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October 20
COS Loses Third Striaght

​               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.

October 14
COS Falls to Siskiyous

 College 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.​

September 30
A Brief on Three Hall of Fame-ers

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.

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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. For more information or to support COS, you can reach out to the Foundation at (559) 730-3861.​

September 12
Coaches Talk Off the Field Academics
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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.

September 07
COS Falls in Overtime

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.

August 19
Who's Ready for Some Giants Sports Action?

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.

Go Giants!

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July 29
Championships and Challenges, Swimming with Josh Avila
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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​ team.

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.” 

July 16
COS Celebrates “Grand Reopening” of Tennis Courts
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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 Sherrie Bell.

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 achievements.

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.

July 04
Happy 4th of July from COS Athletics!

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COS Athletics wishes you all a happy and healthy Independence Day!

June 29
Akeem Alexander Invited to USA Track & Field Team

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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!

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Welcome to the College of the Sequoias Athletics blog. We appreciate all the parents, fans, local and campus community support that make Giant Athletics a major player in community colleges throughout the state.