Local notebook: Former Condors coaches excel; more college players on the move | Sports

As former Bakersfield coaches Jay Woodcroft and Dave Manson bowed out of the Stanley Cup playoffs — the Colorado Avalanche completed a sweep of the Edmonton Oilers with a 6-5 overtime win Monday — one longtime Condors staffer is still going in the American Hockey League.

The Laval Rocket, AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens, are locked in a back-and-forth Eastern Conference Finals series with the Springfield Thunderbirds. Their coach JF Houle made the move to Quebec this season after seven years with the Condors, one as ECHL head coach and six as AHL assistant.

The Rocket has been led by forward Danick Martel and goaltender Cayden Primeau during the playoffs; its series with Springfield continues Friday in Laval.

And that’s not all — the Seattle Thunderbirds, currently taking on the Edmonton Oil Kings for the championship of the Western Hockey League, are led by Matt O’Dette, another former Condors ECHL boss.

wildcat strikes: Bakersfield College softball’s all-time strikeout leader is headed to Abilene Christian. The school Tuesday announced that Talia Nielsen, the Renegades’ ace throughout their landmark 2022 season, will join the Wildcats next year, marking her return to the Western Athletic Conference. A product of Liberty High, Nielsen initially attended Cal State Bakersfield out of high school in 2019, but made just 13 appearances in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the Roadrunners’ last in the WAC. She reemerged in 2022 across town at BC and started 40 of the Renegades’ 46 games, posting a 1.53 ERA with a 15.5 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Nielsen was listed as a freshman for BC this year and so she should have plenty of eligibility in Abilene, as the Wildcats will look to replace sixth-year senior pitcher Sidney Holman-Mansell. (ACU’s football team is also home to another Southwest Yosemite League product, former Centennial defensive lineman Colby Warkentin.)

north star: Curtis Threlkeld had a distinguished six-year stint on the CSUB track and field team, including a pair of WAC championships in the 800 meters in 2018 and 2019, and more recently a Big West Conference Athlete of the Week nod after a meet record in March. Now the North High alum’s athletic career is coming full circle, as he announced that he has accepted a physical education job with the school. Threlkeld, who also taught science at Standard Middle School during the 2021-22 school year, wrote on Twitter that he has been aiming for the PE job since he graduated from North in 2016.

not off-season: The end of athletic competition for the season has intensified the rate of player movement, as exemplified by Jashia Morrissey’s transfer process. The Roadrunner sophomore, who moved to center field this year after beginning his career as a middle infielder, announced he was leaving CSUB on May 31 and committed to conference rival Long Beach State four days later. Morrissey went to high school at Gardena-Serra, just half an hour northwest of the Long Beach campus.

Recent CSUB graduate Miracle Saxon, a valuable defensive forward who played all four years for the Roadrunners, has indicated on social media that she will join Grambling State next year. Her Former teammate Aaliyah Seuell is transferring to Fresno Pacific.

A pair of Bakersfield products will also be turning pro abroad. After four years at Colorado State and one as the top attacker for Tennessee, Breana Runnels, an Independence High grad, is joining Finnish volleyball club Pölkky Kuusamo.

Aodhán O’Hara, the senior transfer forward from Barrie, Ont., who led CSUB men’s soccer in goals in 2021, has gone home to play semi-pro soccer for Simcoe County Rovers of League1 Ontario.

Reporter Henry Greenstein can be reached at 661-395-7374. Follow him on Twitter: @HenryGreenstein.


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