Pitman High had a monster of a volleyball season this year, decisively defeating every Central California Conference team that crossed its path. Under the tutelage of head coach Kristen Pontes, the Pride won their second straight CCC title on Tuesday, freeing themselves from the confines of their league as they head into the Division I San Joaquin Section Playoff Tournament.
Britney Leon's 2012 tennis season came to an end at the Division I SJS Section Tournament on Thursday. The reigning Central California Conference singles champion met her match in St. Mary's High's Elizabeth Stevens who eliminated the Pride standout in straight sets (2-6, 1-6).
Pitman High's volleyball team got a taste of championship glory for the first time last year and decided it wanted more in 2012. The Pride (15-0 CCC) not only achieved their goal, they set the bar higher; improving on last year's record with an undefeated Central California Conference campaign.
There was less than three minutes left in regulation, Turlock High led Johansen High 1-0 and the Knights were getting desperate. The majority of Tuesday's Division II SJS playoff match was spent in a virtual stalemate with the ball frequenting both ends of the field, but it could all be over if Turlock's defense could hold strong.
There was a time, nearly a decade ago, when Turlockers had only one football team to root for and an out of town rivalry with Ceres High to look forward to each year. Then, in 2004, things suddenly changed. Pitman High was introduced to the Central California Conference, ushering in a new era of football to the Valley and creating an in-town rivalry culminating in a late-October Harvest Bowl.
Turlock High matched last year's performance with a 7th place finish at this season's San Joaquin Section Masters Tournament at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton. The Central California Conference Champion Bulldogs finished the day with a total of 466 strokes, beating half the field of 14 high school teams.
Delhi hosted Turlock Christian High Friday night for the Hawks' homecoming game.
Turlock High entered its final home game of the season facing a daunting task -the undefeated and league leading Buhach Colony High Thunder. Fresh off a one score loss against Atwater High, the Bulldogs were hoping a Friday night upset would steer their team towards the playoffs, but Buhach had a different plan altogether.
It was the last Central California Conference match of the year on Thursday when Pitman High hosted Turlock High - but for some it was the last of their lifetime, a fact that wasn't lost on the Lady Bulldogs. End game nostalgia resulted in a desire to go out with a bang. Turlock did just that, jumping on the Pride early on its way to a 5-2 victory that just so happened to also clinch a spot in the Division I San Joaquin Section playoffs as the CCC's third seed.
There was no shortage of motivation Thursday night when Turlock High traveled across town to face Pitman High in the final water polo match of the Central California Conference season. In addition to the in-town rivalry, the Bulldogs were eager to erase the memories from their last meeting with the Pride. Above all, however, Turlock wanted a win to keep its post-season hopes alive.
It was a shaky beginning to the Central California Conference season for Turlock High this year. In their first six games the Bulldogs surprisingly went 1-3-2, leading many in the league to believe the defending champs were in decline.
Hilmar High's hopes of claiming a share of the Trans Valley League volleyball championship evaporated Tuesday night when unbeaten Escalon High rolled into town. In a match reminiscent of the rivals' meeting earlier in the year, the Cougars beat the Yellowjackets 3-1 (14-25, 26-24, 25-27, and 25-19). Although missing out on the league title was a bitter pill to swallow, giving up their only losses of the season to Escalon was even tougher for Hilmar.
Turlock High's girls claimed their 9th consecutive Central California Conference Championship with an impressive showing at the Championship Tournament at the Merced Country Club. The Bulldogs finished the day with a team score of 439, 27 strokes in front of second place Merced High. Rival Pitman High finished third with 505.
Pitman High's Britney Leon spent last season competing on the tennis court in the doubles bracket but her sights were always set on singles glory. She worked on her game through the summer and when the 2012 season began she found herself representing the Pride as the number one singles player, positioning herself as the unquestioned leader of her team.
Turlock and Pitman High took part in the Delong Invitational in Stockton and Modesto this past weekend, their last tournament of the 2012 water polo season. The Bulldogs competed in the A bracket and the Pride competed in the B bracket but both finished 3-2 after two days, giving the teams a dose of confidence before their final cross-town matchup and the end of the Central California Conference season.
Pitman High track and field head coach Thad Moren said the Pride has had one goal in mind since finishing the last league meet in April. That goal was to put all the season's hard work into a top showing at last week's CIF Sac-Joaquin Division I Section finals.
Most high school athletes hope to find a college willing to offer them an athletic scholarship, but very few are chosen-especially twice.
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.
The members of the Pitman High softball team held their heads high on Monday afternoon.
The Pitman High Pride were coming off a clutch one-run victory over Gregori last week and looked to continue their playoff streak as they had their eyes set on the quarterfinal match on Monday against a familiar foe from the Modesto Metro Conference-Beyer High.
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