Branson Garcia has spent a lot of time on basketball courts, practically growing up with a ball in his hands since the age of five. The game is a major passion for the Pitman High senior, so much so that it's hard for his family and friends to dissociate Garcia from basketball.
The 48th Annual Outstanding Athlete Awards ceremony was held at the Sportsmen of Stanislaus Club in Modesto on Wednesday, bringing the best student and adult athletes Stanislaus County has to offer together for one night of recognition and fun.
The Sac-Joaquin Section Boys Golf Masters Championships proved to be the final stop of the season for three local golfers who hit the green at the Reserve at Spanos Park on Monday with aspirations for NorCal.
Turlock High tore through the Central California Conference this season and beat the Bulldogs of Folsom High handedly in the second round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Boys Team Tennis Championships, but on Monday it met its match in Jesuit High.
Turlock High did its job to finish second in the Central California Conference this week, sweeping Buhach Colony High in a double header that also earned its boys the eight seed in the upcoming Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Baseball South Championships.
The mood what light and loose in Pitman High's dugout on Wednesday when the Pride hosted Golden Valley High in the final baseball game of the 2015 Central California Conference season. A day removed from dominating the Cougars 14-1 through five innings, the Pride (22-5 overall, 13-2 CCC) knew that they would soon be celebrating the best regular season performance in Pitman High baseball history with the program's first ever CCC championship victory.
Life on the baseball diamond was tough for Hilmar High this year. After finishing in a two-way tie for third place in the Trans Valley League the previous season, the Yellowjackets entered 2015 with a youthful enthusiasm that was reflective of their roster and of their expectations.
Four more Pitman High athletes will soon be joining the collegiate ranks after signing letters of intent on Tuesday. Quentin Hernandez, Cristian Clementi, Gilbert Valadez and Angel Velasquez each put ink to paper in front of friends and family for their individual colleges as Hernandez signed on to play football for George Fox University in Oregon and Clementi, Valadez and Velasquez signed on to wrestle for Grand Canyon University in Arizona, Luther College in Iowa and Northern Illinois University, respectively.
Turlock High girls soccer owned the 2015 season as far as the Central California Conference was concerned, edging out Merced High in a tight race for first place en route to the Bulldogs' fourth consecutive league championship. That momentum was put to a halt immediately in the post season, however, when Turlock traveled to Bella Vista High on Tuesday for the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Tournament.
Turlock High won the final game of its three-game series with rival Pitman High Friday afternoon, beating the Pride 8-3 after falling 0-7 on Tuesday and 5-6 on Thursday. But while Pitman walked away from Turlock's home field in the loser's column on Friday, its boys exited the week as winners, at least partially, of the Central California Conference with only one win needed to claim the outright championship.
Hilmar High's Jacob Ahid has been a small-town, valley boy all his life. He's developed as a baseball player from child to adolescent, but for the next step in his baseball career Ahid will be leaving Hilmar and heading to Seaside where he will become the newest addition to California State University, Monterey Bay.
It was a war of attrition when Turlock High hosted rival Pitman High in the final Central California Conference girls soccer match of the season on Thursday. The Bulldogs (10-2-3 CCC) entered the match with only a half a game lead over Merced High and needing a tie or a win to secure their fourth consecutive CCC championship. Still, Turlock hit the pitch aggressively looking to end its season in the winner's column before ultimately finishing in a deadlock with the Pride, 0-0.
There will soon be a soccer shakeup in the Sac-Joaquin Section. After years of failed proposals to take boys and girls soccer out of their respective fall and spring seasons, the SJS board recently approved moving both boys and girls soccer to the winter season and align its schedule with the California Interscholastic Federation's official season of sport for soccer.
It was a defensive deadlock for the majority of Tuesday's cross-town showdown between Turlock and Pitman High. After four innings of solid pitching from the Bulldogs' Nick Avila and Pride's Nick Jones, the scoreboard read 0-0 and everyone was left questioning, who would falter first?
League championships for boys golf will be held on Monday for schools across the area. These tournaments are typically a place for teams to put in one final, solid performance in the hopes of qualifying for Divisionals as a team, but for Turlock and Hilmar High, its respective tournaments will instead be a formality as its boys have a ticket to Divisionals all but in the bag.
Small-school track teams made it happen at this year's Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV/V Championships, specifically Hilmar and Delhi High who exited the final day of the two-day competition at California State University, Stanislaus on Thursday with a combined five qualifiers for next week's SJS Masters Championships.
Turlock Christian High found success on the track in its inaugural year in the Central California Athletic Association with its girls' team winning the league championship and its boys' team finishing second overall.
Hilmar High walked out of the Trans Valley League track season and into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV/V Championship Trials with four TVL champions - Dani Olson, Hudson Harris, Kenzye Spears and Angelique Souza.
Since claiming the Southern Athletic League championship in 2012 for the first time in program history, Delhi High's boys track team has struggled to add another league title year to its banner. The Hawks have been in the running the past two years, but ultimately fell just short, and it seemed that would again be the case in 2015.
Playoffs, St. Mary's High and heart break. It's a familiar formula for Turlock High baseball.
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