Volleyball, Cross Country Teams Search for Success

Submitted by Denair High School

The seasons have started for the athletes on the Denair high volleyball and cross country teams.

The girls playing volleyball jumped right into the Southern League schedule with two matches this week. Monday at Waterford, they lost a well-played match 25-22, 25-12 and 25-17. Wednesday at home, they fell in straight sets to Orestimba 25-9, 25-6 and 25-12.

Against Waterford, first-year Christy North felt that the “strength of our game was serving.” Cheyenne Souza and Courtney Prock each had three aces while and Alexandria Sanders and Bryanna Suarez had two each.

Against Orestimba, North was impressed by the Souza, one of the team’s outside hitters.

“In one amazing series, she hit the ball, they blocked it and we picked it up three times in the same play!” North said. “t was very exciting, especially near the beginning of the match, but then their block intimidated the rest of the girls.”

North said she is looking for improvement in passing and receiving. The Coyotes will have a chance to score their first victory with upcoming matches against Mariposa (Sept. 14) and Ripon Christian (Sept. 18).

Denair’s runners competed in the first Southern League meet Sept. 7 at Tuolumne River Regional Park in Modesto. It was a 5K course, mostly on grass with only a couple of small hills. Denair finished fourth behind Waterford, Orestimba and Delhi.

The top finisher for the Coyotes was senior Alex Flores in 21 minutes, 21 seconds. He was followed by Pablo Flores (21:40), Uriel Gonzalez (22:59), Brigg Wenstrand (23:38) and Johnny Ibarra (24:18).

“I am proud of all my team, they all ran hard,” said coach Matthew Groom. I am especially proud of my underclassmen for stepping up to varsity and giving us a chance to score as a team.”

Earlier, Denair competed against 31 other schools in the Lodi Flame Invitational at Lake Lodi. Gonzalez was the Coyotes’ top finisher in the varsity race in 24:37, while Pablo Flores had the top time (13:27) among all Division V runners in the JV race, followed by Ibarra (14:43) and Wenstrand.

Next up for Denair is the Frogtown Invitational Sept. 19 at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds.

Denair Cross Country Runners Medal at Section Meet

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Submitted by Denair High School

It’s fair to say that not only did the runners on the first-ever Denair High School cross country team make some impressive strides this year, so did the program itself.

The Coyotes’ successful debut in the sport was capped off Saturday when two runners — Danielle Tigner (frosh/soph girls) and Seth Martinez (sophomore boys) – earned medals at the Sac-Joaquin Section Meet in Folsom.

Running a 3,300-meter course on grass and gravel at the Willow Creek Reservoir, Tigner finished in 20 minutes, 38.9 seconds – good enough for sixth place.

Martinez, competing on the same course, was timed in 15:51.8. He was 11th overall, but received a medal as one of the top eight runners not on one of the top teams.

Coach Matthew Groom said he couldn’t be prouder of his two runners or their teammates.

“Both runners worked hard over the season,” he said. “They were able to run faster and better than they did when the season started. Tigner has had some distance-running experience. She has ran 5K’s before this year.  Martinez has never had any distance-running experience.  He did well this year, despite that fact.

“With this year being the first Denair has had cross country, and my first year as a coach in the sport, we all learned a lot about the organization and the sport itself.  We will take the lessons we have learned over the season and improve our team next year.

“I was pleased that not only did we have runners who qualified for Sections, but they both medaled.  I think with the experience that all our runners had, we will be able to qualify more runners next year.”

Three Denair Cross Country Runners Qualify for Section Meet

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Submitted by Denair High School

Three of the four Denair High School cross country runners who competed Saturday on a hilly course in Angels Camp qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Meet this week.

Seth Martinez (sophomore boys), Danielle Tigner (frosh/soph girls) and Johnny Ibarra (freshman boys) advanced for the Coyotes to Saturday’s at the Willow Hill course in Folsom, though Ibarra won’t run because of a previous commitment.

They qualified based on their performances at the Sac-Joaquin Sub-Section Meet at the Frogtown course near the Calaveras County Fairgrounds. They all were among the top 10 runners who were not part of the six fastest teams.

Martinez completed the two-mile course in 17 minutes, 58.2 seconds, making him 13th overall and the sixth individual qualifier.

Tigner was 10th overall in her race, finishing in 20:08.7. And Ibarra was sixth overall and the third individual qualifier with his time of 14:53.0.

A fourth Denair runner, Alex Flores (varsity boys), had his season end after finishing 82nd out of 159 runners with a time of 22:00.4 over 5 kilometers.

This was the first season for cross country at Denair and Coach Matthew Groom said his runners adapted well to a challenging course.

“The course had three hills for the lower levels and a few more for varsity. These hills were steeper than we have ever seen before,” he said.

Four Denair Cross Country Runners in Sub-Section Meet

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Submitted by Denair High School

The inaugural cross country season for Denair High began with 15 runners. After three months of competition, four qualified for spots in Saturday’s Sac-Joaquin Sub-Section Meet at the Calaveras County Fairgrounds in Angels Camp.

The Coyotes still competing are:

  • Alex Flores (varsity boys)
  • Seth Martinez (sophomore boys)
  • Danielle Tigner (frosh/soph girls)
  • Johnny Ibarra (freshman boys)

Coach Matthew Groom said he is proud of his small team, which has shown “great improvement” in the course of the season.

“Ibarra was one of the last people to finish the JV race in the first league meet, but through hard work, he improved so much that I moved him up to varsity on the league meets as a freshman,” Groom said. “Tigner improved her time by 3 minutes since her last meet.

“Martinez has finished in the top 15 for the JV boys during the last two league meets (including 9th in the last meet). Not only has Flores improved his times, but he continues to show the leadership qualities that are needed for our team.  The other runners follow his lead and he has represented the school well.”

Saturday, Flores will run the 5-kilometer grass, dirt and cement course known as Frogtown. The fairgrounds are the site of the famous Jumping Frog competition each spring, inspired by the famous Mark Twain short story. Martinez, Tigner and Ibarra will compete on the slightly shorter two-mile layout in the foothills.

Denair runs in Division V, which includes all high schools with enrollment of 600 or less.

For varsity, the top 10 teams and the top 10 individuals not on those teams will qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section race in Folsom next week.  For all other levels, the top six teams and 10 individuals not on those teams will qualify.

DHS Volleyball and Cross Country Teams Also in Action this Fall

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Submitted by Denair High School

Football may be king on Friday night, but there are two other sports being contested this fall by Denair High athletes – volleyball and, for the first time, boys and girls cross country. Here’s a quick look at what to expect from those teams.

Volleyball

There was big news even before the season started as the players had to absorb a late coaching change. Second-year coach David Lewellen, who is a walk-on, will not be available for at least half the season because of scheduling conflict with his law enforcement job.

With long odds of finding another coach at the last minute, Denair Athletic Director Darrin Allen stepped into the breach. He and volunteer assistant Yulissa Tafoya will fill the void, with Lewellen coming to as many practices as he can make.

“I can’t be here as much, but it’s made it an easier transition having all these people to help,” Lewellen told the Turlock Journal.

The Coyotes didn’t win a match last year, going 0-14 in the Southern League and 0-15 overall. Still, with four seniors returning, many of the girls having gained experience and the addition of a talented transfer, Denair has reasons for optimism.

The seniors are Vickie Adler, Ileah Brantley, Kelsey Park and Eva Varni. The transfer is 6-foot-1 outside hitter Cheyenne Souza, a sophomore who attended Pitman High in Turlock last year.

“She is very good,” said Lewellen. “She can almost be playing anywhere and I am really excited with the team this year. The fact that she wanted to come here and play with us is a huge confidence booster.” Continue reading “DHS Volleyball and Cross Country Teams Also in Action this Fall” »