Anika Kolan may be just a 15-year-old sophomore at Dublin High, but in her time on this earth, she has accomplished more than some people her own age will do in their lifetimes.
That’s not to denigrate her classmates, but just high praise of Kolan and her amazing athletic ability.
In the six years since she was a 9-year-old that was involved in swimming, basketball, and soccer, Kolan has risen to the top level of United States cricket as a member of the women’s national team.
Kolan has already seen her success take her to international tournaments in Mexico and Zimbabwe.
“It’s been crazy,” said Kolan. “I never thought I would see Africa.”
Once she decided to focus on cricket, she embraced the sport, thanks to support from her family. Brother Anish is a freshman in college now, but as he went through school at Fallon Middle School and Dublin High, he was a trailblazer for Anika.
“I would not be here if it wasn’t for my brother and family,” said Kolan. “I had to find something to do. I didn’t just want to sit around and do homework.”
One of the first things the family did was construct a cage (think baseball batting cage) in the backyard where Kolan could work on her hitting.
Kolan got into organized cricket with the San Ramon Cricket Association, a group that was started in 2008 and now features over 20 adult teams that play all year.
In 2010, the group started youth leagues that are thriving today.
From there she advanced to playing with the Major League Cricket Association, and last year is when things really took off for Kolan.
USA Cricket has a domestic pathway in place and Kolan took full advantage of the opportunity.
It started with intra-regional action, which locally had showcases in San Jose and Fremont. Kolan was successful there and progressed to Texas, the next level in the selection process.
From there she went to Florida where the format is West vs. East, allowing for a national team to be formed. After conquering that level, Kolan – who is a wicketkeeper (think catcher) - was off to Mexico and a taste of international competition.
Later came the trip to Zimbabwe. It’s a been a great run for Kolan, but there were some costs, as she missed half of the first semester to travel. Support from the school was huge, with Kolan coming through the year with a 4.0 GPA.
“Mr. Sbranti has been a real big help,” said Kolan of the Dublin High Athletic Director. “I knew I was going to miss a lot of school.”
For Sbranti, it was a no-brainer to make it work.
“She’s an amazing athlete,” said Sbranti or Kolan. “We are really proud of her. What she’s been able to accomplish representing not just a student at Dublin, but representing her country, is incredible.”
Equally as important to Kolan is to grow the sport locally, as well as across the country. Men’s cricket has been gaining recognition, but the women’s program is still fighting for publicity.
“People are starting to understand it more than they did when I first started playing.”
Sbranti is quick to acknowledge the role Kolan is playing in the development of cricket.
“She is one of the finest athletes in the Tri-Valley. Sometimes some of these other sports don’t get the recognition,” said Sbranti. “She is an inspiration to a lot of people. Cricket, especially with the change of demographic in the Tri-Valley, is growing in popularity. There are a lot of high school cricket teams forming and she is an inspiration to all of them because she is recognized as an international athlete.”
Team Scores: Monte Vista 128, Dublin 83, California 81, Foothill 64, Granada 37, Carondelet 31, San Ramon Valley 25, Amador Valley 22, Dougherty Valley 19, Livermore 6.
100-Cate Peters (MV) 12.18; 200-Cate Peters (MV) 24.64; 400-Cate Peters (MV) 58.00; 800-Cate Peters (MV) 2:16.93; 100H-Mara Lampsas (Cal) 15.66; 300H-Mara Lampsas (Cal) 46.50; 1,600-Sally Binder (MV) 5:02.8; 3,200-Allie Turns (MV) 11:38.74.; 4x100-California 49.51; 4x400-Monte Vista 4:04.74.
LJ-Torre Anderson (Foot) 18-07.75; TJ-Aiza Sarwar (D) 36-04.5; SP-Ashley Rosati (MV) 35-08.0; Dis-Sydney Kane (SRV) 111-10; HJ-Mara Lampsas (Cal) 5-4; PV-Jathiyah Muhammad (D) 13-08.
Team scores: Dublin 140, De La Salle 70, Granada 49, California 44, Monte Vista 41, San Ramon Valley 37, Foothill 37, Amador 33, Livermore 23, Dougherty Valley 22.
100-Brandon Burns (D) 10.85; 200-Brandon Burns (D) 22.06; 400-Alexander Franco (D) 50.37; 110HH-Adam Wright (MV) 14.37; 300IH-Anish Kasam (D) 40.19; 800-Shane Badcock (D) 1:57.27; 1,600-Dheeraj Gurusamy (G) 4:15.93; 3,200-Erik Bromley (G) 9:44.21; 4x100-Dublin 42.54; 4x400-Dublin 3:27.99.
LJ-Journey McKoy (DLS) 21-07.5; TJ-Chase Dinkel (F) 42-08.0; SP-Stefano Matteucci (G) 48-05.75; Dis-Charlie Morrow (F) 140-06.0; HJ-Dwayne Noel (L) 6-1; PV-Khaliq Muhammad (D) 15-00.
200 Medley relay: De La Salle 1:32.49; 200 Free: Ethan Wang (Dougherty Valley) 1:39.16; 200IM: Devyn Caples (Amador Valley) 1:50.29; 100 Fly: Tommy Order (De La Salle) 48.63; 100 Free: Zach Elian (De La Salle) 44.44; 500 Free: Ethan Wang (Dougherty Valley) 4:26.60; 200 Free relay: Monte Vista 1:24.33; 100 Back: Tommy Order (De La Salle) 48.74. Diving: Scott Garman (Amdor Valley) 259.60.
200 Free: Bailey Hartman (Carondelet) 1:46.38; 200IM: Stephanie Iannacone (Carondelet) 2:02.27; 500 Free: Bailey Hartman (Carondelet) 1:45.8; 200 Free relay: Monte Vista 1:34.78; 100 Breast: Abigail Herscu (Granada) 1:02.15.