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After years of hard work and dedication, Joshua Meneses is seeing his efforts come to fruition.

On Thursday, the Porterville High School senior was joined by family and coaches as he signed a letter of intent to run men’s cross country and track for Azusa Pacific University next season.

The Cougars are an NCAA Division II institution that competes in the PacWest Conference. 

“I feel good,” Meneses said. “I feel relieved because I’ve put in a lot of work over the past couple of years, and it’s kind of paying off.”

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After months without high school sports, the Orange Belt is back in action. 

Porterville High School cross country will be the first team to participate in a sports competition with today’s East Yosemite League meet at Tulare Western. Spectators are not allowed on campus.

With 11 months of practice, PHS head coach Juan Jimenez said the team’s focus is on getting its racing legs back.

“Right now, we’re focused on getting a race, just getting our racing legs back,” Jimenez said. “It’s one thing (when) you run, and you run, and you train. But those are not competition lungs. So the trick is going to be to make sure these guys don’t (exhaust themselves) in the first two miles.”

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As a new season begins, the championship feeling from last season sheds its final layers for the Porterville High School boys cross country team.

The Panthers made history last year when they won the CIF Central Section Division IV Championship. It was the first championship in program history, and on Monday, they were given their letterman patches honoring their outstanding accomplishment.

“Nobody believed we could do this,” PHS head coach, Juan Jimenez, said to the team. “Nobody believed in us, except us. Until we started turning some heads, and we started bringing that team together. Bringing that Spirit of the Panther together and making that dream a reality.”

"I have this one AVID shirt that says, ‘Before the reality came the dream.' Before the reality came the dream. You gotta dream big guys," Jimenez said.

No gyms, no weight rooms.

Less than a week after area teams were given the go-ahead to begin summer workouts, Porterville Unified School District put a stop to indoor workouts for the next two weeks starting today because of a rise in positive COVID case numbers in Tulare County.

“The word we got today is starting tomorrow, for two weeks, we are not allowing anything indoors,” PUSD athletic director Richard Rankin said Monday. “So no gym, no weight room. Our outdoor practices will continue but everything indoors has been shut down.” 

PUSD began allowing high school teams to start summer workouts last Wednesday with strict return-to-play rules. A decision by the CIF on the upcoming fall season is expected by Monday, July 20.

First Ever: Porterville senior’s individual Valley title led team to first Valley championship

Jorge Sanchez has a story for everything.

There's never just a simple “yes” or “no” answer. For you to truly get what he's saying, he wants you to know the whole background of it all.

The only time Sanchez ever seems to be at a loss of words is when he attempts to explain what it means to him to be a Valley champion.

Sanchez became Porterville High School’s first-ever male Central Section individual cross country champion this season when he led his team to a Division IV Valley title — the first team title in the boys’ programs history. His efforts earned him The Recorder's 2019 Orange Belt Boys Cross Country Runner of the Year selection.

Monache sweeps dual, Porterville continues to impress

If there were any team with a chance of beating Monache High School boys cross country, it was their rival Porterville.

Both teams entered their rivalry East Yosemite League dual at the top of the league, but it was the Marauders who were able to remain unblemished with a 20-39 win Wednesday at Porterville Sports Complex.

“Porterville’s going to win the (Central Section Division IV) championship,” MHS head coach Seth Ishida said. “For us to beat them — this is our fourth time — it’s always a challenge."

MHS XC, PHS boys still top of rankings

Porterville High School’s boys cross country team placed eighth in the large school division of the Clovis North Twilight Invitational 2-mile run Friday at Clovis North High.

We ran extremely well this Friday at the Clovis North Twilight Run,” PHS head coach Juan Jimenez said. “Jorge (Sanchez) has proven time and time again that he is the best runner in the county and one of the best in the section. Friday was just evidence of that. He hit a personal record (PR) of 9 minutes, 39 seconds, besting his previous PR of 9:40 at the section masters meet during track season where he placed 10th. I’m not sure but I’m pretty sure that’s a school record. We’ll have to check the books. 

Monache High School volleyball came out on top 3-0 against Woodlake in Monday's non-league game on the road. The Marauders won the sets 25-13, 25-16 and 25-13 respectively.

For Monache, Gabriella Cox had 29 assists, nine digs, three kills and two aces. Kristen Watson had six service points, five digs, two assists and one ace. Tia Jules had seven kills. Morgan Hunter had six kills, one dig and one ace. Hally Flynn had six kills, two digs and one ace. Kailyn Castle had seven kills, four digs and two aces.

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Juan Jimenez, cross country and wrestling coach at Porterville High School, won the CIF Model Coach Award. Jimenez is trying to pass on whatev…