The College of the Sequoias opened conference
play with a 57-23 loss to Modesto. COS came out in the first half motivated to
show Modesto and its homecoming crowd that they were ready for their conference
opener. With 6:37 left until halftime COS lead Modesto 16-15. Modesto closed
out the half 14 unanswered points. COS looked like a different team in the
second half as Modesto outscored them 28-7. Modesto held COS to one first down
in the second half. Raul Alvarez was 14 for 25 with 165 yards passing. Torry
Clayton finished the game with 7 carries for 23 rushing yards with a touchdown.
On the defensive side Benjie Wilson had two sacks while the COS defense ended
with a total of five sacks for the ball game. COS will travel to San Joaquin
Delta on Saturday, October 25, 2014 in hopes of ending their three game losing
streak. The game is scheduled to begin at 1:00 PM.
of the Siskiyous hands the Giants its fourth loss of the season with a score of
49-16. The College of the Siskiyous Eagles came out to a fast start as they
scored touchdowns on their first two possessions and held the Giants to -2
yards on their first two possessions. Things would not get any better for the
Giants as they were down at halftime 28-7. The Eagles defense held the Giants
to a total of 289 yards on offense and forced two turnovers. The Eagles defense
had Raul Alvarez on the run all game along with nine sacks. Raul Alvarez ended
the game passing for 210 yards with two interceptions, 43 yards rushing, and
one touchdown reception. Connor Cramer came into the game late in the fourth
quarter and finished 3 for 6 for 44 yards and one rushing touchdown. The Giants
look to end their two game losing streak this Saturday, October 18, 2014
against Modesto. The game is their homecoming game with the game scheduled to
start at 7 PM at the Mineral King Bowl in Visalia.
On Thursday night, October 2nd, the College of
the Sequoias Foundation will induct five new honorees (pictured clockwise from
bottom left)—Brad Mills, Al Branco, Bert Holt, John Lehn, Sue Shannon—into the
COS Hall of Fame. All of the inductees have an athletic story to tell but three
of them in particular are integral to the story of sports at COS and are
probably familiar faces to student-athletes and fans.
Al Branco, Oakland, California
born, has coached a wide roster of sports for COS and other schools but he
started in high school with a narrow focus; only three sports: baseball, basketball
and football. Perhaps foreshadowing things to come, Branco was team captain of
his baseball and football teams and league MVP for a Championship football
team. College studies found Branco at COS for his associate degree, Washington
State University for a bachelor’s and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo for a master’s.
He played football and baseball in college, including an honorable mention as
an All-American in football. He also coached while a student-athlete at COS in
1960. During his professional career, Branco taught and coached at Mt. Whitney
High School, Pacific Lutheran University (coaching only) and COS where he
taught physical education classes and coached in no less than six sports. He
then took on administrative roles as department chairperson and athletic
director for a total of 14 years.
Bert Holt started life in Chico,
California, migrating down the state to attend Fresno State College in the
1950s and later (back northward for graduate studies) Cal Poly San Luis Obispo,
Chico State University and Humboldt State University. Holt played baseball,
basketball and football in high school, winning the Athlete of the Year award, and
he played for Fresno State’s baseball team during his time there. Since
graduating with his bachelor’s, Holt has coached at Redwood and Exeter high
schools and then started his baseball-coaching career at COS in 1965. Leaving
the Giants for a few decades to scout for the Montreal Expos and Colorado
Rockies, Holt returned as a volunteer coach for COS baseball in 2009 and is
still helping the team to (this year especially) great heights!
Brad Mills is a native to the
Central Valley; born in Exeter. Mills played basketball and baseball in high
school and then baseball in college; he is a graduate of COS (where he played
for Holt) and the University of Arizona. He had the honor of being named
captain of both high school and college baseball teams and was named College
All American for two years. He holds a place in the Exeter High School Hall of Fame
as well. Mills rose to the minor and major leagues as a player, manager and
coach; currently with the Cleveland Indians as third base coach. More accolades
would come in Mills’ professional career: 1989 and 1995 Manager of the Year, 2004
and 2007 bench coach for World Series Boston Red Sox, 2005 and 2008 bench coach
at All Star games.
The COS Foundation is an independent nonprofit organization
cultivating and allocating public resources to school interests. The COS Hall
of Fame, inaugurated in 1987, honors distinguished staff and alumni.
information or to support COS, you can reach out to the Foundation at (559)
The Giants football coaching staff kicked off last Saturday
what they anticipate will be a challenging but winning year on the field for
the team, what with a conference shake-up and some talented opponents ahead.
Sitting down before the season’s start, Head coach Irv Pankey and assistant
coach Joe D’Agostino opened up about the academic commitments made to the
student-athletes off the field.
The coaches recognize that the majority of students,
including their players, come to College of the Sequoias to build a foundation
that they will use to advance to four-year
schools. Therefore, they are dedicated to propelling student-athletes onward
and hopefully with some scholarship money, too.
The Giants coaching staff ensures their student-athletes
have access to extra programs and resources such as math and English skills
labs, study halls, academic counselors, priority registration and the Disabilities Resource Center (DRC), which was created in 1975 with the goal of supporting
students with physical, communication, psychological and learning disabilities.
Beaming like a proud team patriarch, Pankey said that COS
has, “always done a great job getting kids out,” in reference to last school
year’s placement of 20 out of 21 sophomores in four-year schools across the
country. D’Agostino, barely able to contain his own pride, named a number of colleges
and universities hosting COS alumni this school year including those in Kansas,
Missouri, the Carolinas and California. The coaches said at least 75 percent of
those student-athletes left with scholarships in-hand. That rate jumps to
roughly 90 percent (placement of sophomores with scholarships) when tracking
back as far as 2007.
Retention of freshmen players benefits because of COS’
reputation for placing sophomores. The coaches explained that placing
student-athletes after two years at COS, instead of one, is a much easier task.
Losing players after just two years requires the team to rebuild
regularly but the coaches see that as an opportunity. Though last year’s team split
about fifty-fifty between players from the local region and players from
further away, regenerating the team allowed the coaches to focus on recruiting
an even bigger community presence. “The community wanted lots of local representation,”
said Pankey, and the staff aimed to please. The 2014 team boasts about
two-thirds local players recruited between Madera and Bakersfield such as returning player, Jeremy Gomez (Dinuba), pictured above in a 2013 game.
“I’m excited to get going on an exciting season,” Pankey
said in closing.
Wish our Giants luck this Saturday, September 13, as they
travel to Quincy, CA to battle the Feather River Golden Eagles.
In their first football game of the season the College of the Sequoias fell to Foothill College 27-24 in overtime. COS was down 21-3 at the start of the fourth quarter when they scored 21 unanswered points. Their scoring started with 12:57 left in the fourth quarter when Brandon Hudgins returned a punt for 64 yards to cut the Foothill lead to 21-10. With the COS defense holding Foothill to three and out on their ensuing possession COS received the ball back with 10:22 left in the game. COS started on their own 23 yard line.
Raul Alvarez led the scoring drive completing three of his four pass attempts for 73 yards and running the ball in from one yard out to cut the lead to 21-17. The COS defense held Foothill to another three and out on their ensuing possession. COS started their final scoring drive on the Foothill 47 with 6:59 left in the game. Raul Alvarez went three for three for 46 yards and finished the scoring drive with a one yard rushing touchdown to take the lead 24-21 with 5:42 left in the game.
Foothill came back to tie the game with a field goal from 32 yards by Luke Vereschagin with 1:15 left in the game. COS received the ball first in overtime and drove to the Foothill 8 yard line. Foothill’s defense held COS to no yards on the first two plays and on third down Darrien Hamberry sacked Raul Alvarez for a loss of 15 yards to the Foothill 23. On fourth down Sergio Hernandez’s 40 yard field goal was wide left. On their possession Foothill marched down to the COS 7 yard line where Luke Vereschagin made a 24 yard field goal to give Foothill a 27-24 win. Raul Alvarez finished 26-39 for 331 yard passing.
Your favorite Fall sports are working hard to give fans a good showing at the first games, matches and meets of the season. Student-athletes are in class studying for the Fall semester, which started August 11. And they are back on the field practicing; practices started as early as the 1st of August.
Follow COS Athletics on our Facebook page for links to stories about Giants student-athletes on and off the field (featured here on the Blog).
Checkout the Events tab on our Facebook page for a calendar of upcoming games and Athletics events (also available on each team's page of the COS Athletics website).
For a quick glimpse of what's coming up first this season:
The Men's Soccer team plays their inaugural game on the road against Ohlone on Friday, August 29, at 1:30pm.
Women's Soccer kicks off (pardon the pun) at the Oxnard Sea Breeze Tournament on Saturday, August 30 and 31.
Cross Country men and women open at Woodward Park for the Fresno Invitational, Saturday, September 6, starting at 8:30am.
Giants Football goes up against the Foothill College Owls on Saturday, September 6, 7:00pm from the Mineral King Bowl.
Women's Volleyball rounds up the Saturday, September 6 events against Reedley College in Reedley, time TBD.
While we retreat to the
pool to escape the Central Valley summer heat, let us spend a little time
getting to know returning COS swimmer Josh Avila. Avila finished last year’s
season at the State Swim & Dive Championships with a personal best of
4:18.07 in the Men’s 400 Yard Individual Medley (IM); the event that combines
four different strokes. Going into the meet, he was seeded 12th in
the state and placed 11th at the May Championships.
Avila got an early start
as a Giant. Home schooled through 12th grade, he doubled-up to
finish high school early and start COS during the Fall 2013 semester. He is
interested in getting into business and hopes to finish at COS with a business
degree and move ahead to a school in the University of California system. His top
picks are UC Santa Barbara and UC San Diego; Avila wants to stay in California.
The Visalia-native says,
“It all depends,” when it comes to swimming at the UC level. He may focus
solely on academics. Right now however, his goal is maintaining a good record
in his classes and his swimming. Although he’s not shy about the idea of
running for office, at least at COS. He comes by it honestly, inspired by one
of his three older sisters to try candidacy in the Student Senate. All of
Avila’s sisters are former Giants and all participated in some form or fashion with
Associated Student Body (ASB).
Swimming came naturally,
too. Avila says he started at about age six. “I just jumped into the pool and
started swimming,” he says. “Apparently I just knew how to swim right off the
bat.” By 11, he started on the Visalia Waves
Avila described the Championships
at East Los Angeles College as, “a tough challenge,” but speaking with him, it
becomes apparent that his “challenge” threshold is significantly higher than
most. Avila’s preferred swimming stroke is the breaststroke, but when COS
Swimming Head Coach Tracy Myers observed his endurance, she put him on the IM.
Swimming competitively for about five or six years, that fortitude built up
with year-round club swimming on the local TNT competitive team.
To future Aqua Giants, Avila says with hard work and practice, “After awhile you’ll start to be able to swim faster without trying so hard.”
This week marked the
official “grand reopening” and ribbon cutting for the refinished tennis courts
at the College of the Sequoias Visalia campus. The project is part of a total 21
projects and over $200,000 in funding spearheaded by the COS Foundation, which is an independent nonprofit
organization cultivating and allocating public resources to school interests.
Tuesday’s event was
attended by student athletes, community members, and COS staff and supporters
including COS Superintendent and President Stan Carrizosa and Foundation Board President
Foundation Director Tim
Foster opened the ceremonies, introducing the resurfacing of the nine courts as
one of the ways in which the school is, “reinvesting in meaningful ways,” with
valuable contributions from the surrounding area.
Athletic Director Brent
Davis thanked those who have supported the tennis courts project specifically
and the athletic program overall, including among others, the community, the
COS Foundation, tennis coach Jay Johnson, and school administrators and staff.
Davis then took the
opportunity to brag about the student athletes of Giants tennis who accumulated
a series of honors this year. He was most proud to announce the women’s tennis
team’s naming as All Academic Team by
the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).
The Giants are one of seven teams honored across the nation for their academic
Also honored for their
academic performance, three of the student athletes were named to the Big 8
Conference Academic All Conference
women’s team, five were named as ITA Scholar
Athletes, and two were selected as Big 8 Conference All Conference team members for their athletic abilities.
Wrapping up the
addresses, Carrizosa offered his, “heartfelt thanks,” for, “the investments the
community adds,” on top of state funding. He described this exceptional support
as the requirement to take a community college from, “good to great.”
After the ribbon cutting
by Davis, Johnson, Carrizosa, Bell, and team members (pictured above, left to right), guests enjoyed a lunch spread as the tennis team volleyed a
bit to demonstrate the new courts.
COS Athletics wishes you all a happy and healthy Independence Day!
COS student athlete Akeem Alexander completed a big week last week and there is more to come. He was invited to be a part of the Under 23 USA Track & Field national team. Alexander has accepted the invite, which was offered due to his performance at the USA Track & Field Outdoor Championships in Sacramento, and presumably, his previous achievements.
Alexander competed in the Championships on Thursday, in the Friday preliminaries, and then Saturday in the finals of the 400-meter race. This schedule is different than that of the usual community college meet and that, Alexander thinks, fatigued his legs causing him to falter in the last turn of the finals race. He suffered a leg cramp and was unable to finish.
The 19-year-old’s record speaks for itself though, despite what happened on Saturday. He is the 2013 and 2014 California Community College champion in the 400-meter race. He placed first in the 2014 California State Championship in the same event.
Alexander, a 2012 graduate of Madera High School, will have a chance to compete for team USA during the North American Central America Caribbean Under 23 track and field championships. At least 25 countries will bring their athletes to the competition, which will be held in Kamloops, British Columbia, Canada this August 8-10.
We look forward to seeing much more from this Giants track star!