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.
East Union expected Bear Creek to come out winging its best punches and got exactly that in a nonleague contest at Dalben Center on Tuesday.
There were moments when East Union coach Jim Agostini had to remind himself that little, if anything, was on the line during Tuesday's reunion with Sonora at Bud Castle Gym.
Rubel Dehal and Elizabeth Tolbert had clean looks at the basket in attempts to force an overtime period, but both of their shots rimmed out in Manteca's 43-40 loss to visiting Laguna Creek on Monday.
LATHROP - Lathrop managed only five first-period points Monday and never recovered in a 72-46 loss to visiting Beyer-Modesto in non-league boys basketball action.
Tournament host Ripon made a run in the third quarter and would not close the gap in losing to Cosumnes Oaks 58-42 in the championship game of the girls Ripon Winter Classic on Saturday.
Ripon finished tied for sixth place with Buhach Colony on Saturday in the 22-team field of the Morning Star Invitational at Los Banos High School.
After two big swings in the second half Saturday tournament host Ripon managed a layup with a minute left and held on over Bret Harte 63-62 for the championship of the boys Ripon winter Classic.
Weston Ranch is heading to the championship game in one of the Central Section's most prestigious tournaments.
Cody Norman is back with his alma mater, coaching the Laguna Creek girls basketball team in Elk Grove.
Livingston buried three 3-pointers to lead 9-0 at the start of its nonleague game at Manteca High's Winter Gymnasium Friday night.
RIPON - Ripon Christian may no longer be in the Southern League for basketball, but its growing rivalry with Mariposa lives on.
TRACY - Ryan Tarr had seen enough.
TRACY - With four reserves checking in at the scorer's table, Lathrop coach Nathan McGrath left them with one simple message:
Unhappy with his team's defensive effort in its last outing, Manteca coach Brett Lewis challenged the Buffaloes tighten things up for their first-round contest with Merced in the Running with the Pack Tournament held at Cosumnes Oaks of Elk Grove on Thursday.
East Union withstood a tremendous rally by visiting Ripon in the final minute, but the Indians couldn't take advantage of the extra chances created by five rebounds.