Nick Paulda, baseball
The Metro East Bears had a number of good things develop during their first American Legion season...and Nick Paulda was in the middle of them.
Paulda, a catcher from Alton High, worked his magic behind the plate in helping a quality pitching staff progress through the summer. The Bears finished 24-8, won the District 22 regular-season baseball title and then finished first in the district playoffs. They were eliminated in the Fifth Division Tournament.
In addition to his sound defensive work, Paulda proved to be a solid hitter in the middle of the Bears’ lineup. He wound up hitting fourth, behind top gun Drew Curtis, and had his clutch moments with key hits.
One of Paulda’s most productive outings was a 3-for-4 performance – all doubles – in a 3-1 victory over Fairview Heights to win the district playoffs. Manager Ken Schaake called Paulda one of his most dependable players and relied on him to keep the Bears primed to play.
LaJarvia Brown, track and field
The Alton High junior, the IHSA champion in the triple jump the past spring, competed the past weekend in the AAU Junior Nationals at Des Moines, Iowa.
She finished ninth in the triple jump and 15th in the long jump. Brown soared 38 feet, 7 inches in the triple jump and went 15-10 in the long jump during the national competition.
Terry Mitchell, who serves as Brown’s high school coach, said she came within "a whisker" of winning the triple jump at the nationals. The winning jump was 38-7.
“LaJarvia jumped 42 feet once and 40 feet another time, but both times the officials ruled that she had scratched,” Mitchell said. “LaJarvia was upset about it, but she wants to come back next year and win it.”
Brown will get set to play volleyball for the Redbirds this fall and basketball for the 2014-15 season. Then she will start priming for the 2015 spring track season and take aim at defending her state title. She soared 40-3 this past spring in becoming the AHS female trackster to snare a state title.