Local athletes again shine on the big stage
The Orange Belt again needs to be very proud of its high school athletes. So far this year, many have excelled, especially wrestler Mason Pengilly and the Lindsay High School Cardinals girls basketball team.
Pengilly, as well as several local wrestlers, were just outstanding this past season. The Porterville High School wrestler just completed a perfect 41-0 season by winning his first state wrestling title, the first by a local wrestler since 2005 to win a state title and only the sixth ever.
He was one of a handful of local wrestlers who competed at the state meet and one of three who medaled. Martin Sandoval won bronze and Abel Contreras took seventh, but it was Pengilly who held up to his ranking as the No. 1 wrestler in the state in his 120-pound weight class, and who won his title to honor his boyhood hero, Brett Land, an outstanding high school wrestler who died in 2010 serving his country.
Distinguishing themselves as well were the Lindsay girls basketball team, which dominated competition all year and won the Valley Division IV title with a 61-37 trouncing of Mendota in Fresno. The girls had an outstanding year, winning their league title before showing the entire Valley just how good they were with their victory in the championship game.
There were many other individuals and teams that excelled this winter. The Lindsay girls won a Valley soccer title, Monache boys soccer played for the Valley championship, and several teams, including the Strathmore girls soccer team, the Granite Hills boys basketball team, and Monache’s boys and girls basketball teams, made it to the postseason.
Of course, it is not just about the success on the playing field. Sports builds character, and in today’s sports world, athletes must excel in the classroom as well. Several teams were ranked at the top or in the top 10 in cumulative grade point average, possibly the greatest accomplishment of them all, considering the time and effort needed to be successful on the playing field.
Congratulations to to all the local athletes that have made parents, coaches and alumni proud.