The Press continues its look at the archived athletic moments and feats that frame history and provide much-needed sports action during this pandemic-induced stoppage of play.
The Liberty High School football team received its state championship rings during a ceremony at Harvest Park Bowl.
“I’m amazed,” said senior Reese Watkins-Nelson moments after receiving his ring. “I saw the size of it and was like ‘Oh, my God.’ It’s way bigger than the NCS championship ring. It’s beautiful; it’s absolutely amazing.”
Harvest Park Bowl owner Jim Wangeman and longtime Knightsen resident Andy Dreifort paid the estimated $15,000 for the glistening gold mementos inscribed on the front with the squad’s logo situated over an outline of California and encircled by the words “State Champions.”
Cecily Hayes became Independence High School’s first student to receive a full-ride scholarship to Fresno State, and, appropriately, she had her horse to thank.
“I came to Independence, and it’s been incredible,” Cecily said at the time. “Going to school every day was not working with competition schedule, and Mrs. Toelkes has been so amazing in helping me balance the life of working and riding as well as getting all of my work done to get the grades I needed to land a scholarship.”
Freedom High School swimmer Braedan Fowler was the lone Freedom representative to reach the North Coast Section championship, and he did not disappoint.
He grabbed second place in the 50-yard freestyle event in 21.09 just behind Terra Linda’s Nathaniel Cunnan’s winning time of 20.41. Fowler also nabbed seventh in the 100-yard freestyle, the only other event in which he competed.
Heritage High School’s Andrew Garner, a paraprofessional in the school’s life skills class, helped Heritage pull out a 52-50 win in a hard-fought faculty basketball game between Freedom and Heritage.
Garner, a former star at Freedom, was one of Heritage’s top players in the contest.
The Heritage High School swim teams finished off another dominant season at the Bay Valley Athletic League Finals.
The Patriots’ boys’ squad collected 561 points, 189 points more than second-place Deer Valley, to win its seventh straight title. The girls’ squad was equally impressive, outscoring Deer Valley by 390 points to capture its sixth straight title.
“It was a really good meet,” said then Heritage head coach Craig Carson. “We had some good time drops.”
In all, 14 Heritage swimmers finished the event as league champions.
Stephanie Backlund (200- and 500-yard freestyle), Katrina Sudweeks (200-yard individual medley and 100- yard breaststroke), Allie Klinger (50- and 100-yard freestyle) and Brooke Lynn Santos (100-yard backstroke) all won their events for the girls’ squad.
Discovery Bay’s Supreme basketball team took home the championship at the 12th annual Spring Jam and Lillie V Memorial Amateur Athletic Union basketball tournament in San Carlos. The Supreme went 3-0 at the two-day event, defeating teams from San Francisco, Richmond and Pleasanton. The team was comprised of Noble McDonald, Max Parsons, Clay Hewison, Gage Pigati, Jacob Wells, Arcadio Cortez, Kyle MacHugh, Parker Pavon and coach Terence McGilbra.
Liberty graduate C.J. Leveque defeated James Johnson in the second round of a mixed martial arts fight, at the Chicken Ranch Casino in Jamestown, earning his third win in four fights.
The victory also gave Leveque the Art of War heavyweight title.