The 2018-19 high school sports season has come and gone.
The year began on July 23, 2018, as the Bret Harte High School football team held a midnight practice at Dorroh Field in Angels Camp. The year came to an end on May 25, 2019, with the Calaveras High School softball team falling in the section championship game.
In 10 months of sporting events, there were plenty of moments, individual performances and memories that were created. Here are some of those moments from that time.
Bret Harte girls’ golf
From the very beginning of the Bret Harte High School girls’ golf program, Rich Cathcart has been the one constant. Under Cathcart, the Bullfrogs won 10 league championships and two CIF Sac-Joaquin Section titles. In the fall of 2018, Cathcart stepped down as the girls’ golf head coach.
Even though the Bullfrogs no longer had Cathcart as coach, Bret Harte continued with its winning ways. Under new coach Diane Winsby, the Bullfrogs went a perfect 16-0 in league play. At the Foothill Valley League North end of the season tournament, Bret Harte finished second to Ripon, which gave the Bullfrogs a co-championship.
At the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division V tournament, Bret Harte placed third, behind Bear River and Colfax. Senior Jessie Thompson was named the league’s Most Valuable Player.
Bret Harte girls’ water polo
The Bret Harte High School water polo team and new head coach Corissa Spathias entered uncharted waters in 2018. At the end of the season, the Bullfrogs were rewarded with the No. 7 seed in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division III water polo playoffs.
The Bullfrogs lost 17-3 in the first-round to No. 2 Kimball, who ended up losing to Sonora in the section title game. Bret Harte senior Mini Avila was named the league’s Most Outstanding Player. Kinlye Apley and Delaney Clemens were placed on the first team, while Danea Palmer and Taylor Fassbender made the second team.
The more things change, the more they stay the same. For the first time in over 30 years, the Calaveras High School wrestling team wasn’t being coached by Vince Bicocca or Mark Bowe. Bicocca retired in the fall of 2018 and longtime assistant and former Calaveras grappler Ryan Upchurch took over the program.
There may have been a new coach, but that didn’t slow down the machine that is the Calaveras wrestling program. Calaveras won the Mother Lode League dual championship with a 51-21 road victory over the Sonora Wildcats. Then, it went on to win its 23rd CIF Sac-Joaquin Section championship.
As if two titles weren’t enough, Calaveras went on to capture its 30th Mother Lode League championship and its 13th in a row. At the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division V section championships, Calaveras’ Donivan Giangregorio, Elliot Houghten and Austyn Shoemaker all took first and qualified for the Masters Tournament. Giangregorio and Houghten advanced to the CIF State Championships, but did not place.
Calaveras boys’ track and field
Winning championships wasn’t an issue for the Calaveras High School boys’ track and field team. However, it was the come-from-behind way the championships were won that makes the squad standout.
Heading into the Mother Lode League finals, Calaveras trailed Sonora in the standings. Calaveras’ only league loss of the season was to the undefeated Wildcats. In order for Calaveras to share a part of the MLL title, it would need to knock off Sonora in the league finals.
Calaveras finished first overall with a score of 155, while the Wildcats came in second with 126. The two squads finished the season with a 4-1 record.
At the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division V track and field finals, Calaveras needed to win the final race of the night to bring home a blue section championship banner as it trailed Marysville by two points. Calaveras had to not only beat Marysville in the 4x400-meter relay, but also finish no lower than third.
Calaveras’ 4x400 relay team looked different than what head coach Doug Avrit had imagined. Senior speedster CJ Castleman missed the finals due to a leg injury suffered two days earlier at the trials. Avrit placed junior distance runner Jacob Christopher in Castleman’s place. Christopher had already won the 1,600- and 3,200-meter race, which means he had run around the Chavez High School track 12 times.
Avrit needed Christopher to take one final lap around the track. Freshman Jack Garamendi, junior Jesse Montanez, Christopher and junior Jonathon Lozano not only finished the 4x400 race ahead of Marysville, but Lozano finished the race before all other teams. The second Lozano finished the race, Calaveras was crowned as section champions with an overall score of 62. It clinched Calaveras’ second overall section title.
There wasn’t much that went wrong for the Calaveras High School softball team. The squad went a perfect 15-0 in the Mother Lode League and outscored its league opponents by a score of 206-18.
As the regular season came to a close, Calaveras received the No. 2 seed in the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV softball playoffs. In the opening round, Calaveras knocked off No. 7 West Campus 9-4. After a week off due to rain, Calaveras had no problem shutting out No. 3 Casa Roble 7-0. Senior Bri Head pitched a complete-game shutout and sophomore Angelina DeLeon hit a two-run home run.
Calaveras ran into trouble against No. 1 Ripon and lost 16-6, which forced Calaveras to face No. 5 Liberty Ranch in an elimination game. Trailing 7-5 in the bottom of the sixth, DeLeon hit another two-run home run to tie the game. One inning later, down 10-9, DeLeon won the game with a walk-off single to bring in two runs.
For the third year in a row, Calaveras played in the section championship game, only to lose for the third year in a row. Calaveras lost to Ripon 7-3.
The senior duo of Alanda Cardon and Head were named the MLL co-MVPs. Alexis Dawe, Madison Clark and Keelie Koepp made the first-team, while MacKenna Steele, DeLeon and Jordyn Okumura were placed on the second team.