The CIF State Office presented Liberty volleyball coach Lean Slayton with one of its coveted Model Coach Awards this week.

The award is given to 14 coaches statewide in various sports "who have served as positive role models in their schools and communities, and who have exhbitied the traits apparent in the 16 principles of Pursuing Victory with Honor."

Slayton, who led the Patriots to the Southwest Yosemite League title and the Central Section Division I championship game last fall, said the honor was worth more to her than on-court accomplishments.

"It means everything to me," she said. "That's more meaningful than anything else. As much as I love the game and love competition, there's such a bigger picture of life skills that can be taken from athletics. To be honored for instilling those values, that's the highest honor I could ever receive."

Many in the Central Section believe this weekend is the most arduous step for section wrestlers on the way to the CIF State Championships, March 1-2 in Rabobank Arena.

Schools from bigger leagues will compete in the Yosemite Divisional at Madera South, while smaller leagues go to Shafter for the Sierra/Sequoia Divisional.

Both tournaments run Friday and Saturday, with Yosemite finals beginning at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sierra/Sequoia finals at 6. The top eight wrestlers at the Yosemite event and the top four from Shafter will go to next week's Central Section Masters at Visalia-Mount Whitney. Of those 12, nine will qualify for state, so getting to Masters means much of the work is complete.

Five local wrestlers received top seeds in their bracket, including Frontier's Vincent Gomez and Wasco's Sean Medley, who are both ranked No. 1 in the state by The California Wrestler. Gomez is the top seed in the 126-pound Yosemite bracket, and Medley is No. 1 at 220 pounds in the Sierra/Sequoia.

Other top seeds include Bakersfield's Coleman Hammond (Yosemite 152), and Wasco's Hokit brothers: Isaiah (113) and Josh (126) in the Sierra/Sequoia Divisional.

Two Generals signing

Two members of Shafter's heralded girls cross country team will sign letters of intent to run at Division I schools today. Cambria Tudor will sign with Iowa, and Nicolette Aldape with Cal State Bakersfield. The signing celebration for both athletes is at 4 p.m. in Shafter's cafeteria.

Treiberg sets Army record

Centennial graduate Nick Treiberg, a freshman at the United States Military Academy, set a plebe (Army's name for freshmen) swimming record in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 20.90 seconds.

The time gave Treiberg an individual victory at the Bucknell Invitational on Saturday in Lewisburg, Pa. He also finished second in the 200 individual medley (1:56.91) and 100 freestyle (46.50).