Before the first wrestlers stepped on the mats at the 19th Bulldog Classic on Wednesday, Turlock coach Mike Contreras wasn't sure about how his team would do.
RIPON - For much of the night, the Hilmar High girls basketball team's main objective was to stop Oakdale High dangerous guard Cassandra Clark.
SALIDA - The home locker room is a few feet away from the main floor of the basketball gym, far enough to keep outsiders from hearing what goes on inside. That's a good thing for coach Doug Cornfoot and his Turlock boys basketball team.
This season, the approach is different for the Pitman High wrestling team.
After a one-point second quarter, the Pitman High boys basketball players had just one logical thing left to do.
It's no secret that Turlock High senior wrestler Fabian Garcia's ultimate goal is to be a state champion. This aim is very realistic for him, since he's a three-time state medalist.
In what is considered the wrestling season's first real test, the Pitman High wrestlers did better than expected.
DENAIR - It was as if the scoreboard was playing mind games with the Denair High boys basketball team. In one moment, the Coyotes were up by nearly double-digits. Then the next moment, they were down by a bunch.
After almost everyone walked out of the Pitman High gym and into Friday night's rain, there was a candid moment between the school's athletic director, Dave Walls, and the school's top girls basketball player.
Led by Denair High guard Clayton McDonald's 17 points, the Coyotes defeated Central Valley High 68-50 in the semifinal game of the Denair High Tournament late Friday night to earn a spot in today's tournament championship game against Central Catholic at 8 p.m.
Surprisingly, no one affiliated with the Turlock High boys basketball program closed his or her eyes in a sequence that appeared doomful. They watched in awe and anticipation, as the ball was repeatedly batted against the backboard and rim like a game of handball.
The game didn't come down to the last minute, Turlock Christian girls basketball coach Edwin Santiago protested afterward.
There was just one team that stood between the Turlock High boys basketball players and a rematch with Modesto Christian in the championship game of the 34th annual Frank Godinez Tournament.
It seemed like the perfect time for a comeback.
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.
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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