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Sierra High Hall of Fame on Sunday at Chez Shari
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Sierra High School’s first female championship team, the 1995 Boys Cross Country team that became the 10th ranked team in California when the new campus was only in its second year, and a faculty member who helped open the doors of Manteca Unified’s third high school campus in 1994 will be inducted into the Timberwolves’ Hall of Fame on  Sunday.

This third Hall of Fame class induction, which is held every year, will be held Sunday starting at 5:30 p.m. at Chez Shari in the Manteca Golf Course on South Union Road. Refreshments will be served.

Started as a spring event, the annual Hall of Fame induction is being held in the fall for the first time this year.

“This year, we moved it to fall to coincide with homecoming weekend,” explained Sierra High Vice Principal Greg Leland.

Explaining the genesis of the school’s Hall of Fame tradition, Leland said the idea was born out of a desire to recognize the achievements of Timberwolves alumni.

“There are so many neat things our alumni are doing,” Leland said, and having this event helps remind everyone where these achievers started – at Sierra High.

It’s the school’s way of saying, “Look at all the great things Sierra graduates are doing in the community,” Leland said. “We just want those people to remember where they came from.”

The three Hall of Fame classes for 2013 being honored and recognized on Sunday are Ed Almaas who helped Sierra High’s first principal Rick Arucan open the doors of the school in 1994; the 1998 Girls’ Soccer Team coached by Manuel Pires that defied many odds by adopting a “never say die” attitude and went on to win 12 V.O.L. championships and four section banners at Sierra, and the 1995 Boys’ Cross Country coached by Mike Rosendin which distinguished itself even though the Timberwolves was only in its second year of existence and was still without a senior class.

Below is a profile of the three that make up the Sierra High Class of 2013 Hall of Fame.

Ed Almaas

Ed Almaas began his teaching career at East Union in 1967.  He came to Sierra and helped then-new Principal Rick Arucan open the doors in 1994.  He was the Social Science Department Chair, Assistant Varsity Football Coach, Study Skills coordinator, and mentor teacher to most of the young staff at Sierra.

Ed served in a variety of leadership roles on campus until his retirement in 2005.  He was an instrumental part of the 4-by-4 block schedule that is currently in use at Sierra today.  He was also one of the founders of Sierra’s Lobo Gold program, Study Skills program, Strategic Team Planning Committee, and chaired Sierra’s WASC committees the entire time he was at Sierra.  Ed is also a former Manteca Unified School District Teacher of the Year and was  recipient of the San Joaquin County A+ Teacher of the Year award.  Much of the culture, tradition, and character of Sierra today can be attributed to those early years at Sierra.  As a founding father, Ed played a huge part in developing all of the programs that are still in existence today. 

Former SHS Principal Rick Arucan said, “Our relationship goes back to the 1960s, and I am forever grateful that we crossed paths back then as I learned so much from you. I always appreciated your many leadership skills and your abilities to relate to people in a positive manner. I am a better person for having known and worked with you for so many years, and I am sure that your students and peers would agree. You were a critical contributor in helping to create a wonderful culture and reputation for Sierra High School.”

Ed and his wife Paula have been married for 42 years and they both remain active in retirement.  Ed is still a member of the Stockton Chorale, an avid sailor, and he and his wife enjoy traveling all over the world.  In retirement, Ed can finally see all of those places he used to teach about for 38 years in education, recently returning from a river cruise in Russia, traveling from St. Petersburg to Moscow.

1998 Girls’ Soccer

The 1998 Girls’ Soccer Team, coached by Manuel Pires, finished the season with a record of 27-3-1.  They outscored their opponents 107-15 and only gave up 5 goals in League.  In 1998, regardless of school size, all teams were moved to Division I for the post-season playoffs.  Sierra, a Division IV school, was forced to play schools more than twice their size, in a quest for a section banner.  The underdog Timberwolves opened up the playoffs by defeating Downey 3-0.  The semi-final game was against heavily favored Lincoln.  Sierra shocked the section with a 3-2 win.  In the championship game against two-time defending section champion and powerhouse St. Mary’s of Stockton, nobody gave the Timberwolves a chance to win.  Fueled by a never-say-die attitude, the “little school from Manteca” made history by capturing the section banner with a 1-0 win.

The Timberwolves were led by All-League players Angela Allgaier, Sandra Herrera, Darci Cullers, Marisa Mercado, Monica Pires, Jenni Amaya, and Bobbie Roudebush.  Allgaier was the Most Valuable Player of the Valley Oak League. Other team members included:  Amanda Enfield, Lisa Esteves, Jessica Pires, Ginny Teunissen, Marcy Burks, Melissa Stephens, Collene Cardona, Erin King, Dina Carames, Anna Almeida, Rachel Lundbom, Erin Powers, Nicki Rainey, Shanna Rompel, and Tracy Gonzales.

Coach Manuel Pires was selected as Coach of the Year for the Valley Oak League and his teams have gone on to win 12 V.O.L. championships and 4 section banners at Sierra.

1995 Boys’ Cross Country

Not much was expected of the 1995 Boys’ Cross Country Team.  Coached by Mike Rosendin, the Timberwolves were in only their second year of existence and still without a senior class.  With a varsity team made up of 1 junior, 2 sophomores, and 2 freshmen in the top 5, the Timberwolves showed that “being a new school” was not an excuse for failure.  By going 7-1 in league, Sierra captured the Valley Oak League championship.  They went on to capture the Division IV Sub-Section title and the Division IV Section title.  They defied all odds by taking on teams comprised predominantly of upperclassmen.  Consistency was the key to this team.  At the Section championship, Sierra was led by Robert Guerrero (9th place), Eric Steele (15th place), David Ulibarri (17th place) Josh Ferguson (19th place), and Daniel Garcia (21st place).  Chris Gikas and Adam Plain rounded out the Sierra squad.

This would begin a tremendous run for the Cross Country program, which is still under the direction of Coach Mike Rosendin.  Since Sierra opened, the CC team has won 13 Varsity V.O.L. championships and 3 Section banners.  After the 10th place finish at the State Meet in Fresno in 1995, Coach Rosendin said, “To be the 10th ranked team in the state is a dream come true.  I’m just real happy as a coach that I can be a part of this.  It’s been a fun trip!”

Former Athletic Director Vern Gebhardt said, “I am so proud of both the Soccer and Cross Country Teams for their success at Sierra.  Both teams worked very hard to achieve their goals and had what I believe to be the best coaching and players in the Sac Joaquin Section.  Sierra has earned several Section banners over the past 19 years, and I believe much of that success was due to these two outstanding teams setting the standards for the entire Sierra athletic program.  Congratulations to the players, Coach Rosendin, Coach Pires, and the parents of the players for this outstanding achievement.”