In most cases, high schools will hold an intimate affair in front of a small group of supporters when a student-athlete signs his or her national letter of intent to compete at the college level. Pictures are taken, speeches are given.
They knew it wasn't going to be easy.
The plan is in motion.
STOCKTON - As players, coaches and spectators huddled inside the clubhouse at The Reserve at Spanos Park to look at the final results, Turlock High golfer Paul Smith decided to step outside. The clubhouse was getting crowded, especially with dozens of people trying to keep themselves dry from the soft drizzle.
The Hilmar High girls soccer team was tested last week, as the Yellowjackets played in the lone outbracket game of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Tournament. They prevailed, and moved on to another challenge.
Denair High and Turlock Christian won the boys and girls titles, respectively, as the top three moved on to this week's Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV-V Championships at Modesto Junior College, which began Tuesday and wraps up Thursday.
The Pitman High girls soccer players and coaches had eight days of rest and practice between their regular-season finale and their highly anticipated playoff game - the first of its kind in three years.
It was Thursday afternoon and the Pitman High softball players were working on their fielding at Arrowhead Field near their school. It was a routine activity, but assistant coach Amanda Goulart noticed something strange.
Mallory Patino's reaction after the 300-meter hurdles run was priceless. She stuck both arms in the air, holding the pose for a couple seconds. Just moments earlier, she was able to beat out a foe.
PATTERSON - The Hilmar High girls track and field team entered the Trans-Valley League Championships on Wednesday with a mental advantage. The Yellowjackets went 6-0 in dual meets in the regular season to boast six league points, as they knew every team they finished ahead of at the league meet meant a point each.
Brandon Rogers, a 6-foot-5 guard who averaged 28 points for the Turlock Christian High boys basketball team last season, has signed a letter of intent to play at Mayville State University - a NAIA school in North Dakota - starting next fall.
Of course, it had to end this way.
Jason Boswell believes his Turlock High boys golf team is peaking at the right time.
Pitman High senior midfielder/defender Karina Maldonado signed last week her national letter of intent to play women's soccer at Huntington University, a NAIA school in Indiana.
The memory is still fresh for Pitman High boys tennis coach Jeff Hayes. Last season, his Pride traveled to Armijo High for a Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Tournament quarterfinal match. That's where his team's postseason run ended.
The Turlock High boys tennis team is a perfect 5-0 in the Central California Conference after shutting out Pitman at their home courts on Tuesday afternoon, 9-0.
Turlock and Pitman High's girls soccer teams battled on the pitch on Saturday afternoon at Joe Debely Stadium in their first crosstown matchup of the season.
Turlock Christian starting pitcher Cassie Balswick allowed one run and the Eagles softball team walked 16 times as they surged to their second consecutive Central California Athletic Alliance win over Stone Ridge Christian at home on Monday in a mercy-rule victory, 16-1.
Stanislaus County dominated Merced County on Friday at the County Clash track meet, with Pitman, Oakdale and Turlock High finishing first, second and third, respectively.
Not even a car crash could keep Brian Dudley and Andrew Knapp, Denair tennis' number one and two singles players, from seeking retribution against league juggernauts Ripon Christian on Friday. The two Coyote players were involved in a head-on collision on their way to the match, but still managed to make it to the courts where they won their matches in the 7-2 effort over the Knights.
Pitman High thoroughly beat Merced High on the baseball diamond Monday afternoon in the Pride's second Central California Conference game of the season. Four days removed from beating Golden Valley High 8-0, Pitman again pitched a shutout as they handed Merced its third consecutive loss by a score of 10-0.
Things have changed in the Central California Conference this year and this week marked the beginning of a three-game series, starting with game one at Turlock High as the Bulldogs hosted the Atwater Falcons.
The Central California Conference and the Modesto Metro Conference gathered together for Saturday's Nor Cal Relay at Johansen High with Turlock and Pitman owning the day on the pool.
It was a down game for the Hilmar varsity baseball team on Saturday afternoon when they hosted Sonora High.
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