FRESNO – On this cold and gray morning, Ricky Morris was at his very best.
When the Weston Ranch girls basketball team beat Sierra High to close out the Valley Oak League a year ago, the Cougars were hoping a postseason berth would be around the corner, but that berth never came.
After a quick walkthrough of Woodward Park in Fresno, the annual site of the CIF State Cross Country Championships, Ripon High head coach Paul Calkins and his runners settled into their hotel rooms at around 5:30 Friday night for a little rest and relaxation.
Just a short time ago, the Weston Ranch boys basketball squad was the premier team in the Valley Oak League, and the Lathrop Spartans were opening the gym for the hoops program for the very first time. After failing to reach the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs, the Cougars are poised to get back to the top of the league, whereas as Lathrop will be working through the exodus of one of its better players.
To be the champs, Ripon Christian's volleyball team must go through the champs.
Manteca and Sierra believe they have what it takes to make a run at the Valley Oak League championship this year.
Earning back-to-back outright championships in the Valley Oak League didn't come easily for Manteca High, and that was with dazzling point guard Kiwi Gardner setting gym floors ablaze.
The setters of the top teams in the Trans Valley and Southern leagues were voted the Most Valuable Players of each conference.
RIPON - The Knights didn't want to be one and done in this year's CIF State Northern California Division V volleyball championship tournament.
RIPON - It's an overused cliché, but the Ripon-St. Helena first-round match in the CIF State Northern California Division IV Championships Tuesday was truly played out like a heavyweight title bout.
In some ways, Ripon High volleyball coach Larry Keethe sees his team as an underdog despite its No. 1 ranking in the CIF Division IV State Championships, which begins today with Round 1 of the NorCal playoffs.
The Valley Oak League season saw the Sonora Wildcats and Oakdale Mustangs have their way along the schedule, but standout play from the other squads didn't go unrecognized, as the VOL's 2010 all-league team was recently announced.
The additions of Hilmar and Orestimba made the Trans Valley League even tougher Ripon High this year, and that was reflected in the all-conference selections.
DAVIS - The streak came to a halt for Ripon High varsity volleyball team.
DAVIS - They proudly held up four fingers.
Good news first: Ripon and Ripon Christian's volleyball teams each get to host a match for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs.
Valley Oak League champion Iris Carrilo and Sierra's Haley Silva placed first and second in Division III girls, while the Manteca boys and Ripon Christian girls teams earned top-three finishes during the Sac-Joaquin Section Subsection Meet held at Frogtown this past Saturday.
The Sac-Joaquin Section indicated at the start of the season that more emphasis would be placed on strength of schedule in seeding playoff brackets.
RIPON - Linden got its revenge Thursday night.
RIPON – Travis Vander Molen buried his head in his hands after misfiring on a point-blank header.
There's a special bond that exists between quarterback and coach, which makes this Friday's rivalry tilt between Manteca and East Union, well...
STOCKTON - Weston Ranch managed a goal 12 minutes into the second half and kept visiting Woodland out of the net to escape the quarterfinals of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV playoffs with a 1-0 win Thursday night.
Kole Gonzales racked up six goals, as the Ripon boys water polo team routed Ceres 22-3 Thursday in the first round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs held at Woodcreek High of Roseville.
It was a brand new experience for Weston Ranch, a bright-eyed team of underclassmen and few seniors that had lifted the program to new heights by qualifying for the postseason.
CERES - The last time the East Union and Central Valley boys soccer programs met in the playoffs their semifinal escalated into a shootout.
No need to speculate on who is in and who is out of the Sac-Joaquin Section playoff hunt for Manteca-area teams.
To be the champion Manteca would had to beat league champions in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III team playoffs.
The East Union volleyball team knows how to celebrate senior night.
Kevin Bolding all along felt that his Manteca volleyball team had enough talent to compete with the Valley Oak League's elite.
STOCKTON - Brooke Riley was aware of the pressure she faced at Monday's Sac-Section Division III Girls Golf Masters Tournament.