Only a select few are still dropping perspiration on the mats in hopes of continuing a season-long journey. For some the journey has been a success by still being alive, but for one of the highly-touted wrestlers in the Sac-Joaquin Section, anything short of a title would be a letdown.
It took three quarters for Kiwi Gardner to take over.
East Union and Ripon Christian's girls basketball teams are heavy underdogs in their Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs second-round contests tonight.
COLFAX – After giving Sac-Joaquin Division IV top seed Colfax an early 11 point lead in the first quarter, the visiting Ripon Indians simply couldn't overcome the margin in their first-round playoff appearance.
RIPON – After sprinting out of the gate to an early 10-point lead, the Ripon Christian Knights started putting all of the pieces together in their Sac-Joaquin Section Division V playoff opener Wednesday against visiting Stone Ridge Christian (12-10) of Merced.
Manteca High's girls soccer team opened the season in impressive fashion but could not hold on in a 3-1 home loss to Lodi Wednesday.
LOOMIS - Leading scorer Aaron Hendricks was out for Wednesday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division III postseason opener against No. 14 Sierra, but No. 3 Del Oro still had little trouble in advancing with a 69-39 victory.
Clipping a double-digit deficit to five points to close out the third period seemingly put the Rio Americano girls basketball team in position to continue its season. Yet a perfectly executed defensive shutout in the fourth quarter proved to be the end of the Raider's year in their 54-43 Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Tournament loss to East Union Tuesday at the Dalben Center.
FAIRFIELD - With head coaching duties split between assistant coach Garrett Tolman, boys head coach Dave Asuncion and athletic director Ron Inderbitzin, Manteca High's girls basketball team struggled to keep up with highly-favored Vanden in a 71-25 loss in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs Tuesday.
The good news for East Union High's girls basketball team is that its loss to rival Manteca in the regular-season finale last Thursday didn't bump it low enough in the Division III seedings for a possible second-round matchup with the nation's top-ranked team in St. Mary's.
A 13-game-winning streak to end the regular season wasn't good enough for Manteca High's boys basketball team to get a favorable seed for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs.
• Division III boys: No. 16 Hogan at No. 1 Sacramento, No. 9 Foothill at No. 8 Lincoln, No. 12 Livingston at No. 5 Rio Americano, No. 13 El Dorado at No. 4 St. Mary's, No. 14 Sierra at No. 3 Del Oro, No. 11 Pioneer at No. 6 Center, No. 10 Placer at No. 7 Manteca, No. 15 Sonora at No. 2 Vista del Lago.
MODESTO - East Union High's girls soccer team had a strong showing its first non-league match of the season Monday, battling Central Catholic to a 0-0 tie.
Four area wrestlers closed out the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Wrestling Championships with an opportunity to win titles, but all came up short yet will continue their season by advancing to the Masters Wrestling Tournament next weekend in Stockton.
RIPON - After blanking Ripon in their first meeting this season, Hughson pitcher Courtney Thornhill was working on eight consecutive shutout innings over the Indians when she turned her ankle in the first inning and had to leave Tuesday's Trans-Valley League softball contest.
East Union may be peaking at just the right time.
Both of Sierra's points were awarded thanks to pair of grueling victories from its No. 5 and No. 6 singles players in a 7-2 loss at East Union Tuesday.
Two big wins from the bottom half of its singles ladder propelled Manteca High's boys tennis team to a pivotal 6-3 win over visiting Sonora on Monday.
The area's two best offensive linemen along with two record-breaking skill position players have been selected to compete in the 41st Central California Lions All-Star Football Game.
Manteca and Oakdale both needed a win, so it's understandable why both were unsatisfied with Monday's result.
Alexis Erich and East Union held a three-run cushion heading into the seventh inning Friday and were three outs away from a key Valley Oak League victory over Kimball.
Oakdale capitalized on its opportunities and Sierra did not.
With two of their top contributors out, Sierra High's boys swimmers suffered their first defeat of the season by a 99-71 margin at Kimball of Tracy. Kimball's girls also won by the same score.
Ripon's defense hadn't given up more than two goals in a game all season until Friday.
Only one of Friday's matches between Ripon and Hughson's co-ed tennis teams needed to be decided in a third set.
Josh Clark fittingly scored the deciding run on a dropped third strike in the top of the seventh inning, as Ripon avoided an upset at Modesto Christian with a 7-4 victory Friday.
Oakdale High's recent run of dominance includes seven straight Valley Oak League championships and six Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV titles in that same span.
Sierra's Jack Thomson turned to a teenager for direction late in a 7-1 victory, and the Hall of Fame skipper was rewarded for his faith.
Isela Rivera fired the game-tying goal in the 38th minute with an angry blast from 20 yards away that knotted the game at one apiece Thursday night.