Ben Wooldridge, the talented former Foothill quarterback who was the backup quarterback this season at Fresno State, has entered the NCAA Transfer Portal.
Wooldridge was the backup two seasons ago as a freshman and performed well in the role, leaving knowledgeable observers to believe he would be the starter for the Bulldogs this season.
But former Monte Vista quarterback Jake Haener -- a QB Wooldridge played against while at Foothill -- transferred from Washington to Fresno after the 2019 season.
The two had a duel down to the wire for the starting spot at Fresno State, but Haener got the nod, leaving Wooldridge as the backup. Once again, he performed well in the role, completing 8-of-16 passes for 117 yards, leading multiple scoring drives when called upon to replace Haener.
"It's been crazy," Wooldridge said of the recently concluded football season. "I knew that camp was going to be a battle and I love competition. I thought I won the job and all the stats (kept during camp) showed that, but they went with (Haener)."
Which meant it was decision time.
"I thought about transferring at that point, but after talking with my parents I decided to stay for the season," Wooldridge said. "After the season, the coaches gave me an evaluation and told me that Jake would be the starter."
That meant the decision was easy.
"For me to achieve my dreams of being a Division I starter, and have a chance at the NFL, I needed a change," he said.
Entering the portal means that schools can contact Wooldridge, and he in turn can contact schools as well. In just the first few days there's been interest and things are looking good.
"Hopefully, I will get a chance," Wooldridge said. "It would be nice to stay on the West Coast."
Having known Wooldridge for a few years now, his competitive drive and work ethic will make him a perfect match for a college program. Good size, athleticism and a big arm is the total package.
"I feel like the last eight to nine months I have gotten better as a quarterback," Wooldridge said. "Working with my trainer has helped me grow as a quarterback. I am in the best shape and football mindset I have ever been."
Womble rewarded for efforts
The First Tee of the Tri-Valley proudly announced the Northern California Section of the PGA of America has named its program director Jill Womble as the recipient of both the 2020 Player Development Award and the 2020 Youth Player Development Award.
A 13-year member of the PGA, Womble joined First Tee of the Tri-Valley in 2014.
"Golf has given me opportunities I could not have found any other way," she said. "I am passionate about making sure others have the chance to experience all the gifts golf brings."
This is one of those things that always puts a smile on my face. I have always been a proponent of giving back to your community. I have seen many former local athletes give their time, but I have also noticed that many seem to never dream of giving back.
Having written about Womble when she was excelling at Foothill before heading to the University of Kansas, I always knew she was very personable and a good person.
When she started working for the First Tee, it was a perfect fit.
There are great people working for First Tee chapters across the United States, but when you get someone who grew up in the community now coming back and working to make sure today's youth get the same attention they received, that is special.
Through national programs developed by First Tee, Womble and Executive Director Cameron MacGregor manage nearly 14,200 youth players.
"The National School Program and the Life Skills Experience Classes bring golf to the kids in our local schools and after school programs," Womble said. "They aren't just learning how to play golf, they are learning about respect, integrity, honesty, responsibility, sportsmanship, judgment, courtesy, perseverance and confidence -- the Nine Core Values of First Tee. They will take these lessons into the world with them, and they will benefit from that, no matter what they choose to do with the game itself."
Editor's note: Dennis Miller is a contributing sports writer for the Pleasanton Weekly. To contact him about his "Pleasanton Preps" column, email [email protected]