Three area athletes affected by the suspension of upcoming season

The California Collegiate Athletic Association announced on Tuesday the suspension of all fall sports for the upcoming year.

The CCAA, a NCAA Division II conference, is home to 12 California State Universities (Pomona, Dominguez Hills, East Bay, Los Angeles, Monterey Bay, San Bernardino, San Marcos, Chico, Humboldt, San Francisco, Sonoma, Stanislaus) and the University of California, San Diego.

The CCAA’s decision followed CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White's Tuesday announcement that the 23 schools in the CSU system would use online learning for the majority of classes during the fall semester due to COVID-19.

However in a Wednesday press release on Chico State’s website,, Chico State Director of Athletics, Anita Baker, clarified that the suspension was only a suspension, not a cancelation — at least for now.

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Monache senior committed to FPU’s cross country and track programs

Before he was a standout runner for Monache High School, Isaiah Sotelo was drawing attention in middle school and at the elementary level.

Now the senior looks to do the same as a member of Fresno Pacific University’s track and cross country programs after committing to the NCAA Division II Sunbirds.

“I chose Fresno Pacific because of how coach Ray Winter sold me on the program,” Sotelo said via email. “They are an up-and-coming program that has a lot of potential. Hopefully, through hard work and dedication, we can achieve something over the next four years. It means a lot to continue my career in college (with) new goals, new people. It is a blessing to be able to continue something that I enjoy doing.”

Along with running at FPU, Sotelo plans to major in criminal justice before moving on to law school and becoming a district attorney. At FPU Sotelo will receive $11,000 in academic scholarships ,and the rest in grants and athletics, to cover the total cost according to MHS head coach Seth Ishida.


Neda Velasquez was all set to hang up her running shoes after high school and simply continue her education at California State University, Chico.

But as running became more of a passion and a part of her life, she decided to give it a collegiate try and reached out to one of her top college choices, the University of California, Merced, for an opportunity. Now the senior is committed to competing in cross country for the Bobcats — an NAIA program in the California Pacific Conference.

“With track season ending early I noticed that running became a part of my life, and as a runner with little experience I wanted to see my full potential,” Velasquez said. “So I decided to commit to UC Merced athletics since it's a growing program and I'm still finding my full potential in running.”


Porterville High School’s Brandon Rose is continuing his football career with Montana State University-Northern after signing with the NAIA Lights in mid-April.

Stay-at-home orders amid the coronavirus pandemic prevented Rose from actually getting to visit the campus in Havre, Mon., let alone have a signing ceremony, but the senior said being offered a nearly full-ride athletic scholarship and a new experience helped him make his decision.

“I talked to the coach for a while, we had a lot of long talks and stuff,” Rose said. “And he always talked about how nice the weather is up there and how they get snow and stuff like that. And I thought it would just be like a really cool, new experience.”

Rose, who has a 3.5 GPA and plans to major in biology en route to a career in dentistry or nursing, was also thankful for an opportunity to continue playing football. 

The girls Central Section Basketball Champions being honored on these commemorative cartons are (Open) Clovis West High School, (D1) Bakersfield High School, (D2) San Joaquin Memorial High School, (D3) Porterville High School, (D4) Caruthers High School and (D5) East Bakersfield High School.

Four other locals make Pag Meter’s Fab 40 Team

Strathmore High School’s Jazmine Soto was named Pag Meter’s Co-Offensive Player of the Year earlier this week.

The recognition comes weeks after the junior was selected the Cal-Hi Sports Division V State Player of the Year, The Recorder’s 2019-20 Orange Belt Girls Basketball Player of the Year and the East Sequoia League’s Most Valuable Player.

According to, Soto was second in the nation and state in total points scored with 989, which set a new Central Section record. She finished her third year on varsity with 2,498 points, a Tulare County record, and is set to break the 3,000-point milestone early next season.

Wrestling in college was always the goal for Tyler Avila, but the Porterville High School senior accomplished his dream of signing with NCAA Division I California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, Tuesday afternoon at Porterville High.

The signing was a long time coming after Avila verbally committed to the Mustangs in early March. Avila received an athletic and academic scholarship to attend Cal Poly, turning down scholarships and offers from several schools including Div. I CSU Bakersfield, Cal Baptist and a President’s Honors Scholarship from Fresno State’s Smittcamp Family Honors College. 

“Feels good,” Avila said. “They put a hold on (the paperwork) for the NCAA cause of the whole coronavirus thing, so I was really just anxious waiting for it. It’s really nice to have it done.”

Senior runner Jorge Sanchez undecided about future

On Wednesday, Porterville High School baseball, softball and track and field coaches held a parking lot drop-off for athletes to return their uniforms after seasons were cut short by COVID-19 and the resulting pandemic.

“We were supposed to be in Delano right now,” track and field head coach Robert Steigleder said.

A couple dozen players made it by to drop off their uniforms and see their coaches for one last time this season.

“See you next year!” one player returning her softball things called out to her coaches.


GHHS’ Rene Lopez threw to two no-hitters before season ended

Rene Lopez was playing lights out. 

The senior from Granite Hills High School had thrown the baseball program’s first back-to-back, no-hitter and was getting ready for his next big game when his and the rest of the country’s high school and college seasons came to a stop.

The Grizzlies were set to host Strathmore on Friday, March 13, when Porterville Unified School District announced a district-wide cancellation of athletic events through the weekend in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

But the games were never resumed, and on April 3, the California Interscholastic Federation announced the end of the spring season.

“I was sad,” Lopez said. “I didn’t know how to do it because baseball is like everything to me. I love playing baseball. Having that taken away from me really just sucks.”

Former LHS grad in as Cardinals’ new varsity head coach

A familiar face is taking over the reins of Lindsay High School’s football program.

Casey Higginbotham is the Cardinals’ new varsity head football coach after spending the last four years as the program’s junior varsity coach, as well as a varsity position coach for the past five.

“To me it’s a dream job,” said Higginbotham. “I get to coach football for my alma mater, give back to the community that raised me, and help the players (and) youth reach their potential.”

Higginbotham graduated from Lindsay in 1995 and played for both the Cardinals and the College of the Sequoias. After a year with the Giants, he started his coaching career as an assistant with Tulare Western then another year with Lindsay before becoming a police officer for the next 17 years. He is now also a teacher in the public safety and mock trial pathways for Lindsay.


Perseverance: Porterville senior became team's first state placer in six years


If there’s one thing Tyler Avila’s wrestling journey at Porterville High School can teach someone, it’s that no matter what happens, you never give up on your dreams.

Year after year Avila faced setbacks but never stopped pursuing his dream of one day standing on the podium at the CIF State Championships. This season he accomplished that.

In his final year with the Panthers, the 182-pounder won an East Yosemite League, Central Section Division II and Masters’ championship before becoming one of just two non-Div. I wrestlers from the Valley to place at state. He is The Recorder’s 2019-20 Orange Belt Boys Wrestler of the Year. 


A test of faith: Monache junior overcame illness to take second at state


Charlotte Kouyoumtjian is nothing short of remarkable.

The Monache High School junior began making her case for the greatest female wrestler in school history before she even set foot on campus. But this season she showed everyone that the reason she is so great and so accomplished is because there is never a time when anyone can count her.

Battling a serious viral infection early in the season, Kouyoumtjian missed a chunk of the regular season only to return in a dominating fashion. 

Guided by her faith, the 116-pound wrestler won every match and every title in the postseason leading up to the CIF State Championships. The two-time state qualifier continued to battle and earned a spot on the podium with a second-place finish after becoming the first-ever female Marauder to be a state finalist.

Finishing the season with a 33-2 record, Kouyoumtjian is of course The Recorder’s 2019-20 Orange Belt Girls Wrestler of the Year -- an award she received last season as well.

But this season and last season were completely different for Kouyoumtjian. And not just because she took second at state rather than third. But because she did so after becoming extremely ill.


The Transfer: Porterville guard won EYL title, All-EYL co-MVP

Nash Wobrock wearing the orange and green of Porterville High School was a sight to behold this season.

And not just because he was a top transfer from crosstown rival Monache, but because of how well he handled the consequences of his move and excelled for the best season of his high school career.

Wobrock thrived with the Panthers (19-11, 8-2 EYL), leading them to an East Yosemite League title and proving himself to be one of the best players in the area with an All-EYL co-MVP selection, as well as being named The Recorder’s 2019-20 Orange Belt Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

At Monache, Wobrock won an EYL title as a sophomore and was one of the team’s top players junior year. But even so, he knew since sophomore year that he really wanted to transfer to Porterville.


‘A diamond in the rough’: Strathmore junior is the nation’s second leading scorer

Jazmine Soto is the real deal.

Her stats are mind blowing and borderline unbelievable, but when you watch her play it all makes sense. The Strathmore High School junior is simply in a league of her own, playing at an elite level.

This season Soto scored more points in 34 games than most players score in their entire four-year varsity careers. But it was more than her total points that made her The Recorder’s 2019-20 Orange Belt Girls Basketball Player of the Year.

Soto single-handedly carried the Spartans to their first Central Section final appearance in three years, led them in nearly every single statistical category and became just the second back-to-back All-East Sequoia League MVP for Strathmore in recent memory.

But of course, the point totals are pretty cool too.


The future: GHHS forward was state’s 11th leading scorer

Ask Daniel Ruiz about any goal he scored this season and you’re likely to just get a scrunched up face as he tries to remember the particular moment.

The Granite Hills High School sophomore scored a lot of goals — 36 to be exact — so it’s no surprise he has a hard time remembering each one. But what he does remember are all the wins and leading the Grizzlies boys soccer program to their most successful season ever.

With Ruiz at forward, Granite (19-5-2, 7-3-2 ESL) upset both Porterville and Lindsay, took second in the East Sequoia League and were the CIF Central Section Division VI runner-ups.

And those 36 goals? They all happened in 17 games and made Ruiz the state’s 11th, and the section’s third, leading scorer.

Proving himself as the future to continued success for the Grizzlies, Ruiz was also the program’s first-ever All-ESL Most Valuable Player and The Recorder’s 2019-20 Orange Belt Boys Soccer Player of the Year.


Follow the leader: Forward led MHS in scoring and to playoffs

There’s always something to be said about the players who lead by example with their consistency and play rather than with their voice — players like Zoe Rios.

A captain and forward for Monache High School girls soccer, Rios, was usually the quietest player on the field but her skill spoke volumes especially when the ball was at her feet.

Rios led the Marauders (12-9-3, 4-6 EYL) in scoring and assists, and was the only area player — boy or girl — to score against two eventual CIF Central Section Champion teams. She is The Recorder’s 2019-20 Orange Belt Girls Soccer Player of the Year.

Porterville College guard headed to Rocky Mountain College

Porterville College men's basketball standout Tayshawun Bradford has signed a National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and athletic career at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana next season.

"Tayshawun is a guy we are very excited to have joining our program," said Rocky Mountain head coach Bill Dreikosen. "He is going to bring toughness, scoring ability and size to our backcourt next year. We are very impressed with Tayshawun's humble maturity on the court and in the classroom. It is hard to point out his best quality but he is definitely a high character, hard worker with excellent athleticism."

A total of seven players from Porterville and Monache High School boys soccer made the All-East Yosemite League first and second teams this season.

The All-EYL MVP was junior Jesus Enriquez from EYL champion, Tulare Union. Enriquez had 10 goals and eight assists in league play. He finished the season with 32 goals and 16 assists

Strathmore High School’s Jazmine Soto is the All-East Sequoia League’s Most Valuable Player for the second year in a row. 

The junior guard averaged a league-high 33.2 points and 6.3 steals a game. Soto also finished sixth in the league with 75 rebounds. 

Through 28 games, Soto scored 838 points — 12th most in the nation -- while averaging 29.9 PPG. She also led the Spartans in rebounds (165), steals (158), assists (52) and double-doubles (seven).

Freshman forward, Isabella Duran, earned the top spot in postseason honors with an All-East Sequoia League Most Valuable Player selection.

The Lindsay High School girls soccer player was one of two Cardinals to receive high honors with teammate, junior Nicole Barriento, being named the league’s Best Goalie. High honors also went to Strathmore’s Izabella Baez (Best Offensive Player), Sierra Pacific’s Makayla Cawley (Best Defensive Player) and Christa Smith (Coach of the Year). 

Ten players from Lindsay (14-9-3, 10-2 ESL), Strathmore (11-9-1, 6-4-1 ESL) and Granite Hills (10-14-2, 4-7-1 ESL) also made the All-ESL first and second teams.

For the first time in program history, the Granite Hills High School boys soccer team produced an All-East Sequoia League Most Valuable Player with the selection of sophomore forward, Daniel Ruiz.

“It’s an honor,” GHHS head coach Pedro Gonzalez said. “I have a bunch of players that can be MVP but if you think about it, there’s people watching my players and agreeing that this is one of the best players in the league. It’s a lot for the school and for him.”

Other top honors in ESL went to Corcoran’s Vicente Rojas (Defensive Player of the Year) and Miguel Orozco (Goalkeeper of the Year), Woodlake’s Richard Rodriguez (Offensive POY) and Farmersville’s Michael Jordan (Coach of the Year).

Along with Ruiz, six other Grizzlies and two Cardinals from Lindsay were also selected to the All-ESL first and second teams.

Six players from Porterville and Monache High School girls soccer programs made All-East Yosemite League first and second teams this season.

The MVP of the league was Jaci Maze of EYL champion Tulare Union (23-5-1, 8-1-1 EYL). Maze led the league in scoring and assists with seven goals and five assists. She had 29 goals and 19 assists for the overall season. The Tribe were also the CIF Central Section Division II runner-ups.

MONACHE (12-9-3, 4-6 EYL)

Making the All-EYL first team for Monache (12-9-3, 4-6 EYL) were senior forward Zoe Rios and junior forward Jiselle Batres. 

On top of winning the East Yosemite League title with Porterville High School boys basketball, Nash Wobrock capped off his final season with an All-EYL, co-Most Valuable Player selection as well.

Wobrock shared the MVP title with Mikey Ficher, a junior from Tulare Western (22-8, 7-3 EYL). Five other players from the area -- two from Porterville (19-11, 8-2 EYL) and three from Monache (22-8, 7-3 EYL) -- also made EYL first and second teams.

Six others make all-league team from PHS, MHS

Jazlynne Medrano and Jewelia Maniss.

The two seniors were the heart and soul of Porterville High School girls basketball and their contributions to bring the Panthers' back-to-back, undefeated East Yosemite League titles was recognized with the two being named the All-EYL co-Most Valuable Players.

Along with Medrano and Maniss, three other Porterville (31-3, 10-0 EYL) players and three Monache Marauders (18-7, 7-3 EYL) were selected to All-EYL teams.

Six locals receive all-league honors

A total of six area boys basketball players made the All-East Sequoia League list this season with Lindsay High's Issac Munoz and Mohamed Kourain, and Strathmore's Owen Patterson, making the first team.

Senior guards Munoz and Kourain were the team's leading scorers and instrumental in leading the Cardinals (21-9, 9-3 ESL) to a shared second-place finish in league with Sierra Pacific (13-15, 9-3 ESL).

But CA governor says schools likely to remain closed

High school athletic programs around the state continue to hold their breaths after the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) announced Tuesday that no decision had been made about the future of this season's spring sports due to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

However that decision came less than an hour before California Gov. Gavin Newsom said California schools are likely to remain closed through the rest of the school year.

Porterville High School boys and girls swim won their East Yosemite League opener against Mission Oak Tuesday at Tulare Western High School.

In final scores, the Panthers boys won 129-36 and the girls won 142-27. Porterville won every event except boys diving. 

In team events for the boys, Garrett Lamb, Xavier Gutierrez, Diego Gutierrez and Trevor Riley won the 200-yard medley relay in a time of 1 minute, 51.75 seconds. Riley, Diego Gutierrez, Levi Davis and Ryan Davis won the 200 freestyle relay in 1:58.04. Lamb, Ryan Davis, Levi Davis and Isaac Gutierrez won the 400 free in 4:09.

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.

PUSD cancels through weekend, PC indefinitely

Porterville Unified School District was the first area school to announce the suspension of athletic events due to Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) early Thursday morning.

On the heels of Tulare County issuing an emergency declaration after an individual tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday evening, PUSD posted on Facebook, “All PUSD athletic events are cancelled for today, tomorrow, and Saturday (March 12, 13 and 14). Practices will continue as scheduled.”

Throughout the day, Central Section high schools and school districts announced the suspension of athletic events with all beginning immediately. Summit Charter Collegiate Academy did not announce any cancellations as of press time but Lindsay Unified School District released a statement that said, “No travel outside of Tulare County for athletics, field trips, and other competitive events, unless pre-approved” through April 3.

The Porterville Unified School District has postponed all of its athletic events — home and away — scheduled for today, Friday and Saturday.

It could've been Porterville College's fourth win of the season.

Instead Tuesday's Central Valley Conference home game against the Fresno City Rams turned into a disappointing 18-3 loss, the sixth-straight for Pirates' baseball.

After giving up two runs in the second inning, Porterville kept things close with the state's No. 6 ranked team and even got back on level ground with Fresno when PC's Isaiah Gomez (Porterville High) hit a two-run, RBI-single in the fifth to even the score.

But from then on, Fresno City controlled the game. The Pirates' struggles on the mound intensified and the Rams scored seven runs in the sixth and seventh inning to take a 16-2 lead.

Granite's Painter, Salinas finish on top

Last week Sierra Pacific High School boys golf won the East Sequoia League, nine-hole opening match by 19 strokes. But on Monday, Granite Hills cut the difference to 11.

Playing on their home course, Porterville Municipal Golf Course, the Grizzlies once again took second — but this time with a score of 232 to the Golden Bears' 221.

“We're improving, so that's a positive,” GHHS head coach Shelly Lozano said. “I think if our lower part of the lineup keeps improving, keeps getting better; we'll be in contention then. It's just now, we're not even in contention if we can't have our five or six be in the 40s only. … It'll come down to our league championship.”

The ESL championship 18-hole match on Wednesday, May 6.

Monache High School girls track and field took first place out of 12 teams at the Exeter Spring Launch Invitational Saturday, besting Ridgeview and El Diamante 156 to 78 and 68, respectively.

Freshman Nailea Fields won the discus for the second week in a row with throw of 110-feet, 11-inches. Fields also took fifth in the shot put with a throw of 30-feet, 3inches.

"Fields is an outstanding athlete and she will be steadily adding strength through her weight program,” MHS head coach Seth Ishida said. “She is definitely on her way early. Our throws coach, Carl Scudder, is doing an excellent job keeping us at the top of these invitationals.”

Porterville College women's tennis fell 9-0 to Modesto in Friday's Big 8 South Conference match at home. Modesto (11-1, 7-0 B8S) currently sits atop conference standings with an undefeated record.

“We're competing in every set, every match but they're just a little more, as far as their game, just a little bit stronger all the way through their game,” PC head coach Kurt Nielsen said. “Modesto girls are first place in the conference. They're probably on their way to winning. So we still battled. We did our best, they just have a lot of game. We're just trying to get better every game.

Starting with doubles, PC's Claire Nuno and Eileen Rooney lost the No. 1 match 8-1 while No. 3 Autumn True and Annabelle Rivera lost 8-0. No. 2 Raquel Calo and Zoe Vasquez had one of the closer matches of the day, with Vasquez playing very well up front, but lost 8-4.

Granite Hills High School boys swim team defeated Lindsay 84-48 in Thursday's East Sequoia League opener at home. The Grizzlies and Cardinals girls' teams tied 77-all.

In boys' competition, Granite's Juan Pablo Lopez won both the 100-yard butterfly (1 minute, 13.19 seconds) and the 100 breaststroke (1:22.32) while Ivan Ibarra won both the 50 freestyle (26.04) and the 100 free (59.61). Andy Garcia also won the 200 free (3:08.11) and Noah De La Pena the 500 free (7:11.81).

Both Granite and Lindsay boys' teams tied for first in the 200 free relay with a time of 1:46.52. Making up the Grizzlies' team was Ibarra, De La Pena, Lopez and Tommy Ensaldo. The four also won the 400 free (4:25.88).

Porterville scores 25 runs on 13 hits vs. CVC

The runs just kept coming for Porterville High School softball in a 25-2 win over Central Valley Christian at home Wednesday.

The Central Section Division VI Cavaliers (0-1) didn't have the pitching to keep the Div. III Panthers (7-0) off the bases and gave up 13 hits and 12 walks in just four innings. The game was called in the middle of the fifth due to the mercy rule.

Twelve Porterville players had a plate appearance and 11 of them scored at least one run with Jennilu Martinez and Mia Franklin both scoring four runs apiece. Martinez led the team at the plate by going 3-for-3 with four runs scored, one walk and a hit by pitch while Franklin was hit in three plate appearances.

Porterville led 6-0 after the first inning with seven of nine batters getting walked. But PHS head coach, Jennifer Schoonover, and her staff let the team know they wouldn't be content with walks.

Strathmore High School boys tennis lost 7-2 to Corcoran in their East Sequoia League home opener Wednesday.

Winning their matches in singles were Julio Beltran (8-5) and Cristian Angeles (8-5). Aden Ennis and Sal Campos had solid performances losing 8-6 in their single matches.

The Spartans next match is at home Friday against Woodlake.

Five runs in the sixth edges Strathmore over Porterville

They may not have played like it from the start but there was no quit in Strathmore High baseball Tuesday afternoon.

The Central Section Division VI Spartans (5-4) faced a tall task at home against the Div. II Panthers of Porterville (1-6-1), but a big five-run sixth inning gave Strathmore a comeback win they'll be feeding off over the next few days.

Means a lot to come back and win,” SHS junior, Nate Tree, said. “We’re happy and excited. We got the momentum with us. So we'll carry the momentum into the next game and start right where we left off.”

Down 3-2 in the bottom of the sixth, Tree played a big part in getting the team back on track with a hit to left field that scored Angel Topete and tied the game.


Eleventh-seeded Porterville High School girls basketball lost 79-48 to sixth-seeded Eisenhower on the road in the first round of the CIF State Southern Region Championship playoffs.

Jewelia Maniss led the Panthers with 21 point and Jazlynne Medrano had eight points. Jada Ortega, Madison Johnson and Cienna Enriquez had three points each. Mariyah Avila-Peterson, Bailee Cook, Zeila Rivera, Allison Martinez and Trintiy Soliz had two points apiece.

Porterville trailed 15-9 at the end of the first quarter and 44-25 at halftime. Eisenhower stretched their lead to 66-35 by the end of the third.

The Panthers (31-3, 10-0 EYL) finish the season as the Central Section Division III and East Yosemite League champions.

BAKERSFIELD — First state-finalist and highest state-placer ever for Monache High School's girls wrestling.

The accomplishments kept coming for Charlotte Kouyoumtjian over the weekend, but the one the junior really wanted — a state title — evaded her once again.

Second-seeded Kouyoumtjian lost in a 6-5 decision to fourth-seed Desinee Lopez of Folsom Saturday at the CIF State Girls Championship at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield.

“Tough one,” MHS head coach Jim Short. “I don’t think anything happened other than (Lopez) probably wrestled the best I’ve seen her wrestle in a long time. I thought Charlotte gave it a valid effort. Came up a little short.” 

BAKERSFIELD — Tyler Avila is a state-placer, the first in six years for Porterville High School boys wrestling.

The accomplishment was years in the making after the senior fought through injuries to earn a spot on the podium as the seventh-place winner Saturday at the CIF State Boys Championships.

Wrestling in the 182-pound consolation bracket at Mechanics Bank Arena in Bakersfield, Avila needed to win his first match of the day to place and medal. He did so with an 8-3 decision over seventh-seeded Travis Wuerth of Hemet.

“For me, I was ecstatic,” Avila said. “The only other time I made it to state I went two-and-out, didn’t make it to the second day. Just to place I was excited. That was where my day was made already, even if I lost.” 

The Porterville High and Strathmore High girls basketball teams will have to go on the road for the first round of the Southern California Regional Championships in the State Tournament.


No. 1 Porterville tops No. 2 Arvin for Div. III Valley title, seniors 100th win

FRESNO — “Put a one up!” was the call.

And as Porterville High School girls basketball team smiled big and raised a finger, camera shutter buttons went in to overdrive with everyone trying to capture the memory of the Panthers' biggest accomplishment — a Valley title.

“It feels so good cause I've been waiting for this moment since freshman — well younger than freshman year,” PHS senior Jewelia Medrano said. “It just feels so good to finally get here and win.”

Top-seeded Porterville (31-2) picked up the second Valley championship in program history with a 65-39 win over the second-seeded Bears of Arvin (28-5) in Friday's CIF Central Section Division III Championship at Selland Arena in Fresno.

After Thursday and Friday's CIF State Championship competition, Monache High's Charlotte Kouyoumtjian and Porterville's Tyler Avila are the only wrestlers still alive in their respective tournaments.

In the 116-pound girls competition, second-seeded Kouyoumtjian pinned seventh-seed Berlin Kiddoo of Ramona in 5 minutes, 42 seconds to advance to the semifinals.

Semifinal rounds begin at 11 p.m. today and Kouyoumtjian will wrestle third-seeded Elena Ivaldi of Del Oro for a place in the championship match.

In the 182-pound boys quarterfinals, fourth-seeded Avila lost in a 9-2 decision to fifth-seeded Jadon Martin of Buchanan. Avila will wrestle seventh-seed Travis Wuerth in the fifth round of consolation. Matches begin at 10 a.m.

SHS loses 43-39 to East

Valley championship basketball is an unforgettable experience for athletes fortunate enough to make the trip to Fresno's Selland Arena.

But for top-seeded Strathmore High girls basketball, Friday's 43-39 loss to second-seed East Bakersfield in the Central Section Division V Championship game didn't bring them the memories they wanted.

Should’ve been our game,” SHS’ Jazmine Soto said. “With all the hard work we put in, it’s crazy to think that we just let it go. Just like that. [Snaps]. One chance. One game. Thirty-two minutes and we let it go.”

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PHS' Tyler Avila is into the quarters, seven others in consolation

BAKERSFIELD — The rematch is set.

Porterville High School's Tyler Avila faces off with Buchanan's Jadon Martin today in the quarterfinals of the CIF State Boys Wrestling Championship tournament after picking up two wins in opening rounds Thursday at Mechanics Arena in Bakersfield.

Fourth-seeded Avila upset fifth-seeded Martin last week in the CIF Central Section Masters Championship to win his first-ever Masters title. The two wrestle again when quarterfinal rounds begin at 3:45 p.m.

Avila opened Thursday's tournament with two wins, including a comeback victory over Birmingham's Jairo Rivera in his second match. Trailing 2-1 after the first period, Avila scored four points with a reversal and a two-point nearfall before pinning Rivera in 3 minutes, 3 seconds.

MHS’ Ortega, PHS’ Cook start today in consolations

BAKERSFIELD — Showing once again why she’s one of the state’s best 116-pound wrestlers, Charlotte Kouyoumtjian pinned her opening round opponents in just 87 seconds to begin the CIF State Girls Wrestling Championships.

Wrestling Thursday morning at Bakersfield's Mechanics Bank Arena, the second-seeded Monache High School junior pinned Norco’s Valerie Powell in 47 seconds then made quick work of James Logan’s Carmella Foley with a 40-second pin to earn a spot in today’s quarterfinal matches that begin at 3:45 p.m.

“She feels good,” MHS head coach Jim Short said. “I think her confidence is in a place where it needs to be and we’re just taking it one match at a time.”

Strathmore High School's Jacob Flores hit a grand slam to lead the Spartans to an 11-3 win over Orosi in a non-league baseball game Thursday.

Flores also finished 2-for-4 with a triple and five RBIs. Anthony Lemus had two hits and two scored runs.

Aidan Jackson pitched 5 1/3 innings and struck out nine for the win. Aiden Albers got the save as he pitched out of a tight situation in the sixth: two runners on with the Spartans only up by four. Albers struck out two.

Spartans have a doubleheader at Summit on Saturday.


No. 1 PHS beats No. 4 Hoover, play for Valley title Friday

The undefeated East Yosemite League titles were nice.

The trips to the CIF State Championship tournament even nicer.

But the big goal — get a Valley championship — is finally in the reach of the Porterville High School's girls basketball team after an impressive 67-57 comeback victory over No. 4 Hoover (23-8) in Wednesday's Central Section Division III semifinal game at home.

It took three years and a move up in divisions to be in this position but the Panthers (30-2, 10-0 EYL) finally did it. Top-seeded Porterville will play No. 2 Arvin (28-4) for the Div. III Valley title Friday at Selland Arena in Fresno. Tipoff is at 2 p.m.

“This is the third-straight time we've gone to the semis, this is the first time we've gotten through, gotten to the finals. So it's a pretty exciting time,” PHS head coach David Kavern said.