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.
RIPON – Billy Marr and Sean Broker have skill sets and smarts that have made small-school college coaches across the nation drool and reach deep into their scholarship funds.
Sierra scored more goals in four hours Friday than it did in six games through the first two weeks of the season.
Manteca High's softball team made quick work of its first two opponents in the Jackson Lions Club Tournament on Friday thanks to the stellar pitching of sophomore Haighley Kissee and an explosive offensive effort.
STOCKTON - Although Weston Ranch never led in Friday's 15-12 non-league loss to visiting Summerville, the Cougars bounced back to erase an eight-run deficit and then cut a six-run lead in half but could not erase it altogether.
East Union softball coach Brian Goulart called his three sophomore pitchers "heroes" after the Lancers held off defending Modesto Metro Conference champion Gregori 13-10 in its home opener Thursday at Northgate Softball Complex.
The Manteca baseball team knows how to turn things around.
Joshua Patton, Hunter Johnson and Devin Nunez graced the interview stage at Sleep Train Arena, the senior stalwarts each donning the signature blue cap reserved for a Sac-Joaquin Section champion.
Former Sierra High pitcher and U.S. national team member Allie Walljasper is making the "ol' college try" look far too easy.
Ripon overcame an early three-run deficit by scoring five in the fifth and held off visiting Hilmar 7-6 to complete the season sweep of the Yellow Jackets on Thursday.
RIPON - The season came to a halt Wednesday for the Ripon Christian girls as they fell to visiting San Domenico in the CIF Northern California Regional Championships.
Leah Manuleleua is settling in nicely as the Manteca High girls soccer team's new target forward.
The past three days have been an exercise of control and focus for Scott Thomason and his history-making Sierra High boys basketball team.
STOCKTON - Jaelen Ragsdale lingered around the bench, shuffling between handshakes, high-fives and hugs from appreciative Cougar fans.
PALO CEDRO - Manteca High and senior guard Marcus Montano came to play on Wednesday night and proved they belonged in the CIF NorCal Division III boys basketball tournament.
Lathrop softball pitcher Samantha Fonseca struck out four and doled out three hits in the Spartan's 16-2 shellacking of visiting Sonora in a nonleague contest Wednesday.