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‘The Voice' returns to Weston Ranch High
Photo courtesy Rick Salas Weston Ranch High long-time public address announcer and teacher Rick Salas was recently joined in the press box by former students Joe and Chris Contreras.

A familiar voice was heard at Weston Ranch High’s recent homecoming game.

Joe Contreras, dubbed “The Voice” by teacher / mentor Rick Salas, was back in the press box during the Sept. 10 non-league affair with Franklin, bringing back great memories.

It was 10 years ago that Contreras, 22, got an opportunity to help out with announcing Cougar games on the public address system. Contreras ended up spending five years behind sporting event mics at Weston Ranch High.

He was an eighth grader back then at nearby Great Valley Elementary School. His brother, Chris Contreras – a 2010 graduate of the school – was a standout athlete and player. The kid they called “Joey” got his chance to be “The Voice” thanks to former Athletic Director Pat King.

“He knew my siblings,” said Joe Contreras, who just graduated from Vanguard University of Southern California with a degree in Communications with an emphasis in Technology & Emerging Media.  

A 2017 graduate of WRHS, he went directly to the private Christian university located in Orange County community of Costa Mesa. Contreras still lives there, working two jobs not to mention handling the P/A work for the Orange Coast College.

He got the gig doing home football games for the Pirates from his former boss Jeff Melton, who is the Assistant Athletic Director at Vanguard.

Contreras, who lives in Costa Mesa, also splits his time working as the assistant media with the Orange County Assembly of God Church and campus coordinator supporting intramural sports and overseeing the fitness center at Vanguard University.

Opting to attend the southern California college turned out to be one of his decisions.

Contreras received the opportunity there to continue working as a public address announcer, covering everything from men's and women's basketball along with soccer, volleyball, softball, baseball and wrestling at Vanguard.

"(Vanguard) was actually my third choice -- I found a way of making it my first choice," he said.

Contreras was involved in student government during all four years.

His interest in student politics can be traced back to his days at Manteca Unified, where he was the student board representative for the entire district.

At Weston Ranch, Contreras was involved in leadership during his four years and ASB vice president twice. He was also president of the Christian-based club on campus, The Way Student Ministries.

Occasionally, he'd return to his hometown and reunite with Salas at the announcer's table during Cougars basketball games. "I was able to come (back to WRHS) during the holidays," said Contreras.

He hardly missed a beat. 

"I would see Joey from time to time during the past four years," Salas said.

He recalled that Contreras announced his sister Vanessa's softball games along with basketball games at Delta College while still in high school.

Salas enjoyed the recent reunion with Joey and his brother Chris —both were getting ready for their brother Jeremy's wedding that weekend — at the homecoming game in which WRHS fell to the Yellowjackets in a hard-fought game, 18-13.

Joe Contreras had fond memories of being back where it all started, working alongside Rick Salas.

"It's always a good time working with Mr. Salas. It was like riding a bike," he said.

In the early days, Salas would turn the P/A duties to Contreras, who was an eighth grader, in the second half of a football game. "He eased me into it," Contreras recalled.

By high school, the young announcer continued to develop his craft behind a mic. 

"Joey did his homework and would listen to other announcers once he had his own transportation (to attend away games)," Salas said.

Contreras developed his own trademark sayings such as "No loss / no gain on the play," according to Salas.

Contreras is forever thankful to those such as Salas who helped him along the way.

And he still has the dream of someday announcing for a professional sports team.