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January 31, 2012 > Ohlone College coach adds another milestone

Ohlone College coach adds another milestone

By Biff Jones, Photo by Mike Heightchew

Donna Runyon, head softball coach at Ohlone College added win number 800 to her community college resume when Ohlone defeated East Bay rival, Chabot College last April. Coach Runyon was honored last month when the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA) presented her with a plaque commemorating her 800th victory at their convention in Las Vegas. Asked how it felt to reach that milestone, Coach said, "Great and old." Currently, Coach Runyon's win total has reached 805!

Coach Runyon attended Temple University of Philadelphia on a basketball scholarship during her freshman and sophomore years then transferred to Lock Haven State (LHS) of Pennsylvania for her junior and senior years, remaining on the basketball scholarship. She started playing fastpitch softball at LHS.

After receiving her bachelor's degree in Health and Physical Education, Coach Runyon played professional softball in 1976 as a catcher with the Pennsylvania Liberties of the International Women's Professional Softball Association (IWPS). When the Liberties discontinued play in 1977, Runyon moved to California and joined the IWPS Bakersfield Aggies. She liked the California lifestyle and remained in the Golden State.

Coaching duties began when Runyon became a part-time softball coach and eventually head coach at Cypress Community College in Southern California. She stayed at Cypress for six years before a friend told her of coaching opportunities in Northern California. In 1988, Runyon moved north to join Ohlone College as a head coach and has been at Ohlone ever since. She also found time to complete the requirements for a masters degree in Administration Physical Education from St. Mary's College in Moraga.

Coach Runyon's teams have won 13 Coast Conference North (CCN) Athletic League softball championships in her 24 years at Ohlone. Her first two championship teams, 1990-91, went on to finish fourth in the California State Community College Softball Championships. Other CCN champions played in 1992, 1997 and 2003-2011, a string of nine in a row; the last team to make the state tournament in 2009.

Coach Runyon is optimistic about this year's team: twelve sophomores including two transfers from four year colleges and six freshman.

Sophomore players are:
Katy Bihl (Newark Memorial High School); Lauren Ermitano; Shelby Fowler; Alicia Lema-Kesis (American High School); Brittany Lema-Kesis (American High School); Kaley Marden (Washington High School); Ariana Marquez (Newark Memorial High School); Lauren Poffenbarger (Milpitas High School); Sarah Ragusa; Renelle Traylor (Washington High School); Megan Tyler (Robertson High School); and Ashley Vignola.

Freshman are: Mackenzie Bush (Washington High School); Jaime Costa; Jazlyn Jimenez; Mariah Nesbet; Katy Weger; and Brittany Wright.

Roger Yee and Bob Beristianos will be assisting Coach Runyon this year.

Renegades open their quest for a tenth straight CCN crown and post season berth with a non-conference game against Diablo Valley of Pleasant Hill on Tuesday, February 7 at 3 p.m. on the Ohlone campus. Next home games will be a triple header on Saturday, February 11 against Fresno City and San Joaquin Delta of Stockton. Game times are 10 a.m., 12 noon and 2 p.m. Ohlone will play at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Admission is free and parking $2 (coins, bills or credit card) every day except free on Sunday.

Ohlone's version of March Madness (fast pitch softball style) will be on Saturday and Sunday, March 10-11 at Central Park in Fremont. Sixteen teams from Northern and Central California will play 24 games on four fields Saturday from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. and another 14 games on Sunday, 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.

Playoffs start on Saturday, May 5.

Go Renegades!

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