The busiest week of the spring sports playoff calendar is here.
With baseball and softball playoffs beginning this week there are also South Area tournaments in boys golf and track and field along with the CIF State Swimming and Diving Championships Friday and Saturday in Fresno, here’s what you need to know.
While four local swimmers are in competition at the state championships at the Clovis Olympic Swim Complex in Fresno, two Garces girls divers hit the water seeking a state medal.
Rams senior Sophie Bouldoukian won the Central Section diving championship last week with a score of 399.25. Bouldoukian is seeded 23rd as action begins at 8:30 a.m. on Friday. Fellow Garces senior Kim Miekle is seeded 25th.
Centennial senior Alex Castro is the 17th seed in the boys 50 free with an automatic qualifying time of 20.99. The top-16 out of the preliminary heats on Friday advance to Saturday’s finals.
Bakersfield Christian senior Nathan Roodzant is the 35th seed in the boys 200-yard individual medley with a qualifying time of 1:53.89.
Independence’s Paige Taber is just the second freshman from Kern County to advance to state in the five-year history of the event and is the 28th seed in the girls 100 free with a qualifying time of 51.58, and Liberty junior Slaytynn Simpson is the 37th seed in the girls 100 butterfly with a qualifying time of 56.94.
The swimming prelims begin at 2:30 p.m. on Friday with the championships on Saturday also beginning at 2:30 p.m.
Area track intriguing
While there are a handful of county athletes that have legitimate state medal aspirations, but for Wednesday’s South Area Track and Field Championships at Bakersfield High, getting one of the coveted top-three automatic spots into the Central Section championship will go down to the wire in many events beginning at 3:30 p.m.
In the boys 100-meters, there are five locals that have run sub-11 seconds with another four all within .05 of a second of the mark, led by Liberty junior Ramon Henderson.
In the girls 100, Bakersfield High freshman Mia Bolton leads a tough field with four locals with times under 12.40, including her teammate Brieon Randle and East seniors Syrena Hamilton and Neshara Smith.
With UCLA-bound Stockdale senior Marcus Mota in the field in the boys 3,200, there are four locals in the top-10 in the section in the race including, Ridgeview’s Alex Cuevas and Ased Adus, and Liberty’s Ethan Jones.
While Liberty senior Alexa Schacher (11 feet, 6 inches) and Stockdale’s Kassidy Neptune (11-0) leading the pack in the girls pole vault, the race for third is between three locals in Independence’s Aubrey Olsen, Taft’s Macayla Wells and Frontier’s Seaanna Lippincott for third.
Softball, baseball playoffs begin
There are nine locals hosting Central Section softball opening-round playoff games beginning at 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday and another 11 baseball programs hosting on Wednesday in the opening round.
Liberty is at home as the 8-seed in softball hosting No. 9 Paso Robles. Senior Talia Nielsen (14-6 1.06 ERA) has been the ace for the Liberty, which got a boost from freshman Presley Hosick, who threw a five-inning perfect game in a 12-0 win over BHS in the regular season finale.
No. 9 Bakersfield Christian is at No. 8 Wasco in the D-IV baseball opener on Wednesday. Despite winning the South Sequoia League title, the Tigers are five spots behind Taft (2nd in SSL) in the D-IV bracket while BCHS is coming off a perfect game performance from Milo Villalobos in the regular-season finale over Golden Valley. The junior struck out 15 in seven innings of work.
South Area boys title up for grabs
In the six Southwest Yosemite League boys golf tournaments, Liberty senior Dakota Ochoa, Garces senior Maverick Pavletich and Stockdale freshman David Chhuo Chan were within 14 strokes of each other.
With Ochoa leading the way with a round average of 71.7, the three lead the field at the South Area Championships beginning at 11 a.m. on Tuesday at Sundale Country Club.
Pavletich led Garces to the league championship with a 72.8 average and Chhuo Chan averaged 74.0 during the league meets.
Liberty, Garces and Stockdale are the only teams in the field vying for the area team title. All three will advance to the section championships on May 13 at River Island Country Club in Porterville.
Wherry steps down
After 15 years as the original and only boys wrestling coach at Golden Valley, Aaron Wherry has stepped down to spend more time with his family.
Wherry stated in a letter to Golden Valley’s principal that he feels confident that the program is good hands moving forward, which includes returning standouts from the Central Section championship girls program that has become one of the top girls teams in the state.
“I have watched a lot of other coaches throughout our district resign at the end of the great cycle of athletes,” Wherry wrote in the press release. “I refuse to do that and my successor will have an excellent team next year.”