Sports quick hits: MJC football falls in NorCal playoffs, Modesto-area athletes sign

The Modesto Junior College football team’s season ended Saturday with a 41-19 loss to College of San Mateo in the semifinals of the CCCAA Northern California State Football Playoffs.

Though the Pirates did not turn the ball over, their offense had trouble finding the end zone. Kimoni Stanley scored on a two-yard run in the second quarter to put MJC on the board, but despite the clean game, they did not score again until more than halfway through the third frame.

After falling behind 27-7, quarterback Luke Weaver connected with Gage Roddy for a four-yard score and the Pirates cut into the lead, 27-13. They did not score again until the fourth quarter, when Weaver tossed his second touchdown of the game, a 13-yard connection with Bronson England for the Pirates’ final score.

The San Mateo offense was rolling as the Bulldogs scored in each quarter. A 17-point second quarter helped break the game open.

Weaver completed 14 of 26 passes for 168 yards and two touchdowns while Stanley carried the ball 12 times for 33 yards and one score. Pitman High graduate Joey Stout caught five passes for 106 yards and England, a Downey High graduate, caught five passes for 42 yards and a touchdown.

San Mateo quarterback Anthony Grigsby completed 26 passes for 337 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for a score. The Pirates were not able to force an interception.

Patterson High graduate Lolo Mataele rushed for 22 yards on seven carries.

The Pirates took home a number of Valley Conference awards. Head coach Rusty Stivers was named conference Coach of the Year while quarterback Luke Weaver (East Union) was named conference Offensive MVP. In addition to Weaver, running back Kimoni Stanley (Sierra), receivers Joey Stout (Pitman) and Bronson England (Downey), offensive lineman Tyler McMahan (Amador), linebackers Kyle Jackson (Central Catholic) and Garren Genilla (Manteca), defensive back Jalon Jackson (Buhach Colony) and defensive lineman Tamirr Bullock (Turlock) all earned all-conference honors at their respective positions. Running back Lyon Colon (Manteca) was selected to the all-conference team at all-purpose.

Upcoming winter basketball tournaments

Central Catholic Mark Gallo Invitational (Dec. 5-9)

Central Catholic High School will host its annual Mark Gallo Invitational Dec. 5-9 on its campus. Teams include host and NorCal qualifier Central Catholic, reigning Division V section champion Ripon Christian, defending CCAL champion Downey, Gregori and 2023 playoff teams Sonora, El Capitan, Christian Brothers and Liberty Ranch.

Games will be held at Glynn Hall and the Mark Gallo Health and Fitness Center. Matchups begin Tuesday, Dec. 5, at 3:30 p.m. with El Capitan taking on Gregori. The tournament finale will be the first-place game Saturday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m.

Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic (Dec. 27-30)

Modesto Christian’s Holiday Hoop Classic returns two days after Christmas. Traditionally one of the best basketball tournaments in Northern California, the event starts Wednesday, Dec. 27, and ends Saturday, Dec. 30. Some of the best teams in Northern California will be in attendance, including the likes of the host Crusaders, Bullard of Fresno, Campolindo, Oakland Tech, Vanden, Edison of Stockton and more.

Modesto Christian is the reigning back-to-back tournament champion and will play its first game Dec. 27 against Turlock. Stanislaus District teams participating include the Crusaders, Bulldogs and Downey. The tournament tips off with Downey taking on Campolindo and will end with the tournament championship Dec. 30 at 7:45 p.m.

Ripon volleyball player signs with Tennessee school

Ripon High’s Reagan Wilkerson will continue her playing career at the next level. In mid-November, the setter signed with NCAA Division II Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tenn. The Railsplitters compete in the South Atlantic Conference and in 2023 finished 10-18 overall.

The setter recently was named the Trans Valley League MVP and led the team to a perfect 10-0 league record, 30-7 overall record. Wilkerson and Ripon High have made it to the past two Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championship matches, bringing home a blue banner in 2022. During 2023, she finished ninth in California in aces (127). Over her three-year varsity career, she collected 1,153 assists, 285 aces and 781 digs in 300 sets played.

Big Valley Christian softball pitcher signs with Southern California college

Big Valley Christian softball ace Ava Hernandez on the Nov. 8 national signing day signed a letter of intent to play softball at NCAA Division II Azusa Pacific University in Azusa, Calif. The Cougars compete in the Pacific West (PacWest) Conference against schools including Fresno Pacific University, Dominican University and Biola University.

Hernandez exploded onto the scene as a sophomore, finishing in the top 10 in California in strikeouts and leading the Lions to Sac-Joaquin Section and CIF Northern California Regional championships. She finished the season batting .522 with 47 hits and 26 RBI. She struck out 317 batters and posted a 21-5 record with a 0.99 ERA in 27 appearances. She missed about half of her junior season with an ankle injury but is gearing up for her senior year this spring.

Beyer soccer player to play at Texas college

Beyer High goalie Aleena Tuers signed on Nov. 8 with NCAA Division III Letourneau University in Longview, Texas. The Yellowjackets compete in the American Southwest Conference and this season finished 6-7-5 overall during fall 2023.

Tuers has led the Patriots to a 31-7 record as starting goalie and was an All-WAC selection as well as a scholar athlete. During her sophomore and junior seasons, the Patriots had a 21-1 Western Athletic Conference record and reached the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III playoffs both seasons. The Patriots kicked off their season against Gregori. They take on Hilmar on Thursday, Nov. 30, at 3 p.m.

Pitman hosts signing day for softball players

Pitman High hosted a signing day for a pair of softball players who made good on their college commitments. Infielders Rylee Reeves and Ella Underwood signed on Nov. 16 to UC Davis and Menlo College, respectively. UC Davis competes at the NCAA Division I level and Menlo College currently competes at the NAIA level but is transitioning into NCAA Division II competition. In 2024-25, Menlo will begin competition as a member of the PacWest Conference. The final year of provisional NCAA membership will be 2025-26, after which Menlo will be fully integrated into Division II. Sports in the Oaks’ athletic program can earn NCAA D-II national championship berths in the fall of 2026.

As a junior, Reeves finished second on the team in batting average (.485) and home runs (4) and led the pride in hits (32) and RBI (29). Last season Underwood hit .356 and finished second on the team with 10 doubles. Both Underwood and Reeves were two of six players to play in all 22 games last season.

Pitman High student athletes Ella Underwood and Rylee Reeves signed to continue their academic and softball careers at Menlo College and UC Davis, respectively, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023 at Pitman High School.
Pitman High student athletes Ella Underwood and Rylee Reeves signed to continue their academic and softball careers at Menlo College and UC Davis, respectively, on Thursday, Nov. 16, 2023 at Pitman High School.

Local cross country runners compete at state

A number of Stanislaus District cross country runners competed in the CIF State Championships Saturday, Nov. 25, at Woodward Park in Fresno. Individuals from Patterson, Downey, Riverbank, Davis, Hilmar and Central Catholic qualified for state on the girls side while boys teams from Oakdale and Turlock as well as an individual runner from Ripon High raced.

Patterson sophomore Natalie Arraiza was the first local girl to cross the finish line. She finished eighth in Division II crossing the finish line in 17 minutes, 59.6 seconds. Oakdale was the fourth-best team overall and No. 2 in Division III. It finished with 286 total points. Mustangs senior Jackson Oliveira came in first among Stanislaus District boys runners, finishing in 15:07.9.

Ripon’s Devin Fitzpatrick finished 29th in Division IV, running a 16:04.8.

Here is a list of each local athlete’s place and time.


(8th in Division 2) Natalie Arriaza, Patterson, Soph. 17:59.6

(44th in Division 1) Zoe Leach, Downey, Jr. 18:45.2

(24th in Division 4) Giselle Fernandez, Riverbank, Soph. 18:54.9

(64th in Division 2) Jymena Nguyen-Marquez, Grace Davis, Soph. 19:20.8

(110th in Division 4) Sidney Logsdon, Hilmar, Soph. 20:57.5

(127th in Division 5) Avery Jones, Central Catholic, Soph. 22:07.4

Boys Team

Oakdale finished 4th overall and 2nd in Division 3. Team score: 286

Turlock finished 69th overall and 21st in Division 1. Team score: 1,752


(4th in Division 3) Jackson Oliveira, Oakdale, Sr. 15:07.9

(5th in Division 3) Omar Alsaidi, Oakdale, Sr. 15:09.6

(10th in Division 3) Mason Oliveira, Oakdale, Sr. 15:23.3

(19th in Division 3) Ismael Dominguez, Oakdale, Jr. 15:37.3

(29th in Division 4) Devin Fitzpatrick, Ripon, Sr. 16:04.8

(45th in Division 3) Jacob Cavanaugh, Oakdale, Jr. 16:05.1

(133rd in Division 1) Logan Petty, Turlock, Jr. 16:34.9

(135th in Division 1) Daniel Zaragoza, Turlock, Sr. 16:26.1

(137th in Division 1) Behniya Esmaeilabadi, Turlock, Sr. 16:37.2

(144th in Division 1) Jackson Hall, Turlock, Sr. 16:40.4

(111th in Division 3) Parker Whitemeyer, Oakdale, Soph. 16:48.1

(162nd in Division 1) Theodore Santos, Turlock, Jr. 16:55.9

(173rd in Division 1) Angel Solis De La Cruz, Turlock, Sr. 17:23.0

(175th in Division 3) Abner Gonzalez, Oakdale, Sr. 17:33.5

(181st in Division 1) Julian Hernandez, Turlock Sr. 18:17.3