Sunday, May 24, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Sparky of Linfield: Catball's Mikaela Viloria, football's Marcus Gonzalez and Steve Davis have 'Sparky' nickname

Sparky? Linfield athletics?

Say hello to Mikaela “Sparky” Viloria, an outfielder for Catball, from Orange, Calif. She joined Linfield softball as a freshman in 2014. 

In photo, she's in Salem, Va., with Catball competing for the 2015 NCAA DIII national softball title.

Mikaela, daughter of Gene and Teri Viloria, got her Sparky nickname while playing mini soccer as a five and six-year-old for an OJSC/Orange Junior Soccer Club team called the “Purple Puppies.” 

Puppies coach Dawn Southland used "Sparky" because Mikaela would “spark up the team” when sent into soccer matches.

Well past mini soccer, the Sparky nickname has been used when she played recreation softball, travel/club softball, for the El Modena High School Vanguards softball team and now for Catball.

Speaking of El Modena, Sparky provided not a spark, but a lightning bolt in the Vanguards’ CIF/California Interscholastic Federation playoff win over Etiwanda High School of Rancho Cucamonga.

The Orange County Register reported that Sparky had one of El Mo’s crushing blows in the Etiwanda game by hitting a two-run homer. The newspaper included a photo of Sparky being greeted at home plate by teammates after her blast.

Two other Sparkys were Linfield football players:

--Meet Marcus "Sparky" Gonzalez, a Wildcat defensive end from Honolulu (St. Louis School). He lettered for the ‘Cats in the 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011 seasons. In the photo, he’s with his mother, Phyllis Freund, after a 2011 game on Legendary Maxwell Field.

--Greet Steve "Sparky" Davis, who lettered in football for Linfield in the 1969, 1970 and 1971 seasons. In his black & white photo, he's wearing a Linfield football uniform. (Sadly, Steve died in 2014. This story was originally posted in 2011.)

How did Sparky Gonzalez get his nickname? 

“I … remember … always being called Sparky,” he said. “I asked my parents how I got the name and they tell me that it was kind of an evolution of names. My real name is Marcus, so I guess in the child's (way) of saying my name it went from Marcus to Marky, then from Marky to Sparky and it stuck…”

The highlight of Gonzalez’s time as a Linfield football player was creating “friendships with my teammates that I now consider brothers,” he said.

It was “awesome” to have a successful Linfield football career, he said. “I (enjoyed being among) my ‘brothers’ for countless hours a week, putting in the time to get better and continue the Linfield legacy … The bonds (between us) will last forever…I couldn’t be any happier with the success I've shared with them.”

For the ‘Cats, Sparky Davis was a linebacker in the 1968 and 1969 seasons and a kicker after that. His straight-ahead kicking made him Linfield's leading football scorer in the 1970 season. During it he “booted” a 33-yard field goal with nine seconds left to beat PLU, 16-13, on Franklin Pierce High School field in Parkland (Tacoma area), Wash.

Davis, who lives in McMinnville, is a 1968 graduate of North Salem, Ore., High School and earned a Linfield bachelor of science degree in business. His vital behind-the-scenes role in Wildcat football is honored by his enshrinement in the Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame. 

What are the roots of Davis' "Sparky" nickname?

He was among Linfield students who lived in the McMinnville Fire Department downtown for room and board. In return, he was a volunteer firefighter.

Dalmatian dogs are commonly associated with fire departments as being faithful companions of firefighters. The nation's #1 fire department Dalmatian is "Sparky" the fire dog. Steve's fellow McMinnville firefighters gave him the nickname.

There’s another Sparky Davis angle, too. The Davis family has a long history of being electricians and in the electrical supply contracting trade. Sparks are associated with electricity. But, as Steve points out, there are no sparks “if you do it right!”

Posted Dec. 11, 2011
Updated/re-posted Oct. 12, 2013
Updated/re-posted May 21, 2015

Monday, May 18, 2015

Catball practice 5/18/2015

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

About Linfield new women's basketball coach (posted 5/13/2015)

Bunn excited about new coaching challenge at Linfield

By Gary Horowitz, Salem Statesman-Journal 5/13/2015

McMINNVILLE – Casey Bunn spent part of last weekend organizing her new office in the Linfield Athletic Complex, and meeting with members of the women's basketball team.

A week into her job as women's basketball coach at Linfield College, Bunn is excited about her first opportunity as a college coach.

After spending the past three years as girl's basketball coach at Tualatin High School – the Timberwolves made three consecutive OSAA Class 6A state playoff appearances – Bunn is ready for a new challenge.

Linfield is an NCAA Division III school and part of the Northwest Conference.

"Being able to coach at the Division III level is great for me," said Bunn, 31, who grew up in Stayton and played college basketball at Oregon State.

"I like the balance of the school. They're able to be students first and still be able to enjoy basketball and at a competitive level."

Athletic scholarships are not offered in Division III, but recruiting remains a key to success at any level. Bunn will be looking for the right fit at Linfield, which competes in one of the nation's strongest conferences for women's basketball.

NWC teams have reached the national championship game in four of the last seven years. George Fox University in Newberg won the national title in 2009 under coach Scott Rueck, who has since led OSU to national prominence.

Bunn replaces Robin Potera-Haskins, who stepped down after five seasons. Linfield was 12-13 last season and placed fifth in the NWC.

"We just felt like she was a good fit," Linfield athletic director Scott Carnahan said of the Bunn hire. "I think with us, being able to have a strong connection with our student-athletes we felt was very important, and we felt that was a strong suit with her teams at Tualatin."

Bunn will be promoting Linfield on the recruiting trail and wants the school to be center stage, but clearly her extensive basketball background was an asset in landing the job.

As a senior at OSU in 2007, Bunn led the Pac-10 in scoring and was a first team all-conference selection. She graduated with a degree in public health promotion and education, and went on to play professionally for three years in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Australia.

"I was a very fortunate to play in the places that I did," Bunn said. "Basketball's taken me around the world."

Her basketball roots remain firmly planted in the state of Oregon.

Bunn was an assistant girl's basketball coach at Lake Oswego High for two years before accepting the head coaching job at Tualatin, and is co-founder and director of Portland Jr. Energy Basketball, a skills development program predominantly for girls in third grade through high school.

It's a program that continues to be a passion for Bunn.

"We all know that basketball and sports in general is an amazing tool for kids to learn real life lessons," Bunn said. "So we really emphasize that, and good attitudes and positive self-talk and positive imagine and confidence. Especially with young girls in this day and age, they struggle with that big time."

Even though Bunn's days as a professional basketball player are in the rearview mirror, she still has big-time game, evidenced by her success in three-on-three street basketball tournaments in recent years.

Representing Portland Energy, Bunn has been part of teams that have won five consecutive women's open division titles at Hoopfest in Spokane, Washington, which is the largest tournament of its kind in the world.

And Bunn and company are the four-time defending women's open champions at Salem's Hoopla, which will be held Aug. 6-9 in front of the Oregon State Capitol.

Bunn's main priority these days is coaching, but being able to physically illustrate to players what's she's looking for on the court is an asset.

"I'm not as young as I used to be, obviously," Bunn said with a smile, "but I can still show 'em. I think being able to do that is valuable to players. A lot of players like to see it done and like for me, I can't look at a board and be like, 'that's the play.' I've gotta run through it."

As for her coaching style?

"I'm a coach that pushes their players and expects a lot of out of them, but at the same time we're gonna have a lot of fun," Bunn said. "It's gonna be a team where it feels like family."

It would come as no surprise to see Bunn as a Division I women's basketball coach down the road, but she's not looking ahead.

Bunn has embraced every stop during her basketball journey, and that's her plan at Linfield as well.

"I'm the type of person that where I'm coaching, that's where I wanted to be. I'm all in," Bunn said. "Now that I'm at Linfield it's a great opportunity, a great new challenge for me."

The Bunn file

Who: Casey Bunn, women's basketball coach at Linfield College
Age: 31
Hometown: Stayton
Of note: A first team all-Pac-10 selection at Oregon State in 2007 and the conference scoring leader (20.0 points per game)...10th-leading scorer in school history (1,163 points), seventh in rebounds (679)...played professional basketball in Greece, Spain, Portugal, Ireland and Australia...head girl's basketball coach for three years at Tualatin High School...a four-time all-state selection at Stayton High.

Friday, May 08, 2015

Preparing for Parker's Run 5/9/2015

On 5/8/2015 in Linfield's Riley Hall, early packet pick-up for 5/9/2015 Parker’s run/walk on grounds of McMinnville's Evergreen Aviation Museum.