With over than 250 sports stories published by the Enterprise Recorder in 2019, the year provided great moments for high school athletics in Selma and Kingsburg.

From the Selma girls basketball team having a historic year to the Selma football team claiming a Central Section championship, we look back at notable moments from this past year.

Selma girls basketball makes program history

FRESNO - The year was highlighted by the Selma girls basketball team winning the program’s first Central Section championship after a dominating 71-39 victory over the Fresno High Warriors in the Division III finals at the Selland Arena on Feb. 23.

Once the final buzzer rang, the home crowd cheered as the girls celebrated on the court, a moment they've been working toward all season.

“It’s such a good feeling to know that all season we worked hard and got the result we wanted,” forward Clarissa Moreno said.

In a game that was never close, all five Selma starters scored in double figures. Yesenia Sanchez (19 points, 11 rebounds) and Audrey Gonzalez (10 points, 10 rebounds) each recorded a double-double. Moreno scored 13 points, Elena Loutherback had 10 points, while Rachel Vieira was solid on both ends of the floor, scoring 15 points to go along with seven steals.

“We've worked so hard for this,” said Vieira, who was a senior at the time. “The players before that came to Valley, they paved the way for us to accomplish this goal.”

It was Selma’s first official Central Section championship, but it’s the program’s first title win since 1914, which was before official records were kept.

For head coach Paul Romig, it was his first Central Section title, but his third overall section championship. His previous two titles came in the Sac-Joaquin Section titles in 1992 and 1997. As the coach at Selma, it was Romig’s third trip to Selland Arena with the previous title appearances ending in defeat during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons.

After coming close in those back-to-back years, Romig said this title win was for everybody that has contributed to the program.

“I’m happy for this group of girls,” Romig said. “I’m proud of them, but I’m also happy for everybody that’s made this happen for the last 11 years. It’s been a progression, there’s been over 100 players that have contributed to this achievement. So I’m proud of everyone that’s had that influence.”

The Bears competed in the CIF State Division III playoffs in the Northern Regional bracket as the No. 11 seed. Selma traveled to the Bay Area where the Bears fell to No. 6 seeded Woodside Priory 65-53 in the first round. The Bears ended the 2018-19 campaign with an impressive 28-4 overall record and were co-champions of the Central Sequoia League with an 11-1 record. Selma shared the league championship with Kingsburg. It was the Bears second consecutive league title.

Kingsburg finishes on top of Division IV

KINGSBURG - In 2019, the Kingsburg girls soccer team solidified its dynasty by winning a Central Section championship for the third consecutive season.

Behind two second half goals from Marissa Montelongo, the Vikings defeated the Exeter Monarchs 2-1 in the Division IV title game on Feb. 22. It was the third straight year that the program ended as the Division IV champions and were the top seed in every season the girls made a title run.

“Honestly, this one feel like the best one,” Montelongo said. “This one we were coming in with a younger team, a newer team. None of played together, but everything finally came together within the first couple of weeks of the season. Then we just improved every time and we never stopped working.”

Kingsburg head coach Scott Hodges said the third championship was one that he “wanted really bad.”

“I think I heard someone say ‘The first one is the best,’ but to be honest they’re all fantastic,” Hodges said. “It’s a great feeling and I’m just really proud of the girls.”

Both teams held each other scoreless in the first half before Montelongo put Kingsburg on the board in the 47th minute. Montelongo dribbled past multiple defenders including Monarchs’ goalkeeper Arleny Garcia for a shot toward the left side of the net.

In the 54th minute, Montelongo seized another opportunity to score, putting the ball in the net on a penalty kick.

“We knew that we needed to stay calm,” Montelongo said the Vikings scoreless first half. “Play our game, not change anything and eventually we kept pushing and finally we got one in.”

In the 66th minute, Exeter cut Kingsburg’s lead to one goal on a shot from Lexe Cortez that went over the head of Vikings’ goalkeeper Brianna Vela.

Kingsburg’s season ended in a heartbreaking 1-0 home loss to the Miramonte Matadors in the opening round of the CIF Northern Regional Division IV playoffs on Feb. 26. It was the third consecutive first round state playoff loss for the Vikings. Kingsburg’s 2018-19 campaign ended at 22-5-1 overall including an undefeated 12-0 mark in CSL play. Before the 2019-20 season began, the Vikings were 32-0 against league opponents and won three consecutive CSL titles from 2017-19.

Vikings use eight-run inning to claim Division II title

FRESNO - With rain pouring down on Margie Wright Diamond, the Kingsburg softball team prevailed through the weather conditions to end its season on top.

A fly ball caught by Carla Duarte sealed the Vikings’ fate as Central Section Division II champions, earning a 12-8 victory over the Hanford Bullpups on May. 18. It was the program’s first Valley title since 2013 and the first for Kingsburg head coach Randy Sieger.

“It feels great right now, it really does,” Sieger said. “It’s why you do this and hopefully you get the chance to play for one and when you do and are fortunate enough to win it, it’s a great feeling.”

In a game that started with light raindrops, the rain and Kingsburg's offense picked up in the fifth inning. The Vikings broke a 4-4 tie in the frame by putting together an eight run inning to go up 12-4. Kingsburg had 13 batters during its eight-run scoring output.

“We love playing in the rain,” Vikings second baseman Marissa Montelongo said. “In any circumstances, we will play. So playing in the rain was just a normal day for us having fun and playing the game that we love.”

For Montelongo, it was her second overall section title in 2019 as an athlete with her first one coming from soccer.

Kingsburg started it’s fifth inning scoring binge with back-to-back RBI doubles from Brianna Vela and Madison Alves. Mia Estrada - the game’s winning pitcher - added to the Kingsburg’s lead with an RBI single and Duarte later knocked in a run with a single of her own.

In her second at-bat of the inning, catcher Marissa Gonzalez, the team’s home run and RBI leader, broke the game wide open with the bases loaded. With the Vikings up 8-4, Gonzalez displayed her power by hitting a double deep into right field to clear the bases. Blaire Willson, Montelongo, and Duarte all scored, in that order, on Gonzalez’s run-scoring double.

Kingsburg’s 2019 championship season ended at 24-5-1 overall including a 9-3 record against CSL opponents.

Figueroa, Lujan win CIF State titles

BAKERSFIELD - Selma High wrestlers Richard Figueroa and Tristan Lujan both stood on top of the podium at the CIF State Wrestlings Championships at the Rabobank Arena on Feb. 23.

Lujan won his first state title after earning a 2-1 decision over Buchanan’s Carlos Negrete Jr. in the 113 pound finals.

Figueroa, who entered the tournament as California’s top 106 pounder, won his second straight state championship after going on a dominant undefeated run with six falls - four technical and two pins. Throughout his 6-0 performance, Figueroa outscored his opponents 70-5.

“I just wanted to get pins and points for the team," Figueroa said. “I was just thinking about scoring and having the mindset that no one can take me down. No one can beat me.”

Figueroa claimed the 106 pound championship after an 18-3 technical fall victory over Buchanan’s Jack Gioffre in the finals.

Lujan entered the tournament as the state’s top 113 pounder and outscored his opponents 55-13 with four falls - three pins and one technical - en route to a 6-0 record.

“This is what I’ve wanted since I was a little kid,” Lujan said about his state championship win. “This was always what I looked forward to and just to finally have that dream come true, it was really nice.”

Figueroa and Lujan were the only Selma representatives in the finals and were two of the school’s five state placers. The Bears’ other state placers were Jacob Rivera (sixth place, 120 pounds), Jace Luchau (third, 152), and Christian Rodriguez (fifth, 170). Luchau and Rodriguez are currently on the Fresno State wrestling team.

As a team, Selma finished fourth overall while Buchanan won its fourth consecutive state title.

McDaniel places second at CIF State meet

CLOVIS - Selma High’s DeAndra McDaniel became the school’s first state medalist in 12 years in 2019.

McDaniel placed second in the triple jump event at the 101st annual CIF State Track & Field Championships at Buchanan High School on May 25. McDaniel earned his second place finish with a mark of 48 feet and 2 ¾ inches, which was a personal record.

“To get second and put on for my city, put on for my family, and show God’s strength, it just amazing,” McDaniel said.

In front of the crowd at Veterans Memorial Stadium, McDaniel PR’d in the event on his second attempt in the finals. He fouled in his first and third attempt in the first round. His second best mark of the night was at 47-00, which was his final high school jump.

McDaniel was Selma High’s first CIF State medalist since Rosario Sanchez placed first in the shot put event in 2007. McDaniel was the Bears’ only athlete to compete at the 2019 state meet.

Becoming the school’s first state medalist in 12 years was an “amazing” feeling for McDaniel.

“Selma is such a small town and to put their name on a map is so amazing,” McDaniel said. “To put it on for track, it just feels great man ...It's crazy.”

McDaniel will enter his freshman season with the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears track team in 2020. He will compete in the jump events in college.

Jimenez places fourth at CIF State meet

CLOVIS - In 2019, Kingsburg High had a state placer in track for the first time in three years.

Kalobe Jimenez placed fourth in the 110 meter high hurdles at the 101st annual CIF State Track & Field Championships on May 25. He brought home the program’s first state medal since 2016.

“Me and my coaches have been going since August,” Jimenez said. “Just to see all the hard work pay off, it means a lot.”

Jimenez’s finished fourth with at a time of 14.03 seconds, which was a personal record. The top three finishers in the event were among the fastest guys in the nation heading into the meet. Jimenez qualified for the finals after having the seventh best time in the preliminaries during the first day of competition.

During the qualifying races, Jimenez placed third in the second heat of the event at 14.17 seconds. That time was his previous best mark in the event until he PR’d in the finals.

It was Jimenez’s first time competing at the meet and he was Kingsburg’s only athlete to participate at the state event in 2019.

The program’s previous state placers were twin brothers Emmett and Seth Brooks. Emmett Brooks placed second in the long jump and Seth Brooks was fourth in the triple jump in 2016.

Jimenez will enter his freshman season with the UC San Diego track team in 2020. He will compete in the hurdles as a collegiate athlete.

Vikings sweep Golden Bears for program’s first Valley title

VISALIA - After coming up short in the semifinals during the past two years, the Kingsburg volleyball team finally had its chance of a championship moment in 2019.

A kill from Cambria Brandon cemented the program’s first Valley championship and a sweep over the Sierra Pacific Golden Bears in the CIF Central Section Division IV title match at the College of the Sequoias on Nov. 9.

“It feels good and it’s even sweeter that were the first ever for Kingsburg High School,” middle blocker Olivia Doyle said. “We’re just so happy.”

As the No. 2 seed, the Vikings defeated the top-seeded Golden Bears 25-17, 25-8, 25-17. The Vikings swept every opponent they’ve faced in the Division IV playoffs and they only allowed 20 points in a set once all postseason.

“We’ve been working for this for four years,” outside hitter Jennah Torres said. “The fact that we made it our senior year is amazing.”

It was the first section championship for head coach Brittany Henderson after her Clovis North team finished as the Division I runner-up in 2014. The girls embracing their roles along with their work ethic were pivotal for the team’s Valley title run, Henderson said.

“As a coach, it’s like watching my kid out there,” Henderson said. “I’m just excited for them and for Kingsburg, the community. It’s the first ever for girls volleyball and we get a banner in the gym.”

The Vikings championship season ended with a four-set state playoff loss to Gunn High School in Palo Alto on Nov. 12. Kingsburg fell 25-20, 24-26, 16-25, 31-33 in the opening round of the CIF State NorCal Division IV playoffs.

Kingsburg’s 2019 campaign ended with a 21-20 overall record and a 7-5 mark in the CSL.

Kingsburg swimming wins Division II championship

CLOVIS - The Kingsburg boys swim team added another championship banner to the Crandell Swim Complex after winning its seventh straight Central Section Division II championship at Clovis West on May 4.

The boys finished as the top team in Division II and placed fourth overall behind Division I programs Clovis North (first place), Buchanan (second), and Clovis West (third).

At the divisional meet, Ward qualified for the CIF State meet after breaking his own record in the 100-yard breastroke with a time of 57.01 seconds. His time was the second best overall in the event. The top two finishers in each event automatically qualified for the state meet.

Ward also competed in the 200-yard freestyle relay event with Jackson Huckaby, Jonas Huckaby, and Jacob Wilson. At the divisional meet, the relay team broke a new Division II and school record with a time of one minute, 26 seconds, and 90 hundredths of a second (1:26.90) in the prelims. Ward, Wilson, Jackson Huckaby, and Jonas Huckaby finished fourth overall, but had the best time in Division II.

The previous Division II record was held by El Diamante, which was set in 2018. The Vikings previous best time in program history was set in 1996.

Selma, Kingsburg represented at CIF State meet

CLOVIS - For the first time in the history of both programs, Selma and Kingsburg had competitors at the CIF State Swimming & Diving Championships at the Olympic Swim Complex at Clovis West High School on May 11-12.

The two day event started with the girls diving finals, which featured Selma’s Taylor Serna, who was the first state qualifier from Selma to compete in the five-year-old meet.

Unfortunately, Serna’s day was cut short after not making the top 20 in the event. Serna finished 24th overall with of 162.30 points, ending her season after five rounds.

Kingsburg was represented by Jackson Huckaby, Wyatt Ward, Jacob Wilson, and Jonas Huckaby. Ward competed in the 100-yard breastroke event and 200 freestyle relay. Ward was on the relay team with Jackson Huckaby, Wilson, and Jonas Huckaby.

As an individual, Ward finished 11th overall after recording a time of 56.83 seconds. Ward placed third in the consolation heat. In the preliminaries, Ward was 16th overall with a time of 56.78. seconds. Both times were faster than his seed time in the Central Section meet a week prior. Ward had a time of 57.01 seconds against Valley competition.

Ward was the first Kingsburg swimmer to compete at the state meet as an individual, but he is the school’s second qualifier. Emily Goodbar qualified in 2015, but she didn’t compete due to injury.

The 200-yard freestyle relay team are the first group of swimmers in program history to compete in the event at the state meet. No other relay team from Kingsburg, girls or boys, had qualified for the state meet before 2019.

The four swimmers finished with a time of one minute, 26 seconds, and 39 hundredths of a second (1:26.39) in the preliminaries. That time broke the program’s previous record of 1:26.90, which was set by the same four swimmers a week prior. The guys’ previous mark broke a school record that was set in 1996.

Kingsburg girls golf wins CSL championship

KINGSBURG - The Kingsburg girls golf program claimed the 2019 Central Sequoia League championship after a first place finish at the league finals at the Lemoore Golf Course on Oct. 22.

The Vikings scored 252 stableford points to secure the title and had a 20-point margin of victory over second place finisher Central Valley Chrisitian (232). It’s the team’s first league championship since 2016.

Kingsburg coach Bill Jensen said the league title was a team effort and his squad’s depth and consistency were two factors that led to a CSL-winning season.

“Our fifth and sixth players deliver a lot more points than the other teams,” Jensen said. “That’s what made the big difference all year long.”

In seven CSL tournaments in 2019, Kingsburg came out on top in five of them. In the two times they didn’t finish in first, the Vikings placed second to CVC.

At the CSL finals, Kingsburg No. 1 golfer Morgan Oehlschlaeger led the way with a finish of 59 points, followed by a score of 50 from Lauren Diener and 49 from Rien Torres. Diener and Torres competed in the No. 2 group at the tournament. Vikings No. 3 golfer Jillian Sasaki scored 44 points while Emma Harris finished with 50, and Jordyn Maxfield had a score of 44. Harris and Maxfield competed in the No. 4 group.

Oehlschlaeger, a junior, finished second in the individual rankings with a net total of 240 points. She placed second behind Immanuel’s Karis Haltom, who finished with 301 points. Heading into the finals, Oehlschlaeger was in third in the individual standings.

The Vikings also qualified for the Central Section Division II tournament after recording a stroke score of 483. The qualifying score to move on was 525.

At the Division II championship, the Vikings finished 13 strokes behind runner-up Central (474) and 19 behind champion San Joaquin Memorial (468).

Kingsburg was the only team in the division to have four girls finish with a stroke score below 100. Top golfer Morgan Oehlschlaeger recorded a team-high score of 89, followed by a 99 from Lauren Diener and a 98 from Jillian Sasaki and Rien Torres.

Bears capture Central Section D-IV title in road warrior season

EASTON - The final notable moment of the year was the Selma High football team dethroning the Washington Union Panthers for the Central Section Division IV Championship at John Ventura Stadium on Nov. 29.

The Bears, the division’s No. 2 seed, defeated the top-ranked Panthers 35-21 for the program’s first section title since 2016. It was revenge from a 42-32 loss to Washington Union at the same venue on Sept. 13.

“They’re my group of brothers,” senior linebacker Adam Rodriguez said about victory. “I love winning championships with them.”

The orange and black were led by a Wing T rushing attack that gained 265 yards and rushed for all five of the team’s touchdowns. Selma never trailed in the game and its efficient running attack kept an explosive Washington Union offense off the field.

Aaron Olivares led the Bears with 129 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 22 carries, followed by Zach Zarate carrying the ball 20 times for 89 yards and a score, while Aaron Moreno ran for 49 yards and reached the end zone twice on 10 carries.

With the Panthers unable to stop the Bears on the ground, quarterback Joey Ramirez only threw the ball three times. Ramirez completed 2-of-3 passes for 76 yards. Moreno caught a pass for 44 yards while Aaron Blancas had a 32-yard reception.

“It feels great, I can’t explain it,” Ramirez said while donning a Central Section championship hat. “I’ve always talked about it with my team and it wouldn’t be fun without this group of guys.”

The 2019 season was special in many ways for the Bears, who didn’t officially host a game this year due to the ongoing reconstruction of Staley Stadium. Selma’s Valley title run featured all 13 of its games on the road. The Bears would play at the opposing team’s venue or would play their opponents at Sal Gonzalez Field in Reedley or Tom Flores Stadium in Sanger. Both venues served as neutral sites.

Selma was also one year removed from a 4-6 season that caused the Bears to be held out of the playoffs in 2018. That year was the first time the program didn’t compete in the postseason under head coach Matt Logue.

“In the offseason, these guys just killed in the weight room and with not having a stadium the whole year, being on the road the whole season, it just shows you what type of kids they are,” Logue said. “It means everything to me because all that stuff right there to me makes it extra special.”

A week later, the Bears finished their road warrior season with a 42-29 loss to the Highland Bulldogs-Palmdale in the CIF Southern California Division 4-AA Regional Championship. The Bulldogs outscored the Bears 22-0 in the second half after Selma led 29-20 at halftime.

Selma’s championship season concluded at 11-3, the program’s most wins in a season since 2016. The Bears also finished second in the CSL at 4-1.

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The reporter can be reached at 559-583-2413 or jmartinez@hanfordsentinel.com

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