For most high school wrestlers from the Turlock area, the goal every season is to take that drive down Highway 99 toward Bakersfield. It's there that all the state's best congregate for the CIF Championships in early March.
Two years ago, Nick LaFrancis achieved something rare for a Denair High wrestler. He qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament, which is just one step from the elusive CIF State Championships in Bakersfield. Even if he didn't win a medal or a single match, making it that far is an unforgettable experience.
When going up against a boys basketball team full of giants, there's really only one thing you can do.
As the Hilmar girls basketball team started their season by facing Waterford High Thursday night, first year coach Don Inman paced the sidelines, afraid to celebrate his birthday until the final buzzer.
This season, the girls basketball teams in the Turlock area will experience many different changes.
For the Turlock High girls basketball players, it's hard to forget about what transpired on Feb. 25.
MODESTO - The way the game started, it was safe to assume that the Turlock boys basketball team was going to give the few dozen fans inside the cold Panther Palace gym on the Modesto High campus reasons to go home early.
Zach Olsen is the type of high school kid who seems to have a smile painted on his face at all times. He's also the type that will ask a stranger how he's doing - and genuinely want to know the person's well being. But the Pitman High boys basketball player will admit that he wasn't in the most ideal situation last season.
After fans get situated in their seats at the Calvary Baptist Gym for the Turlock Christian boys basketball opener on Tuesday, they might just see something that they haven't seen much of before. That's height.
The Pitman High volleyball team collected a few firsts this season, with the most important one arguably being the school's first-ever playoff win on Nov. 9 over Monterey Trail in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I Tournament. Everything else seems to be, simply, icing on the cake.
Last summer, Anthony Hubbard was tested daily. He'd go to the weight room with a teammate or two knowing that one of the exercises they'd do was the bench press. Universally, this workout is considered a sort of measuring stick of masculinity for most men.
For some, there might not be anything sweeter than the squeaking sound a shoe makes on a well-polished basketball court. Hearing that during this time of the year means one thing: Basketball season is here.
Turlock Christian senior golfer Kathleen Rojas is not too bashful to admit that she thrives under the pressure. It doesn't matter the circumstance. Even if it's the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament, which is the biggest collection of high school girls golfers from Sacramento to Merced, she welcomes the weight of it all.
The great thing about falls sports was that it gave fans enough opportunities to watch and admire local athletes. And this season, they gained a lot of memories.
After the final whistle blew, several members of the Turlock High football team were searching for a special object.
In a complete turnaround from last year's disappointing start, the Denair High boys basketball team cruised its way out of the opening round of their home tournament with a convincing 52-29 win over Tioga High on Thursday night.
The Turlock Christian Eagles did not start off the Denair High basketball tournament how they had hoped, but instead fell into the consolation bracket after dropping the first game to Hughson in the opening round on Thursday night, 50-73.
Delhi High's boys basketball team pulled double duty on Thursday. First they put their brains to the test for finals, then they kicked off the Denair Holiday Classic with a game against Linden High.
Denair High nearly upset Ripon High on the wrestling mat Wednesday night, out-pinning the Indians four to six, but 18 points from a trio of forfeits was too much for the Coyotes to overcome. With holes at the 106-pound, 160-pound and Heavyweight weight classes, Denair dropped its first dual meet of the season, 30-41.
The Pride of Pitman came into their second game of the 38th annual Frank Godinez tournament against Laguna Creek - which had to forfeit their first round game due to Thursday's storm -with hopes of turning things around after a crushing first round loss to Beyer High.
Another solid effort from Turlock High on the court has landed the Bulldogs in the finals of the Frank Godinez Boys Basketball Tournament for the third year in a row.
Things are finally shaping up for Denair High boys basketball coach RJ Henderson, with the help of assistant head coach Garett Elliott and the commitment from this year's team.
With football being such a rich and successful tradition at Hilmar High, it seems like the basketball program takes the back seat - especially after coming away with only one winning season since 2007.
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