams are looking to build upon last year's performance. The Bobcat men placed second with a pair of runners qualifying for the NAIA National Championships. Senior Andrew Pierce was one of those qualifiers last year and he'll be looking for a return trip. Junior Daniel Pena is hoping to go for the first time.

The Bobcat women spent much of the season racing without a full squad, but are now hoping to better last year's fourth-place Cal Pac showing. Sophomore Sofia Rios is also looking for a return trip to the National Championships.

"Both teams have just been getting stronger as the season has gone by," Clancy said. "I'm excited to see what we can do."

Conference champions automatically qualify for the nationals, as do the top five individuals not from the winning team.

Crunch time

UC Merced also will host the women's volleyball CPCC for the first time, and head coach Allen McCreary intends to have his team participating in it.

Only the top four teams qualify for the tournament, and the Bobcats' recent skid of five losses in six matches has them on the outside looking in.

UCM (11-11, 3-5 Cal Pac) sits one game behind Simpson University (4-5 Cal Pac) with four matches left. All four games are at home, but three will come against the top three teams in the conference.

The gauntlet begins Saturday with a 7 p.m. matchup against Embry-Riddle.

Hoop dreams

Basketball season is upon us with all four local college teams set to play in the next two weeks.

The UC Merced women's basketball team gets things started Saturday when it hosts the Oregon Institute of Technology.

The UC men open the season at Notre Dame De Namur on Nov. 5.

The Merced College men will hit the road for the always tough San Jose Tournament on Nov. 7 and the MC women will open at the Delta Tournament on Nov. 8.

Respect of their peers

The Merced College baseball team's 2013 season ended more abruptly than expected, but with almost the entire starting lineup returning expectations are high.

The Blue Devils enter the season ranked eighth in Northern California. They are one of three Central Valley Conference teams ranked in the preseason poll with rival Fresno City opening the year at No. 1.

A league of her own

TURLOCK — Karenee Demery is closing out her Cal State Stanislaus career as spectacularly as she started it.

The Merced native was named California Collegiate Athletic Association Women's Soccer Player of the Week after netting three goals, two of which were game winners for the undefeated Warriors.

Demery's 19 goals are tied for the lead in NCAA Division 2 and her 46 points are tops in the nation. The 19 goals also tie her own school record which she set as a freshman.

Closing strong

With wins in two of its last three games and a solid showing against Chabot, the Merced College football team snuck into the NorCal top 20 rankings this week.

The Blue Devils (3-5) debut at No. 18 heading into Friday's contest with No. 10 Laney. Last year's preseason poll was the last time MC has been ranked.

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