Last week's action gave a variety of Kern County teams a chance to make great initial impressions with the winter sports season finally underway.
And while a few stumbled out of the gate, all provided at least some cause for optimism. It's hard to judge results against nonconference opposition, but all five debutants from last week — men's and women's basketball teams from Bakersfield College and Cal State Bakersfield, plus CSUB wrestling — demonstrated sizable influxes of new talent entering the long season ahead.
Cross-country: It's almost state championship time for fall sports, and BC will be sending all 14 of its competitors across the men's and women's teams to Woodward Park on Nov. 19. Jacob Yagers and Rain Gomez led the Renegades at the SoCal Championships last Friday.
Football: The National Northern League now sits in a six-way tie with all of its teams at 2-2 in conference after BC fell to East Los Angeles 27-10 on Saturday. The Huskies held the Renegades to 204 yards of offense, dealing them their second straight loss. But a division title is still somehow in play entering Saturday's contest against Allan Hancock, if BC gets a win and a lot of help.
Men's basketball: A promising effort, particularly on defense, fell by the wayside Saturday for the Renegades as they lost 57-55 to Santa Barbara. They allowed a series of lengthy runs in the second half and missed potential go-ahead free throws in the dying seconds, falling to 0-1 entering a road tilt with Oxnard Wednesday night.
Men's soccer: BC has quietly put together an eight-match unbeaten streak to reach 4-0-3 in conference and narrowly trail Antelope Valley — its opponent at home Friday — for the top spot. The Renegades got there by beating Citrus 3-1 behind an Angel Sandoval brace and then drawing Glendale on the road.
Volleyball: The Renegades continued to put their demoralizing Oct. 26 sweep loss to Canyons in the rear-view mirror by picking up two more wins last week, 3-2 on the road at Antelope Valley and 3-1 at home against Citrus on sophomore night. Alexandra Johnson continued her exceptional freshman season for BC with 28 combined kills between the two matches, and outside hitter Tori Robertson posted the two most prolific offensive performances of her career, including a 12-kill showing against the Marauders. BC (12-8) has one more regular-season contest at West LA Friday before a prospective conference crossover matchup next Tuesday.
Women's basketball: BC is expected to look dramatically different this year, with a deficiency of post players as compared to the 2021-22 season and an intense press defense. The Renegades forced 28 and 29 turnovers in their first two games, claiming a 51-40 season-opening victory over Reedley Thursday, but falling 69-50 to the preseason No. 9 Pasadena City squad just two days later. Next up is a break and then a short trip to Taft Tuesday.
Women's golf: The state championships in Morro Bay on Sunday await the Renegades, who advanced out of rain-soaked regional play in Chino Hills this past Monday.
Women's soccer: Glendale didn't pose much of a threat as BC picked up a decisive 3-0 win, but then the Renegades slipped in the rain against LA Valley Tuesday for their first home loss in a month. Angie Diaz gave the Monarchs a late winner to drop BC to 10-5-5, 5-5-3 in conference, with its regular-season finale against West LA coming this Friday.
Miscellaneous and looking ahead: Wrestling will take on conference opposition Friday at BC.
Cal State Bakersfield
Men's basketball: Making their return to the court, the Roadrunners dispatched Antelope Valley in an uneven 80-62 exhibition, then looked much improved in Monday night's opener against San Diego Christian. Senior leader Cameron Smith and newcomer Marvin McGhee III tallied 11 points each and CSUB secured sizable rebounding and turnover advantages in a 68-35 victory. The level of play ratchets up significantly as the Roadrunners visit Utah Friday afternoon.
Swimming and diving: Both the men's and women's teams took home victories by at least 50 points at Pacific, with Vili Sivec and Mikayla Popham leading the way. CSUB is now 2-0 in duals on the year.
Volleyball: After a disheartening sweep loss against UC Santa Barbara Friday, the Roadrunners got back in the win column by taking down CSUN 3-1 the next day. With Lizzie Binder out, Ava Palm and Naomi Chankoumi posted career highs of 20 and 10 kills, respectively. The victory boosted CSUB to 6-20 on the year with six games remaining, beginning Thursday in Riverside.
Women's basketball: No one knew how CSUB would look this season, but after a 96-57 exhibition win over Biola Saturday and 86-41 season-opening loss at USC Tuesday, it's fair to say Hennie van Schaik will take the lead on offense. She led the Roadrunners in scoring on both nights, with 25 points in 27 minutes against Biola and as the only double-figures scorer against the Trojans. CSUB will receive no relief following the defeat at USC, with tough road games against Fresno State and UNLV coming up next.
Wrestling: The Menlo Open meant a strong start to the season for the Roadrunners at 141 in particular, where Tyler Deen and Jose Landin both reached the championship and Landin claimed a 6-5 win as CSUB's lone champion on the day. Next up is the Roadrunner Open at the Icardo Center on Nov. 20.
Miscellaneous and looking ahead: Fresh off a series of intrasquad scrimmages, the CSUB baseball team is kicking its fall schedule into gear with a Saturday 1 p.m. doubleheader at home against USC ... Dan Sperl was officially named CSUB's new softball coach Saturday ... Volleyball announced the signing of 2023 recruits Grace Moss, a libero, Nene Hawkins, a setter, and Sydney Dunning, an outside hitter.