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PC honors Borror, Lansford, Perez
RIVER ISLAND — While they all took different paths to Porterville College, a common bond joins all three honorees during Saturday’s Porterville College Athletic Hall of Fame Dinner — a willingness to serve.
Kristi Lansford and Jennifer (Borror) Gilliam were this year’s athletes inducted into the PC Athletic Hall of Fame, while Bob Perez was this year’s recipient of the school’s Distinguished Alumni Award during Saturday’s ceremony.
Lansford tried to schedule a flight to make it to Saturday’s ceremony, but due to the weather in Colorado, was unable to make the event. Lansford is now the head softball coach at Metro State, a Division II school in Denver.
What happened on her first day at PC led her to becoming a softball coach. Lansford related that experience through a letter she wrote that was read by Porterville High principal Steve Graybehl, who was one of Lansford’s teachers when she attended Strathmore High. Lansford, a 1983 SHS graduate, asked Graybehl to speak on her behalf.
After her service in the Air Force, where she finished as the top recruit from her graduating class in basic training, Lansford came to PC when she was 26-years-old. On her first day of school, Lansford was sitting in the cafeteria when someone came up to her and asked her if she wanted to play softball. “It was life changing,” wrote Lansford in her letter.
As a result, Lansford fell in love with softball and decided she wanted to make coaching softball her career. She went on to a successful career, which included her time as head coach at Division II San Francisco State where she took that school to the College World Series.
Also at San Francisco State, Lansford’s teams maintained a 100 percent graduation rate for players in their fourth year of eligibility. That figures: While she was at PC, Lansford earned an A in every class she had.
Lansford also credited her parents, Harold and Zelma Lansford, who were at Saturday’s ceremony. Lansford said if not for her parents, she “would not have had the courage to return to college.”
At PC, Lansford became a three-sport star in volleyball, basketball and softball. “Much of the success I’ve had wouldn’t have happened if not for Porterville College,” Lansford said. “Porterville College was a perfect fit form me both athletically and academically.”
It’s been a trying year for Lansford, whose No. 1 pitcher at Metro State, Aubree Maul, has been diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Maul’s prognosis is good, and there’s even a strong chance she will return to the pitching circle next season. Through her letter, Lansford asked for the thoughts and prayers from those in attendance for Maul.
Perez admitted he wasn’t the student Lansford was. “It took me five years to graduate from a two-year college,” Perez said.
But, through all of his years as a student in higher education, Perez, a 1969 PC graduate, said about the school, “this was by far the most difficult institution for me.”
Perez went on to a distinguished career in education and service in the community for several decades, which has been fitting, he said. “There’s no better place than to return to your home roots,” he said. “To give back to your community that was so good to you.”
Borror, a 2003 Porterville High graduate, led the PHS girls basketball team to the Valley title under coach Brian Hill. She then led the PC women’s basketball team to its only conference title under coach Dave Kavern. “Two of the best coaches I’ve ever had without a doubt,” said Borror about Hill and Kavern.
Borror went on to be a starter for a Chico State team in 2006 that advanced to the Division II Final Four. Borror said her best times came at PHS and PC. “My time at Porterville High School and PC, they were for me, my best times,” she said.
Borror is now pursuing her master’s in education while working as a social worker.