BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer email@example.com
Three local boys and girls soccer teams will test themselves against the top division in this year's Garces Holiday Soccer Festival.
Centennial, Golden Valley and Liberty boys teams and Centennial, Liberty and Stockdale girls teams are members of the Elite-8 Division for the annual soccer shindig, which takes place Dec. 14-15 at sites around Kern County.
High school beat writer Zach Ewing's Central Section football rankings
1. Clovis North (10-1, Division I)
2. Clovis (9-2, D-I)
3. Garces (10-1, D-II)
4. Fresno-Central (10-2, D-I)
5. Fresno-Edison (9-3, D-I)
6. Frontier (7-4, D-I)
7. Liberty (7-4, D-I)
8. Ridgeview (9-2, D-III)
9. Bakersfield (9-3, D-I)
10. Wasco (11-0, D-IV)
11. Dinuba (10-1, D-III)
12. Sanger (9-2, D-II)
13. Fresno-Bullard (8-4, D-I)
14. Tulare-Mission Oak (9-2, D-IV)
15. Stockdale (5-6, D-I)
For complete top 25 with commentary, visit bakersfield.com/schoolhousezach
Joining them will be the defending boys and girls Central Section champions from Clovis-Buchanan, plus a number of Southern California powers like the South Gate-South East and Santa Maria-Pioneer Valley boys and the West Hills-Chaminade girls.
More division notes of interest: The boys team at Stockdale and both teams at Bakersfield, which typically play in the Elite-8, have dropped down to Premier A, the second-highest division.
Joining BHS and Stockdale in the Boys Premier A are Frontier, Wasco and West. McFarland, which made a run to the CIF Division III Southern California regional championship game last year, is in the Gold A (fourth highest) Division.
Locals joining BHS in the girls Premier A are Frontier, Garces and two-time defending Division III section champion Highland.
Martin commits to Sycamores
Former Golden Valley quarterback Darrik Martin, who graduated in 2011, committed this week to play for Indiana State after spending two seasons at a Pennsylvania prep school.
Martin, who was a second-team All-Area player as a Golden Valley senior in 2010, will have four years of eligibility with the Sycamores, a Football Championship Subdivision team.
Indiana State finished this season 7-4, defeating the No. 1-ranked FCS team, North Dakota State, along the way.
Two baseball players sign D-I
Former Kern County baseball pitchers Justin Kelly (Stockdale) and Brad Lindsley (Frontier), both now at Bakersfield College, signed to play at the Division I level in 2014.
Kelly, a left-hander, will play for Virginia Tech of the Atlantic Coast Conference, and Lindsley, a right-hander, for Texas-Pan American of the Great West Conference.
Frontier's Nickeson signs
Frontier softball standout Karissa Nickeson signed a letter of intent last week to play for Division II Colorado Mesa University starting in the 2014 season.
Nickeson, a catcher and first baseman, hit .333 for the Titans as a junior. She also is involved in a unique community service project, raising guide dogs for the blind.
Her first dog, Voyager, is now based in Arlington, Texas, and Nickeson is currently training Paprika, who accompanies her on all softball and recruiting trips.
Cal Hi Sports football rankings
With the section playoffs down to four teams per bracket, Wasco remains Kern County's best chance at breaking into the CIF's state bowl system.
The Tigers are still ranked No. 4 in Southern California's Division III, according to Cal Hi Sports. Wasco, which plays host to Chowchilla this weekend, must win the Division IV section title to be eligible for a regional bowl game. The CIF's selection committee will select two SoCal teams in each division Dec. 1 to play a regional game on Dec. 6 at a neutral site.
Garces maintains its No. 13 Southern Cal ranking in Division II, and Bakersfield Christian has moved to No. 10 in Division IV.
Centennial seeking coaches
Centennial is looking for a varsity softball coach and varsity boys tennis coach. Those interested should contact athletic director Becky Porter at (661) 588-8601.