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ATHLETE OF THE WEEK: Pitman’s Payton Rowell
Payton Rowell
Payton Rowell

Pitman setter Payton Rowell helped the Pride cruised to a perfect 6-0 record at the Orestimba Tournament in Newman this past weekend.

For her efforts, Rowell has been named the Journal’s Prep of the Week.

The senior played a pivotal role running the Pitman’s quick-tempo offense, distributing the ball the front- and back-row hitters as the Pride beat Franklin (Stockton) 25-6, 25-4; Denair 25-10, 25-7; Caruthers 25-11, 25-11; Gregori 25-5, 25-12; crosstown rival Turlock 25-20, 25-18; and Orestimba 25-12, 25-16.

“She made smart decisions on who to go to in the moment,” said Pitman coach Kristen Pontes-Christian. “She did her job defensively, and offensively she got some big touches on the block. And she served consistently tough.”

On Monday, in Pitman’s three-set victory over Hilmar in their Foundation Game. And even though Foundation Games don’t officially count, Rowell had an eye-popping 40 assists.

“I love being able to be involved every play and having that connection to hitters and passers,” said Rowell. “That connection with all my players is very good.”

Rowell said that the fast start was imperative for the Pride, who feel like they have unfinished business this season after falling last season in the Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals, then bowing out in the first round of the NorCal tournament.

“I definitely do think we have unfinished business,” said Rowell. “Last year, during our first state game, I came down with the flu and had a fever of 103 the entire week. That was my first time in state game, and we want to try to move on farther than we did last year. That’s a big thing we think about. What can we improve on? Those big goals are what sets us apart, maybe. We want to push for that extra.”


Age: 17

Grade: Senior

Favorite food: Caesar salad

Favorite class: Educational psychology

Dream college: “I’m still deciding where I plan to further my education after high school. However, I know that no matter where I go, I will be able to accomplish great things.”

Three songs on my playlist: “Fast Car” by Luke Combs; “This Town’s Been Too Good to Us” by Dylan Scott; “Next Thing You Know” by Jordan Davis

“I can’t live without …” spending time with my friends and family.

“In 10 years, I will be …” an elementary school teacher.