Empire report: Santa Clara Grand Prix draws Sims, Phelps

More than a dozen Sonoma County high school athletes and recent graduates are expected to compete at the 42nd Santa Clara International Grand Prix swimming event Thursday through Sunday at the Santa Clara/George Haines International Swim Center.

More than 20 Olympians from the Beijing Games are expected to race, including Michael Phelps, making just his second appearance since serving a three-month suspension for being photographed with a marijuana pipe.

Other American Olympic medalists expected to compete include Aaron Peirsol, Ryan Lochte and Katie Hoff. Australian world record holders and Olympic medalists Stephanie Rice and Liesel Jones will also be competing.

The meet, the final leg of the U.S. Grand Prix circuit, serves as the last major competition before the U.S. championships in July.

Many current and former Santa Rosa Neptunes will also be taking part, including Amanda Sims of Montgomery and the University of California. Sims won the NCAA Division I title in the 100 fly this year and will be using this meet as a tuneup for the World University Games in Belgrade, Serbia in July.

Maria Carrillo’s Maya DiRado will be among the top seeds in the women’s individual medley events. DiRado, who just finished her junior year, is coming off a silver medal performance in the 200IM at the Mel Zajac International Meet in Vancouver, Canada, in May. Her performance there moved her up to 20th all-time among U.S. women in that event.

Other area high school swimmers competing include Molly Hannis (Santa Rosa High), Jessica Ampuero and Allie Davis (Windsor), Sophia Yamauchi (Montgomery), Lauren Matevish and Matt Stuhr (Maria Carrillo) and Ben Whitenack of Healdsburg. College swimmers from the area include Reid Hartz (Montgomery/UC Davis), Penelope Yamauchi (Montgomery, Arizona State), Allie Stuhr (Maria Carrillo, SRJC, San Diego State) and Heather Cramer (Rancho Cotate, SRJC, San Diego State).


The North Central League I North won a wild 10-9 decision over the NCL I South at Legion Field in Cloverdale Saturday in the first all-star game held between the league’s two divisions.

The NCL I North led 10-4, but the South scored four runs in the eighth and one in the ninth.

Cloverdale’s Mitch Delfino pitched the first four innings for the South, allowing one earned run, and went 2-for-3 with a three-run homer, and RBI-double and three walks. He was walked intentionally with a runner on second in the ninth.

Devin Nordin of Middletown pitched four scoreless innings while striking out four to pick up the win.

St. Vincent’s Ian Williams pitched shutout ball for the South in the eighth and ninth and Fort Bragg’s Eli Duran retired the final two batters with two runners on to save the game for the North.

Other top hitters included Duran (2-for-3, double) and Johnny Harmyk (2-for-4) for the North and Corey Dillon (2-for-4, double, 2 RBIs) and Matt Rohrs (2-for-4, double) for the South.


David Wellman, a 2004 Maria Carrillo grad, was named to ESPN The Magazine’s academic All-District track team from Chico State.

Wellman recently finished ninth in the 800 meters at the NCAA Track and Field Championships and also recorded an NCAA qualifying time of 3:51.32 in the 1,500 meters. He finished second in the 1,500 and fourth in the 800 at the California Collegiate Athletic Association Championships.

Wellman is a graduate student in Kinesiology and his GPA was ninth highest among the 36 NCAA and NAIA cross country/track & field male athletes honored on the West Coast.


Tyler Cozad, a 9-year-old from Windsor, became a California state champion in TaeKwonDo.

He competed in the 8-10 color belt division and won a state championship crown in four separate divisions and was second in the fifth division.

He won in Traditional Forms, Traditional Weapons, Xtreme Forms and Extreme Weapons and was second in Sparring.

Cozad recently received his Black Belt and will be traveling to Little Rock, Ark., later this month to compete in the World Championships.