RIPON – The Ripon Indians simply feel it's time to hang a Trans Valley League banner in their gym. Ripon Christian has every reason in the world to feel its first season in the Southern League can result in a championship.
Goodbye Ceres and Central Valley, and good riddance.
Never mind that the school year begins next Monday, Aug. 16.
LATHROP - In a little over a month, the Lathrop Spartans will begin their second football campaign at the varsity level and the only certainty the club has is that the challenge won't get any easier.
The ill-effects of a heart-wrenching Sac-Joaquin Section playoff loss to Casa Roble is something of the past for the Manteca Buffaloes. Now the squad is poised to make a run at the Valley Oak League championship, and hopefully make a return trip to the section title game in the process.
STOCKTON – One program is trying to defend a piece of a league title for the first time in school history.
Standing 5-foot-6, it would be hard to see Matt Barber as the big man on campus. But if you ask anyone on the Manteca Buffaloes' 20-man roster and they will tell you there was no bigger Buffalo than Barber.
Brittany LaMar has been behind the dish for the East Union Lancers for the past three seasons.
Ripon High's unprecedented four-year run between 2007-10 in girls soccer wouldn't have been possible without the influx of talent that poured into the program.
Vincent Herrera didn't know what he was getting into when he began training with Manteca High's track and field team on March 3.
East Union freshman Megan Jordan was more concerned about finishing the race in less than 1 than doing so as No. 1.
The mission to remain the best golfer in the Valley Oak League drove East Union's Kyle Harman to his third consecutive Bulletin All-Area Golfer of the Year honor.
For two years it was Luis Ochoa of Ceres High and everybody else in the Valley Oak League.
When it was all said and done, Sierra High's Zach Holmstrom left an undeniable mark on the Timberwolves' swimming program. Sure the boys squad could not fend off challengers for the coveted Valley Oak League title, but sometimes victories are not always measured with championships.
STOCKTON - Anand Hundal narrowly missed a triple-double for a second game in a row, but on Thursday it was Manteca's guards who stood tallest in a 70-59 win at Weston Ranch.
Sierra led East Union by 11 points at halftime and then silenced the partisan Dalben Center crowd with a 24-11 third quarter on the way to an 82-43 win in Valley Oak League boys basketball action.
Lathrop's season-long struggles continued at Central Catholic on Thursday.
Brijanee Moore made her anticipated debut with the Weston Ranch girls basketball team Wednesday.
Sierra made its first Valley Oak League match of the season a short one.
ESCALON - Escalon appears to be the class of the Trans-Valley League once again.
Ripon Christian had one of the Sac-Joaquin Section's top teams on the ropes by halftime, but that was DeAndre Stallings' cue to take over for Liberty Ranch.
No practice was as big as Tuesday's session for East Union.
The Sierra High boys basketball team has a 6-foot, 8-inch, rim-rocking, shot-blocking star.
LATHROP - Anand Hundal will probably be on time for practice from now on.
Chris Teevan joked that he might need a search party to find the Weston Ranch boys basketball team's home jerseys.
Kimball put its best defender on East Union's best shooter on the final play of Tuesday's Valley Oak League opener at Dalben Center.
It's not just about what Manteca High's baseball team accomplished, but how it went about doing so.
Sierra begins its Valley Oak League title defense tonight against visiting Oakdale.
In a word - balanced.