Nathan Esparza of Amador Valley High finished out a sensational season by placing in the top five in both the shot put and the discus at the CIF State Track and Field Championships at Buchanan High in Clovis last Friday and Saturday.
In the shot put, Esparza finished second with a mark 69-feet, 4.75 inches. Bronson Osborn of Esperanza took first with a best mark of 69-10.75. In the discus, Esparza was fifth with Osborn again taking the title. Esparza had a best mark of 186-4, while Osborn finished with a winning mark of 200-10. Esparza qualified for the finals with the second best mark at 191-5.
Brookey Villanueva of Amador, also competed at state, running in the 300 hurdles. Villanueva ran a solid time of 45.30, good enough to finish fifth in her heat, but she missed out on advancing to the finals.
Also last Friday, Foothill climbed almost as far as it could on the mountain that is the North Coast Section softball tournament but fell just short of reaching the top, falling 1-0 in extra innings in the finals to Freedom.
Megan Shackley and Regan Lacy each had a hit in the game for Foothill, but the Falcons were unable to push a run across. The Falcons advanced to the finals with a 2-0 win over Heritage earlier in the week.
Hope Alley had a pair of hits and drove in a run for Foothill, with Lacy adding a pair of hits as well. Nalani Scates went the distance in the circle, getting the shutout and striking out eight batters along the way.
Through 16 years as the sports editor at the now defunct Tri-Valley Herald, when it came to behavior of the parents, there was nothing that caught me by surprise. After being away from the business for seven-plus years, I thought some things might have changed. Silly boy.
For those who do not know, NCS charges admission to most of its championships events, as those contests are one of only two ways the organization makes money. The other is membership dues paid by the schools.
Through gate admissions, NCS is able to run its tournaments and cover the vast majority of operational expenses. Let me be the first to say I don't like the idea sports that are free to watch throughout the regular season are suddenly $10 for adults once the playoffs roll around.
For sports like football and basketball, there is an understanding that if you want to go to the game, then you have to pay. But other sports, such as softball, baseball, lacrosse and soccer are free throughout the season. I don't like that the fans get dinged for the $10, but since it is there, we should respect it.
Here's the rub. There are vast amounts of parents that try everything they can do not to pay.
By everything, I mean from fantastic stories at the gate, to their covert efforts sneaking through holes in fences. Some are so brazen, they just walk by the gate and keep on walking, daring the school staff members working the event to track them down.
The end result: It's the schools and the players who get hurt the most. If enough funds are not raised to pay the operating costs, then the schools have to shell out the money on the day of the game. The schools are already hurting for cash and any further hits could mean more money to play the sport the next year for the kids.
In addition, what a horrible role model to the kids. In the fall when prep sports fire up again, make the effort to a positive influence on the kids and the community and follow the rules. Everyone will win.