Keep an eye on these athletes
Ten people to watch in Chico, and beyond, this sports season
Chico may not be known as a sports town, but there are a lot of exceptional athletes who make their home here. Between Chico State and Butte College, and even a few pros, the CN&R has chosen 10 sprorts figures—two of them coaches—to watch this year. They’re bound to break records, and we’ll get to see them do it.
The first season for Chico State men’s soccer coach Felipe Restrepo is already turning out to be an exciting one. Only the program’s third coach in more than three decades, he comes to the North State from UC Davis, where he was assistant coach for seven years. The team started the season off right, defeating Seattle University (which is scheduled to move up to Division I), 1-0.
Lindsay Macias and Erica Brick
This powerhouse duo is sure to make the women’s volleyball season a must-watch. Macias, who broke Chico State’s kills record last season and also holds the record for kills per game, was named an honorable mention All-American. Brick, a senior setter, came out of the team’s first tournament as MVP. She is also poised to break Chico State’s record of assists and is the school’s only player to record 1,000 assists three seasons in a row.
This senior mid-fielder for the women’s soccer team at Chico State is set to reach the team’s top 10 for scoring, expanding on a career total of 11 goals. She played in all 21 matches last year and is one of just five returning starters. In addition, the team is the current favorite to win the California Collegiate Athletic Association title.
Another soccer coach, Larry Nees, who hails from Chico State, starts off Butte College’s men’s program with a long list of accomplishments. As a Chico State player, Nees was an all-conference choice all four years. He also served as assistant coach on the men’s team and head coach of the women’s team in the early ‘80s, before moving to Illinois and Texas for head coaching jobs. He then returned to the Wildcats as an assistant coach, before taking the job as head coach of Butte College’s first men’s soccer team this year.
Chico State’s own speed racer may not have made it to the Olympics, but he’s still on Chico’s list of athletes to watch. Last season, Scott Bauhs broke Chico State’s record for the mile, coming in at 3:59:81. He also placed 10th in the U.S. Cross Country Championships, and could very well improve on that finish this year.
Kyle Woodruff and Kyle Lohse
Twenty-two-year-old right-handed pitcher Kyle Woodruff is currently pitching in the Arizona League, where he’s whiffed 28 batters in only 29 innings pitched (as of CN&R press time), after getting drafted by the San Francisco Giants this year in the 27th round. Woodruff grew up in the Bay Area a Giants fan before coming up to Chico State, where he played two years, going 8-4 with 94 strikeouts in 120 innings pitched. Sort of like former Hamilton High ace Kyle Lohse, who, after wowing scouts, was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in 1996, Woodruff is a power pitcher. Lohse, incidentally, has 13 wins this year for the St. Louis Cardinals.
Ryan Ratikin and Josh Bellamy
Ryan Ratikin and Josh Bellamy form quite an offensive pair for the Butte College football team. Ratikin threw three touchdowns this past weekend against Sacramento City College for a 40-13 win. Bellamy, a wide receiver, had five catches and two touchdowns in the opener and already has been offered a scholarship to the University of South Florida. There’s a third name that rings loudly on the field, and it’s Ratikin’s fellow QB, Jordan Rodgers, who keeps the starter on his toes. (Yes, he’s Aaron Rodgers’ little brother.)