It was 1994 that the Laguna Creek Cardinals became the Elk Grove Unified School District’s newest high school and 25 years later, they have put forth a long list of talented alumni not just in the classroom, but athletically as well.
On Sept. 6, the Cardinals celebrated their inaugural class of the LCHS Sports Hall of Fame during halftime of its game against Dublin and recognized Chaniqua Ross, Joe Kirchofer, Allen McCoy, Isaiah Ross, Rachel Bryan, Josh Lex, Nicole Ybarra and Randy Watanabe as the first-ever group to join its HOF.
Bryan ran cross country and track and field both and high school and in college, where she competed for Tulane University. Bryan placed second at the CIF State meet in her sophomore year and graduated in 2004.
Kirchofer helped the Cardinals earn their first Sac-Joaquin Section Championship for basketball in 1999 and went on to play basketball for Stanford University. He went on to play and coach semi-professional basketball in Denmark.
Josh Lex played baseball and football for the Cardinals before going on to play baseball for the Toronto Blue Jays from 2004-07.
In college, Lex played baseball for Sacramento City College and at Oral Roberts University.
McCoy earned first team All-Delta in football and basketball and went on to play football for California State University, Sacramento.
After college, McCoy played semi-pro football for the Sacramento Wolverines and went on to teach physical education and coach football and basketball.
Chaniqua Ross is a four-time section champion in shot put and discus and won the state championship in discus.
Ross, who graduated in 1998, competed in track and field for UCLA and is also a member of the Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame.
Isaiah Ross compete in track and field and football for the Cardinals and among his achievements was a two-time first team All-Delta athlete and lettered in both sports. His high school success led him to play football for the University of Nevada from 1999-2004 before signing with the San Diego Chargers in 2004.
He was a member of the AFL Nashville Kats in 2007 as well as the New Orleans VooDoo in 2008, went to training camp with the New Orleans Saints and was signed by the Washington Redskins to their practice squad in 2008
Ybarra played basketball in high school and in college, including Sac City and UC Berkeley. She won the Delta League MVP in high school and set the Cardinals’ three-point record with six three-point baskets and became Sac City’s assistant women’s basketball coach.
Watanabe is the Cardinals’ first athletic director and lists having attended 95% of all of the school’s playoff games among his accomplishments, according to the school’s 25-year celebration HOF inductee guide and was a high school athlete himself, having played football.
At Laguna Creek, he remained AD until 1998 and also coached boys volleyball from 1994-1997, was an assistant football coach in 1998, coached boys golf from 1999-2002, girls golf and freshman football.
The Cardinals could continue to make notable athletic achievements as the football program takes on Florin today at Monterey Trail High School with junior varsity playing at 5 p.m. and varsity starting at 7:15 p.m.