BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
No fewer than 25 team and individual Central Section championships will be handed out today, many with Kern County athletes in leading roles.
Up first is the Central Section cross country championships at Woodward Park in Fresno. The meet begins at 11 a.m., with boys and girls Division IV and V races up first, followed in the afternoon by boys and girls races in the top three divisions.
High school beat writer Zach Ewing's Central Section football rankings
1. Clovis (9-1, Division I)
2. Clovis North (9-1, D-I)
3. Frontier (7-3, D-I)
4. Bakersfield (9-2, D-I)
5. Garces (9-1, D-II)
6. Fresno-Central (9-2, D-I)
7. Ridgeview (8-2, D-I)
8. Liberty (7-4, D-I)
9. Fresno-Edison (8-3, D-I)
10. Wasco (10-0, D-IV)
11. Vis.-El Diamante (7-3, D-II)
12. Visalia-Mt. Whit. (8-2, D-III)
13. Fresno-Bullard (8-3, D-I)
14. Dinuba (9-1, D-III)
15. Sanger (8-2, D-II)
For complete top 25 with commentary, visit bakersfield.com/schoolhousezach
The highlight of the day could be the Division I boys race at 2 p.m. Last year, Stockdale won the first big-school boys title for Kern County since West High in 1971 behind an individual championship from sophomore Blake Haney.
This year's team has a different look, with Californian Runner of the Year Cameron Miller now at Stanford and Haney only in his third race back from an IT band injury below his right knee. Instead, the star could be Connor Fisher, who hasn't lost a local race all year and won the Southwest Yosemite League title over Haney last week.
Other storylines to follow include a battle between Ridgeview and Shafter (and individual stars Ivan Gonzalez and Angel Gil) for the Division III boys team title at 1 p.m., and East High's Sydney Roman running in the D-II girls race at 1:30. Roman's personal best at Woodward is 18:48; only two Kern County girls, Centennial's Brittany Grimes and Brianne Barber, have ever run faster than that.
The task for McFarland's powerful program becomes tougher every two years, because the section continues to move the Cougars and their enrollment of 775 up in competition. This year, their boys compete in Division II and the girls in Division III after a D-IV championship last season.
Later in the day, at 7 p.m., Liberty will host Clovis West in the Division I section volleyball championship. The top-seeded Patriots seek the first D-I title in school history.
The teams split two meetings earlier in the year, with Liberty winning a four-set match at home and Clovis West taking a best-of-three match 2-1 at a tournament in Torrey Pines.
Patel tied for 12th
Bakersfield High graduate Bhavik Patel shot a 3-under-par 69 and was tied for 12th place after the first round of the second stage of the PGA Tour School qualifying tournament at Bear Creek Golf Club in Murrieta.
Danny Lee of Irving, Texas, led with a 65. Round 2 of the four-round tournament is today.
The top 19 players (and ties) in the tournament, which features 76 players, will advance to the final stage of PGA Tour qualifying Nov. 28-Dec. 3 at the PGA West Course in Rancho Mirage.
Ferguson sets records at COS
Ridgeview graduate Tyler Ferguson set College of the Sequoias football records with 2,614 passing yards and 199 completions, including 50 to Bakersfield High graduate Kevin Elijah, who's now fourth on the school's all-time single-season receptions list.
Ferguson, a freshman, has received scholarship offers from Akron and Florida Atlantic; the Giants finished the year 4-6.
Dickens honored by Ivy
Stockdale graduate Brooke Dickens was named the Ivy League's Women's Soccer Rookie of the Week after scoring the first goal of her career, a game-winner for Harvard against Columbia with five seconds remaining.
Dickens headed a cross off Columbia goalkeeper Grace Redmon into the back of the net to give the Crimson, which finished 9-5-3, a 1-0 victory.
Girls water polo
Jordan Pavletich and Joie Garcia scored five goals apiece as No. 1 seed Garces defeated No. 4 Strathmore, 17-7 at the Salvucci Aquatic Center to advance to Saturday's Division III championship match.
Goalies Kahala Taylor and Haliee Patrick had six saves apiece for the Rams (19-8).
Garces will host No. 2 Hanford at 10 a.m. Saturday for the title.