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A large number of players showed up on Sunday at Burton Middle School for evaluations for the upcoming Valley Elite Youth Basketball League. The league is open to boys and girls in kindergarten through eighth grades. The season will begin on December 4 and will include eight games and an all…

The Porterville Magic 10 and under softball team won the Gold Bracket title over the weekend at the National Softball Association Fresno Pilgrimfest. Back from left, coaches Buddy Gonzalez, head coach Thomas Nelson, Christ Beltran. Second from left, Arianna Mannriquez, Payton Davis, Aleena G…

The Strathmore High girls basketball team had no answers against Porterville High on Thursday night as PHS rolled to a 46-6 win in the 37th annual Redwood Tournament.

Stanford University Athletics held its Civic Engagement Day on Tuesday with Cardinal football players speaking to Los Robles Elementary students on the importance of civic engagement and being a good citizen in the community.

Ernie Rodriguez makes sure his adopted 3-year-old son Carter Allan Rodriguez stays active, so when the chance came for his son to participate in a 5K run, Ernie thought why not.

The Burton Middle School volleyball team, the No. 1 seed in the Whitney League Tournament, upset the No. 1 seed Los Tules Middle School of Tulare 2-0 on Tuesday in the quaterfinals of the tournament. Burton advanced to the semifinals in which it faced Woodlake on Wednesday.

Valley Elite Tournaments will hold its first Kings of the Streets basketball tournament on Saturday, September 25 at Zalud Park. The tournament will begin at 5 p.m.

The Burton Middle School varsity and junior varsity volleyball teams both defeated Sequoia Middle School 2-0 on Tuesday.

Burton Middle School's cross country boys cross country team won its league race on Wednesday at Sequoia Middle School to be among the highlights this past week for Burton's athletic teams.

Burton Middle School's football and volleyball teams traveled across town to take on Bartlett Middle School for their season opener on Tuesday, playing for the first time since 2019.

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STRATHMORE - The machine that’s the Strathmore Spartan football team kept firing on all cylinders, handing the Orange Cove Titans a loss they won’t want to remember Thursday night in a 48-0 drubbing at Spartan Stadium.

Pickleball is a sport that’s almost like playing badminton, ping-pong, and tennis. It can be played either indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a net that's almost like a tennis net. Pickleball is almost like tennis because players can play singles or doubles.

“That's got to be a good throw,” Porterville Hot Shots 12 and under softball team coach Art Guillen told his team while conducting a defensive drill that simulated a game situation. “Reset. Back down to zero.”

The Exeter Water Polo Club traveled to Florida last week to compete in the Spring in the Swamp Invitational hosted by the University of Florida. The team was made up of players from Porterville, Tulare, and Visalia.   

The team flew out Thursday together from Fresno to Dallas where they took a connecting flight to Gainesville, Fla. With the east coast time change, Thursday was a full travel day.  

The team began their trip with a tour of the University of Florida in Gainesville. They were able to go down to the field level of the Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, home of the University of Florida Football team. Then they traveled to Saint Augustine Beach which is the oldest settlement in the United States for a fun afternoon on the beach.  

Youth and adult recreation sports are set to begin soon in much of California. And there's a chance youth and adult recreation sports leagues can be held in Tulare County beginning as soon as the end of next week.


Lindsay schedules XC meet for Feb. 10

High school sports got a thumbs up to begin competition this week when Gov. Gavin Newsom lifted regional stay-at-home orders across the state on Monday. 

Newsom directly addressed youth sports in his press conference, saying, “Certain youth sports can resume for competition, in particular, with again, modifications and considerations.”

Since Tulare County is in the state’s COVID-19 purple tier, or widespread category, the high school sports that are allowed to begin competitions are low contact, purple-tiered sports: cross country, golf, tennis, swim and dive, and track and field. 

Lindsay High School athletic director, John Caesar, said the East Sequoia League -- the league the Cardinals compete in -- is currently working together on schedules, but the team does have their first ESL meet scheduled for Wednesday, Feb. 10.

The Exeter Water Polo Club traveled to Dallas, Texas for the Texas Challenge Cup on Nov 14-15. The 18u women’s team -- composed of players from Porterville, Tulare and Visalia -- finished in fourth place after competing against the top clubs in the entire state of Texas.  

The efforts Job Lara makes to create an inclusive volleyball program were recognized in late October when the NuBreed Volleyball Club director was announced as a 2020 Diversity Award Recipient by the American Volleyball Coaches Association. 

“That’s exciting to be recognized at a national level for what we’re doing locally with the diverse group that we have, from Hispanic to African-American to Native American,” Lara said. “And as I told them, we’re many people but one tribe. It’s NuBreed.”

On Tuesday, AVCA released a press release to announce and congratulate all 40 recipients from across the nation. 

The City of Porterville Parks and Leisure Services wrapped up its Inaugural Kids Cross Country season Monday with a meet at the Porterville Golf Course.

Fifteen youth, divided into two cohorts throughout the season, ages 9-12 participated. Practices were held at Veterans Park and at the Golf Course.

Top finishers at the meet included Ezequiel Baez for the boys and Mackenzie Coria for the girls.

The Kids Cross Country program will resume after the City’s Jr. Pirates Track season in 2021. Runners and walkers of all ages should be on the lookout for the upcoming Virtual Veterans Day Run.

For more information, visit the City of Porterville website or call (559) 791-7695. Be sure to follow Parks and Leisure Services on Facebook and Instagram for all of the latest updates.

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Two local volleyball clubs, NU Breed and Pipeline, merged together last week to create the largest volleyball club in the area.

Job Lara, the director of the non-profit NU Breed club, reached out to Pipeline’s director, Pete Rasmussen, to make the merger happen. Both Lara and Rasmussen agreed this was the right move with COVID-19 limiting resources and the two clubs wanting to increase their competitiveness. 

“It is something that I’ve been wanting to do for awhile because I think both Pete and I have some gifts in us that compliment each other,” Lara said Wednesday via phone. “And I always thought that together we could be stronger and serve the south Valley volleyball community better. And so, this provided a perfect scenario for us to work together.”


When McDermont X Fitness Center in Lindsay opened Monday, friends Jacob Duenas and Angel Perez were two of the first people to come and work out.

Back again on Tuesday, the two said they were happy to be back and getting stronger.

“I don’t know. I just missed working out, sweating, getting gains, socializing with people. Just all that typical stuff. Grinding,” Duenas, 18, said.

Perez, who is going to play outside linebacker for the College of the Sequoias, said that being back in the fitness center meant he could get back to offseason training.

“It feels great,” he said. “Finally get to work out again and working out means getting better for football again.”

McDermont opened its doors to members this week after being closed since March 19, when Gov. Gavin Newsom issued a stay-at-home order for California due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The opening of the facility was announced on Facebook this past Saturday and it came with a couple of new rules that are also posted around the facility.

Porterville Girls Fastpitch didn’t get much of a season before the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic shut things down.  But last Friday, PGF announced on Facebook they are preparing for an upcoming travel season. 

However there are still many questions that need to be answered before practices can even be held. Josh Plumlee, the president of PGF, said Wednesday via Facebook Messenger that the main questions center around how they’ll handle social distancing requirements. 

“There are 12-14 kids per team plus coaching staff. Do we need to keep group workouts under 10 people? Are parents included in that count?,” Plumlee said. “There is also the issue of sharing equipment: bats, balls, helmets, etc. Do we need to sterilize the balls between practice?  Can the girls play catch? We have three fields at Hayes. Can we have a group on each field? Or just one group at the complex? Do we need to take temperatures each day?”

On USA Softball’s website (https://www.teamusa.org/USA-Softball), a Back to the Ballpark document provides guidelines for coaches on how to handle things, such as facilities, concessions, game play, meetings and more. 

For example, USA Softball advises that water fountains should be made inoperable, coaches should wear masks all game, there should be no huddles in the circle, and umpires need to make sure catchers (and batters) are six feet away from the plate before dusting it off. 

Monache High School’s fourth annual Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony is officially postponed due to the current COVID-19 health threat, HOF chairman Drew Williams announced Sunday evening.

Originally scheduled for April 25, the hall of fame dinner and induction ceremony will instead be held a year later on Saturday, April 24, 2021, at the Porterville Veterans Memorial Building.

Tickets purchased for this year’s event will be honored for next year’s event. Any requested refunds can be secured from Monache High School and the details of a refund transaction will be forthcoming as the restart of school has not been determined.

Porterville Little League hopeful for full season later in year

Porterville Little League announced Monday afternoon that it is following the advice of Little League International and suspending its season through May 11, effective immediately, due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The decision comes after Little League President and CEO, Stephen D. Keener, released a letter to Little League baseball and softball programs across the nation about season suspensions.

After stating Porterville Unified School District would cancel athletics from Thursday through Saturday, the district extended suspended all of its athletic events — home and away — through April 13. PUSD is following the recommendation of all high school district superintendents in Tulare and Kings Counties.

PUSD reported most of the high schools in the Central Section are following the recommendation to suspend its athletic events. In the meantime, PUSD is allowing its athletic teams to continue to practice.

In addition Porterville College spring sports are suspended indefinitely with the California Community College Athletics Association releasing more information on the suspension of spring sports.

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On Thursday, the California Community College Athletic Association posted a press release on its website stating the board of directors voted “to immediately postpone practices outside of regularly scheduled classes, and competition for all spring sports, as well as any and all nontraditional sports seasons, indefinitely.”

In a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) post on its website Friday, CCCAA said the sports impacted are: baseball, women's badminton, women's beach volleyball, men's golf, softball, men's and women's swimming and diving, men's and women's tennis, men's and women's track and field, and men's volleyball regular seasons.

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Capt. Ramon Figueroa's daughter throws out first pitch

With a captivating smile and the gym's full attention, Amelia Figueroa threw out the first pitch of the season to applause from hundreds of supporters in attendance for the Porterville Girls Fastpitch opening ceremony Friday evening at Monache High School.

Figueroa, the daughter of the late Porterville Fire Captain Ramon Figueroa, threw the first pitch to firefighter Sabrina Barrios, who gave her a big hug afterwards while her mom and brother watched from behind.

Prior to the pitch, PGF announced they would be dedicating the softball season to Capt. Figueroa and firefighter Patrick Jones, who lost their lives in the line of duty battling the Porterville City Library fire on Feb. 18. The Porterville Fire Department also sponsors Amelia's team — the UCLA Bruins 6U team.

The Sequoia Middle School Hawks picked up championships in both girl basketball and boys soccer Tuesday.

The Sequoia girls finished the 2019-20 basketball season as champions of the Whitney League for the second consecutive year. The Hawks won the final Tuesday with a 26-13 win against Pioneer.

Team captain Alisha Verdejo led the team in scoring, while Danielle Knight and Zahra Rayani contributed with timely scores and rebounding. The Lady Hawks defeated Wilson of Exeter 17-15 in a hard fought game to advance to the championship.

Tickets available for MHS Athletic HOF on April 27

The fourth annual Monache Athletic Hall Of Fame ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, April 25 at Veteran’s Memorial Building in Porterville.

This year's inductees are: Jennifer Baker Alvarez (Track and Field, 1986), Stephanie Raymond (Swimming, Volleyball, 1990), Heather Brown Sandoval (Volleyball, Basketball, Track and Field, 1991), Curtis Alkire (Wrestling, Tennis, Cross Country, 1991), Jennifer Stephen Brown (Swimming, Volleyball, 1992), the 1997 Girls' Basketball Valley Champions and Coach Hal Hevener (Water Polo, Swimming, Basketball, 1969-1997).

Happy Hour is at 5 p.m. with dinner from 6-7 p.m. Induction visuals and ceremony is from 7:15 p.m. to conclusion.

The cost is $50 per person with a table of eight available for $350.

Tickets are currently on sale at the Monache Student Activities Office and available online at: https://webstores.activenetwork.com/school-software/monache_high_schohzs/

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Local RSB coaches reflect on Kobe loss

If there were any lessons learned Sunday morning when news broke of NBA legend Kobe Bryant’s death, it was to cherish those around you.

Bryant and his daughter, Gianna, 13, died in a helicopter crash along with seven other individuals on their way to the Mamba Cup Tournament Series at the Mamba Sports Academy in Southern California. Excited to see the Bryants that day was the local Rising Stars Basketball 11U team.

We were on our way to the Mamba Academy for the 12 o’clock game to go watch him and his daughter play that afternoon,” assistant coach Jose Miranda said. “That’s when we started getting all the news about what happened. We got to the sports complex, and even the guys up front, the security guys up front that were escorting the traffic...We knew it was true once we saw them in tears.”

Here’s some sports moments from around the area this decade