MODESTO - With his face still covered in sweat and the bruises on his body still fresh, Pitman High senior wrestler Andrew Perez made an announcement just outside of the Gregori High gym, where this season's Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Championships took place on Saturday.
MODESTO - Once he took off his trademark hat and his warm-ups, it didn't take very long for Turlock High senior wrestler Fabian Garcia to be crowned a three-time champion at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Championships on Saturday night.
Anthony Hubbard got the ball on the left wing, right in front of the Turlock High boys basketball team bench. He was about to take a shot he and his team aren't known for, all while in front of another packed Bulldog Arena crowd for Friday night's crosstown rivalry game against Pitman High.
The most important thing the Turlock High girls basketball team wanted from Thursday night's crosstown rivalry game against Pitman High was to not give in and settle. An outright Central California Conference title was on the line for the Bulldogs, who did not want anything less.
MERCED - To say the least, they were ready for this moment.
HILMAR - In order to make the playoffs for the third consecutive time, all the Hilmar High boys basketball team had to do was stop an Escalon High team that had beaten the Yellowjackets earlier in the season by double-digits.
With the third and final release of the Sac-Joaquin Section Basketball Power Ratings, the age-old sports mantra that "every game counts" is a hard-nosed reality for both Pitman High and Turlock High girls basketball teams.
Every time he's inside his school's wrestling room, Turlock High senior Fabian Garcia will look at the blue banner placed high on one of the walls. All the names of the program's past state medalists share a spot on the sign in yellow letters, with the champions distinguished in white.
At the start of the wrestling season, Denair High coach Don Helnore hoped to have champions at the Southern League Tournament, especially because the Coyotes were scheduled to host the postseason event. He had a couple wrestlers in mind who could possibly achieve the honor.
Coach Dave Exline and his Hilmar High wrestling team had a simple plan: Get as many wrestlers qualified as possible.
ATWATER - This year's Central California Conference wrestling championships had a festive vibe. Some wrestlers dyed their hair blonde to perhaps highlight team camaraderie, as well as the start of the postseason. Another wrestler was spotted wearing pink socks.
In the conference room at Turlock High's main office, athletic director Anthony Belew had to speak his mind to Josue Barajas, who signed his national letter of intent to play for Cal State Stanislaus men's soccer on Friday morning.
Before her team even began league play, Turlock High girls basketball coach Salinda Mabie said the Bulldogs' undefeated streak in the Central California Conference was in jeopardy. It was a bold statement, but also a logical one.
At last weekend's Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament for girls wrestling, several of the coaches and wrestlers at the event stopped and watched Turlock High junior Alexia Moreno in action. It's unusual for anyone to get this kind of superstar treatment, but people in the high school wrestling community seem to think she's different.
Held at Fitzpatrick Arena on the Cal State Stanislaus campus, the annual Denair-Turlock Christian basketball rivalry and homecoming games attracted hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of fans on Friday night. Those in attendance got to see the Turlock Christian girls team, thanks to a game-high 18 points from Kaisa Spycher and 38-6 halftime lead, beat the Denair girls 57-15. On the boys side, Clayton McDonald posted a rare triple-double (19 points, 10 rebounds and 11 steals) to lead Denair to a 72-54 win over the TC boys.
The Turlock and Pitman baseball programs enter the 2015 season coming from different places - the Bulldogs from earning three league titles in four years and the Pride from a disappointing 8-7 season in 2014 - but both hoping to clinch a top spot in the Central California Conference. Both teams have the potential to reach their shared goal.
Pitman High entered the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships in Stockton on Friday with the aim to match or best its performance from a season ago in which four of its wrestlers qualified for the State Championships. While the Pride fielded the exact same number of qualifiers as last season, Angel Velasquez's (132 pound) championship effort on the mat solidified the 2014-15 season as Pitman's most successful ever. The Pride also put in its best team performance to date with an 8th place finish.
Pitman and Turlock High's girls varsity soccer squads kicked off the 2015 regular season with a two-day tournament event at Pitman with 16 schools from around the area competing for a chance to call themselves the best of the tourney.
The 2014 season was arguably one of the most exciting years for high school sports in the area and it wasn't any different in varsity girls soccer.
The 2015 spring season just began on Wednesday for Hilmar High, but already the Yellowjackets have four matches under their belt and at least one more scheduled for today. It's the kind of starting schedule one would expect from a team trying to improve on a fourth place Trans Valley League finish last season.
Adolfo Maldonado of Pitman High has decided to attend California State University, Stanislaus on a soccer athletic scholarship.
The post season has always been a tough road for local wrestling teams, but with this year's shakeup of the post season format - specifically the inclusion of Folsom and Del Oro High in the new Sac-Joaquin Section Division I AA Championships - that road proved to be even more difficult for Turlock and Pitman High.
Hilmar, Delhi and Denair High are each sending one wrestler to this weekend's Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships at the Stockton Arena after their respective 12th, 13th and 14th place finishes in the team standings at the SJS Division V Championships last weekend.
For the eighth straight year the Turlock Christian High girls varsity basketball team is in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV semifinal round of the postseason after trouncing Freedom Christian on Tuesday night, 66-26.
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