During the spring, there are seven sports that encompass the lives of many of the area high school students. That means plenty of stories, late-game heroics and heartbreak moments happen during this time. So what I’m about to do won’t be easy. Actually, it’ll be extremely tough.
What I’m about to do is sum up the spring sports season into my five favorite moments.
That’s not to say that I went to every baseball, girls soccer and softball game, every track and field meet and every boys golf and boys tennis match. So this is solely based on the games I attended and the stories I heard. And they’re all in random order.
1. Pitman’s Markus Sanders: Let’s begin with the most recent notable achievement. I talked to Pitman High senior Markus Sanders on Monday and there was still excitement in his voice about placing fourth in the discus at the CIF State Track and Field Championship. It was the highest finish in school history, as he threw 185 feet, 6 inches in front of thousands of people at Buchanan High’s Veterans Memorial Stadium in Clovis. The last time anyone from Turlock placed at the state meet happened in 1962.
2. Turlock baseball: This was a season to remember for the Turlock High baseball team, which wasn’t just happy to qualify for the playoffs for the first time in seven years. The Bulldogs also made a deep run in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I South Tournament, forcing a second game against powerhouse St. Mary’s High in the championship round. Though they lose three seniors, including Oklahoma State-bound ace Vince Wheeland, the Bulldogs are in good position to make another deep run in the postseason next season, thanks to having the majority of the starters back.
3. Former Denair coach Ron Cornell: In a move that was bound to happen eventually, Denair High named its baseball field after recently retired coach Ron Cornell. The field is now called the Ronald W. Cornell Baseball Park. He called it a career last season, after being the school’s baseball coach for 38 years.
4. Turlock’s Paul Smith: I had the privilege to walk back to the clubhouse with Turlock High golfer Paul Smith after he shot a 69 at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament, as he was still trying to grasp in his head what he was able to do that spring day. It was enough to win the individual title, lifting his name up in Turlock folklore as one of the best golfers ever — along with his brother, Sam Smith, now at the University of Southern California. Paul will have one more season to continue the Smith family legacy.
5. Turlock girls soccer: It wasn’t an ending they had hoped for, but the Turlock girls soccer players concluded their season in a loss, which was their first loss all season. It ended in the Section’s semifinals in Folsom. It ended without many of the seniors. But the Bulldogs still managed to make it an exciting game against Davis Sr. late in the second half.
To contact Chhun Sun, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 634-9141 ext. 2041.