BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
There they sat, at either end of a long row of Stockdale athletes celebrating their athletic scholarships to play college sports, two of the most decorated Kern County high school athletes in this generation.
On the left was Blake Haney, a two-time state champion in track and field's distance events, plus the Gatorade State Cross Country Runner of the Year. He's the second Californian to double in the 1,600 meters and 3,200 meters at the state track and field meet as a junior, and he could become just the sixth United States high schooler ever to run a four-minute mile.
On the other side was swimmer Brock Bonetti, the school record-holder and an All-American in the 100 backstroke as a junior, and a favorite to break the section record in the backstroke as well.
As Haney celebrated his February signing with Oregon and Bonetti his November signing with Texas A&M, they remembered how they got so far -- starting back when they were on the same youth soccer and baseball teams.
"He lives on one side of the park, and I'm on the other side, so we grew up together all the time," Haney said. "We've been going to school for 12 years and going through these experiences together, seeing how well he's doing in swimming and me in track. It's pretty cool looking back. We used to be so little hanging out."
They weren't the only two Stockdale seniors moving on, nor the only two who have known one another for a long time.
Mustangs soccer players Tala Haddad (Cal State Fullerton) and Sabrina Miller (San Jose State) are both moving on to the Division I soccer ranks.
"One of my best friends signing with me was really cool," Haddad said. "It was really cool to see everyone as a class from Stockdale fulfilling their dreams."
Three of Haney's track and field teammates also were present: Asia Chesley, a high jumper headed to Cal, much to the mock chagrin of her father, Martin Chesley, who played football for USC; Tristan Watson, a hurdler going to Cal State Bakersfield; and Michelle Meyerholtz, who will run distance for Eastern Illinois.
"It's nice to see different areas from the track coming together," Chesley said. "It was a nice experience."
Lauren Paulson signed to play water polo with CSUB, even though Stockdale doesn't have a water polo team. She was recruited through her club team, which happens to be coached by CSUB coach Jason Gall.
"I couldn't imagine playing for another coach," Paulson said. "... It's special to me to be recognized for a sport that's not school-related."
Haney and Bonetti flanked two other college-bound athletes: Matt Ramos, who will swim for the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Wash., and Toria Siemens, who will play volleyball for Arizona Christian University in Phoenix.
Top tennis seeds to freshmen
Two freshmen from the Southeast Yosemite League are the top two singles seeds in the Central Section Individual Boys Tennis Championships, set for Friday and Saturday at Sierra Pacific High School in Hanford.
East's Kaleb Johnson, the younger brother of two-time section singles finalist D.J. Johnson, is the No. 1 seed. Garces' Dylan Simonson is seeded second.
Johnson and Simonson didn't meet in the SEYL tournament because Simonson, playing with a broken hand, defaulted once he reached the semifinals to ensure advancement. He advanced through the South Area meet with the same injury.
Liberty's Anthony Busacca is the No. 6 seed, and Stockdale's John Matthew Flores is No. 8. The Bakersfield Christian duo of Christopher Wallace and Jack Han both received wild-card entries into the tournament and are seeded 10th and 11th, respectively.
In doubles, Nicholas Jaramishian and Lincoln Hoppe of Fresno-Bullard are the No. 1 seed. Three Stockdale teams made the draw: No. 4 Stockdale's Andrew Schwartz-Nizam Khan, No. 6 Daniel Van Matre-Patrick Nassar and No. 10 Andre Paradise-Edward Ramirez. Liberty's David Rodriguez-Drew Raney are No. 7, Bakersfield's Tristen Lerma-Andrew Berdon are No. 12 and Garces' Christian Curutchague-Kyle Heffermann are No. 15.