Year in Review: Foothill teams find success in 2017-2018 sports year
First-time championships were won, title droughts ended, and records broken by teams in the 2017-2018 year of high school sports
By Patrick Dillon @PDillon_SGN
TULARE COUNTY – Strathmore once again highlighted a laundry list of achievements for foothills area teams when they emerged victorious over the Orange Panthers 31-29 to win the D-6AA state championship. Although, that was the crowning achievement teams and athletes saw success across the board. First time championships were won, title droughts by teams were ended, and records were set on the playing fields around the county.
Sept. 15 – Farmersville’s interim head coach Marco Gutierrez and the Farmersville Aztecs got their first victory of the season 24-21 over the Lindsay Cardinals. The win came two weeks after the program let go of their controversial head coach Mike Crews
Oct. 23 – Golden West’s Mya Chao carded a three over, 75, to win the Division III Valley Championships at Valley Oak Golf
Oct. 24 – The Exeter Monarchs went back-to-back as Central Sequoia League Champions defeating the Kingsburg Vikings 3-0.
Oct. 26 – The Strathmore Spartans and Woodlake Tigers tied for co-champions of the East Sequoia League in volleyball. Strathmore defeated Lindsay 3-1. Woodlake beat Granite Hills 3-0.
Oct. 27 – Golden West’s Gonzalo Rodriguez eclipsed 4,183 rushing yards breaking the Visalia High Schools’ All-Time leading rusher.
Nov. 3 – The Strathmore Spartans defended their East Sequoia League title going a perfect 10-0.
Nov. 8 – Kassi Stolz and Madelyn Sweepe signed national letters of intent to attend New Mexico State and CSU Stanislaus respectively.
Nov. 11 – The Exeter Monarchs were victorious at the Division II Valley Championship 3-2 over the Bakersfield Christian Eagles. It was their first section title in nine years.
Nov. 16 – Lindsay’s McKaylie Caesar won the Division IV Valley Championship in cross country by 34 seconds. She clocked a time of 19:07.3.
Nov. 24 – The Strathmore Spartans defeated the Rosamond Roadrunners 42-32 to repeat at D-VI Valley Championships.
Dec. 1 – The Golden West Trailblazers defeated the Central Valley Christian Cavaliers 27-21 in an overtime thriller to win the Division IV Valley Championship, the school’s first section championship in football.
Dec. 8 – The Strathmore Spartans and Golden West Trailblazers won regional championships. Golden West defeated Big Bear 41-21 to win the D-5AA southern championship. Strathmore got revenge on St. Patrick-St. Vincent by winning the D-6AA northern title. It was their second straight title of its kind.
Dec. 16 – The Strathmore Spartans won the county’s first state championship in football in the D-6AA title game 31-29 over the Orange Panthers.
Dec. 16 – Golden West came up short in their first state championship appearance 42-12 to the McClymonds Warriors.
Jan. 13 – Running back Joseph Garcia was named Small School Player of the Year by CalHiSports.com.
Jan. 25 – The Smith Gym was cleared of all spectators due to fan’s interference in the final seconds of a girls’ basketball game. The Monarchs lost to the Emperors 55-47.
Jan. 27 – Former Lindsay Cardinal girl’s basketball player Christina Castro became only the second player in UC Merced’s
history to score 1,000 points in a career.
Feb. 7 – Exeter girls’ soccer players Taylor Hornburg, Brianna Villafana, and Taelor Hire signed national letters of intent to play for University of Hawaii-Hilo, Fresno Pacific, and Fresno City College.
Feb. 7 – A 6-0 win by Lindsay over Woodlake and a 1-0 loss by Strathmore over Corcoran handed the Cardinals their sixth straight East Sequoia League title.
Feb. 21 – During a D-III girl’s basketball playoff game between Exeter and North (Bakersfield), Kenedi Baxter-Jones became the Monarchs’ all-time leading scorer with 1,429 points.
Feb. 23 – Lindsay and the Strathmore lost in valley championship games. The Cardinals lost 1-0 to the Mira Monte Lions. The Spartans lost in penalty kicks 2-1 to the Orange Cove Titans.
March 14 – Strathmore’s Jazmine Soto broke the central section’s single season record for freshmen with 712 points.
March 20 – Farmersville’s David Contreras threw a first career no-hitter in 7-0 win over Laton.
March 28 – The Exeter Monarchs won the Tulare-Visalia Invitational by defeating the Bakersfield Christian Eagles 4-1.
April 6 – Lindsay’s Marcos Ceballos and Agustin Valdovinos sign national letters of intent to compete for UC Merced in boys’ soccer next fall.
April 10 – Exeter head volleyball coach Samantha Hilvers was named Coach of the Year by the California Coaches Association.
April 12 – Farmersville’s athletic director Dan Swagerty was awarded the Central Sections Distinguished Service Award.
April 19 – Strathmore’s Madison Bower signed a national letter of intent to compete on the Cal Poly Mustangs track and field team next year.
April 27 – The Exeter Monarchs handed the Selma Bears their first loss, 6-2, against a Central Sequoia League opponent two years.
May 3 – Lindsay’s Richie Hernandez, McKaylie Caesar, and Strathmore’s Madison Bower broke records at East Sequoia League track and field championships. Hernandez broke the record in the 100-meter run with a time of 11.07 seconds. Caesar broke the 800-meter record with a time of 2:24.66. Bower became the record holder in the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 46.77 seconds.
May 9 – McKaylie Caesar and Madison Bower defend their D-II Championships in the 800-meter and 300-meter hurdles. Caesar later added a the 1600-meter run title to her list.
May 18 – Exeter’s Corinne Acosta became the Central Section all-time leading hitter by making contact for the 72nd time in a 1-0 win over Washington Union in the D-IV playoffs.
May 26 – The Lindsay Cardinals ended a 26-year title drought when they defeated the Bishop Union Broncos 7-6 in the D-VI title game at Rawhide Stadium.
May 26 – Exeter was victorious 6-0 over Coalinga in the D-IV Valley Championship at Fresno State’s Margie Wright Diamond.
May 26 – The Monarchs lost 4-0 in the D-IV Valley Championship to the Fowler Redcats.