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.
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.
Local golfers represented their schools well at CIF Sac-Joaquin Divisional Tournaments on Monday, with Turlock Christian placing third in the Division VI tournament and Turlock High taking fourth in Division I competition. Hilmar's Landon Azevedo, Turlock's Logan Adams and Turlock Christian High's Logun Lundquist will all advance to the Master's level after notching qualifying scores in their respective tournaments.
Monday marked the start of the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for local high school tennis teams that included Delhi, Denair, Pitman and Turlock High. All but Turlock fell in the opening round after the Bulldogs edged out the visiting Folsom Bulldogs, 6-3, on Tuesday in a comeback victory.
Denair High tennis head coach Bill Weber has his sights set on a long and prosperous future the Coyote program and he is off to a good start. After Friday's Southern Athletic League tournament, Denair can boast two league winners in the mixed doubles and the boys singles brackets.
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.
Pitman, which has been neck and neck with Merced all season long, placed second for both the girls and boys in the Central California Conference Championship meet that took place at Golden Valley High on Saturday to finish just behind Merced in the CCC.
Turlock High's Ryan Asai went into Tuesday's Central California Conference singles tournament with high hopes. The Bulldog boasted an undefeated record heading into the tournament, but met his match in Merced's Juan Ciudad in the semifinal round.
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?