It’s not fair, but it has to be done. Every sports year produces tons of unforgettable moments, especially in the Turlock area. Hundreds of athletes from the two public schools in Turlock (Pitman High and Turlock High), the one private school (Turlock Christian High) and the two just-outside-of-Turlock schools (Denair High and Hilmar High) sweated it out. They won games and championships and churned out league MVPs.
Some games were seen by just a couple dozen, while others attracted so many fans that some were turned away. That’s what happens when Turlock and Pitman meet and when the other schools collide with their league foes. Those games left lasting memories, but there are moments that stand above the rest.
Here are the Journal’s top five storylines from this past high school sports season:
n Turlock football: The Bulldogs were so close to making one of the greatest turnarounds in perhaps the history of high school sports. In 2009, they went 0-9. In 2010, they went 8-2; not counting an unexpected loss to lowly Atwater High and close defeat to Buhach Colony High, Turlock might’ve gone undefeated. Nonetheless, the Bulldogs’ season was still very impressive. They beat powerhouses like Oakdale High and Merced High, as well as taking back the Harvest Bowl from crosstown rival Pitman and making the playoffs.
n Turlock’s Garcia and Pitman’s Saavedra: For much of the wrestling season, Pitman’s Emilio Saavedra and Turlock’s Fabian Garcia were favorites to win state titles. It wasn’t just wishful thinking, either. When the CIF State Championships approached, it almost happened as both reached the semifinals of their respective weight classes. However, Garcia capped off his stellar high school career with a fifth-place finish and Saavedra began his high school career with a third-place showing.
n Turlock baseball: The Bulldogs ultimately didn’t achieve their goal of winning it all, but they earned something else. Unofficially, they were once again the best public school team in the region after losing to private school St. Mary’s High of Stockton in the past two championship rounds of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Tournament. Turlock did it with a large senior class, and with support from a few underclassmen who will undoubtedly help the Bulldogs program in the future.
n Pitman girls soccer: For the previous five seasons, the Pride was the second-best team in Turlock, considering the Turlock Bulldogs were consistently racking up league titles. Not this year. With Turlock going through a rebuilding season, Pitman landed the Central California Conference title for the first time since 2005. The Pride went all the way to the semifinals of the SJS Division I Tournament, where their run ended against nationally ranked Davis Sr. High.
n Turlock Christian girls basketball: Even without one of the Stanislaus District’s top scorers in sophomore Halie Bergman, who was injured for the entire season, the Eagles girls basketball team made a second consecutive appearance in the CIF State Tournament. They were once again dominant in the Southern League, winning the title with a 14-0 record. Turlock Christian had Molly Farrar, who was a floor leader and averaged 12.2 points a game, with support from Kaisa Spycher. Expect the Eagles to make another impressive run next season.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.