Depending on when you are taking the time to read this, the crazy mad-dash finish to the athletic calendar of the 2018-19 school year for high school sports could be even wonkier than football players practicing in July for those in Kern County.
The first year of the new calendar that moved most of the postseason’s up a week, ends Memorial Day weekend with the CIF State Track and Field Championships in Clovis.
That will put a bookend to a pretty exciting year for locals as Ridgeview boys won the state title in Division III cross country, a first for the city of Bakersfield.
Then in March, Foothill went up to Sacramento and brought home the first boys basketball title, in D-V, to Bakersfield in 25 years.
There is a lot of good, some bad and possibly some really ugly coming in the next two weeks, let’s get right into it.
Liberty senior Daniel Viveros dazzled the track and field community on Wednesday with what could be considered the top shot put performance ever seen in Kern County.
Foothill’s Dayshan Ragan’s performance in the 2008 CIF State Championships is the best boys discus-shot put combination in Kern County history with a total of 265 feet, four inches in the discus and 62-10 in the shot, winning both state championships.
But that was on the big stage out of town, which is waiting for Viveros in two weeks.
Viveros’s shot put on Wednesday at Griffith Field in the South Area Championships of 71-3 is the nation’s best throw this season and the third-best in California history.
Viveros also won the discus title at 192-10. That combination of 264-1 will go down as the greatest ever accomplished at a meet ever in Kern County.
That’s saying a lot with the amount of state champions the county has produced in the two events.
And now Viveros will gear up for the Central Section Championships on May 18 in Clovis before attempting to become the fourth two-time state champion in the boys shot put in county history a week later on May 26.
Viveros isn’t alone in what could be huge finish for the Liberty track and field team.
Junior Ramon Henderson’s time of 10.59 in the boys 100 on Wednesday broke Marques Hollwell’s 24-year old South Area record. That happened to be the year Hollwell won the state title for West in 1995.
Henderson now has the No. 4 wind-legal time in the state in the 100.
After Tulare Union’s Kazmier Allen won the state title last season in the 100, Henderson could give the section consecutive sprint titles for the first time since Madera’s Ron McCree won gold in 1985-86.
On the girls side, the Liberty girls have a great shot as a team to bring home hardware at the section and state finals with strength in numbers.
Sophomore Faith Bender as the No. 2 seed in the girls discus in the section and state behind Fowler senior Jocelynn Budwig and is fourth in the shot put.
Fellow sophomore Reese Renz is tops in the section in the girls 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles and third in the long jump.
Another sophomore Rebecca Vanderpoel is No. 2 in the section in the 400 with Bakersfield High’s Kynnedi McCall out of postseason action with a hamstring injury. Renz and Vanderpoel are also part of the 1,600 relay team for Liberty. Add in senior pole vaulter Alexa Schacher, the Patriots have a chance to finish in the top-two at the section finals and a possible top-three finish at state.
Let’s get back into that whole, “it could be even crazier” part of all of this.
The Central Section is in a waiting pattern on exactly where the softball finals will be played next weekend.
The plan all along was to have the two-day finals at Fresno State on May 17-18, and that may very well be the case.
But the Bulldogs softball team is awaiting the announcement on whether Fresno State would host a second-tier NCAA postseason tournament.
If that’s the case, the finals would be switched to the home site of the highest seed at 4:30 p.m. on Friday.
It’s a bummer for players to have a chance to play on a fantastic collegiate field like Margie Wright Diamond.
But if plans change, and the announcement is expected to be made some time Sunday evening, it could be a big day for Kern County on Friday.
If the seeds hold, there could be three softball section championships held locally.
Stockdale is at home on Tuesday in the D-I semifinals against No. 7 Atascadero after the Greyhounds beat No. 2 Clovis North in the quarterfinals and No. 1 Clovis-Buchanan lost to No. 9 Paso Robles.
In D-V, No. 2 Shafter is at home in the semifinals against No. 3 Kern Valley. Those are the two highest seeds after No. 8 Orange Cove beat No. 1 Highland while No. 1 South hosts No. 5 Foothill in the D-VI semifinals.
In that case, instead of local fans posting up at Fresno State over the two days to watch the locals try and take home gold, the choice might need to be made on where their allegiance lies.
I use this term is the nicest way because the shakeup in the baseball playoffs has been quite good to locals.
The Central Section baseball playoff selection committee got a bit of heat last Saturday for some of the divisions, and the way the first two rounds have played out, it’s proving why.
Look at Frontier in D-I. Thanks to a dazzling one-hitter by junior Kris Anglin, the eighth-seed is in the semifinals at No. 4 Santa Maria-Righetti on Wednesday after beating top-seeded and state-ranked No. 8 Clovis-Buchanan Friday night.
Highland was widely expected to the top-seed in D-III with a 24-2 regular season record and suffering the lone losses to Liberty in tournament play.
The Scots ended up as No. 3 and are the lone non-double digit seed in the semifinals, including Wednesday’s semifinal opponent in No. 10 Nipomo.
The highest seed in the D-IV semifinals is No. 5 Porterville-Monache, the opponent for No. 9 Bakersfield Christian this week.
Then check out Foothill’s baseball and softball teams.
The baseball team for the Trojans (12-15) was 18-137-1 in the previous seven seasons, including just one win in 2018, but the Trojans are the seven-seed in D-VI and are at No. 3 Strathmore in the semifinals.
The softball team (14-10) is in the midst of the best season in more than 20 years and are the fifth-seed in D-VI and play at Southeast Yosemite League rival South, the one-seed, in the semifinals.
Both coaches at Foothill, Chris Wedel and Brooke Charles, were mainstays in the gym during Foothill’s boys basketball state title run this year. They may have learned a thing or two about making those that may have been bad or ugly look really good now.