FRESNO – Only a select few had the privilege of grinding out another race during t the CIF State Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park Saturday and Sierra High senior John Bowers was the only Manteca area athlete to make the cut.
On the last big play of a game full of them, Jarrod Daniels made a statement while sealing Sierra High's thrilling 40-39 victory over No. 6 Benicia Friday at Daniel Teicheira Memorial Stadium.
Offense might win games, but it was defense that allowed Sierra to hold off a prolific Benicia passing attack that was unlike anything the team has seen so far this year.
It's one thing to run the opposing team's offense during scout-team practice, and it's another guiding a team to a second-round Sac-Joaquin Section Division III Football playoff victory.
Fortunes have followed the Ripon High volleyball team for the majority of its 2009 season, but the squads' blessings took new heights when its second-round opponent, Notre Dame High of Salinas, knocked off No. 2 seed Salesian, handing the Indians home court advantage for the CIF NorCal Championship match Saturday.
The Sierra Timberwolves have reason to be thankful.
Shalane Jackson gave a nice glimpse of what to expect from her sophomore season, leading East Union High to a season-opening 49-34 win over the visiting Bear Creek Bruins Wednesday at the Dalben Center.
The loss of record-holding goal scorer Eric Cavanaugh had little effect on Ripon this season.
RIPON - Ripon Christian showed it more than deserved its berth into the CIF Northern California Division V State Volleyball Championships, yet the Knights were unable to extend their magical season after a four-game loss (11-25, 25-22, 13-25 and 18-25) to Castilleja of Palo Alto.
COTTONWOOD - The trip ended up being much longer than the match.
STOCKTON – The Weston Ranch Cougars had a strong sense of how they wanted their season to get underway, but the McNair Eagles had a different agenda beating the Cougars 54-50 in both teams' season opener.
Tiger Shelton sees Ripon Christian's first-round draw in the CIF State Northern California Championships as a good news-bad news proposition.
Friday's Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoff opener between No. 8 Manteca and No. 9 Casa Roble at Guss Schmiedt Field didn't start out to be the game it was anticipated to be.
It was business as usual Friday for Sierra High.
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.