When you play sports at Woodlake High School, it’s just one of the activities in a busy day. At a small school, if a winter sport like soccer, basketball, or wrestling is your passion, you must still fulfill an academic contract by keeping your grades up and getting your homework done.
The majority of these students know how to multi-task, an essential skill to make all the practices and play in the games.
Consider William Theis and Brooke Rivas. Both these seniors were honored at the 55th annual Woodlake Awards Dinner on Friday, March 3, as Youth of the Year for 2016.
Will Theis wrestled all four seasons for the Woodlake Tigers. He never missed a practice and, in the words of his coach, Jesse Ramirez, “Will always wrestled tough.”
In addition to playing sports, during his four years at Woodlake, Will volunteered 254.5 community service hours. He is fixture at Camp Zap, setting an excellent example for the at-risk middle school campers who attend.
Knowing the WHS Theatre productions needed help with lighting and stage production, Will has worked tirelessly behind the scenes since his sophomore year.
Will is also active in FFA and has through the tutelage of his Ag teachers, become quite a welder. He also works with the annual Every 15 Minutes, a program to teach teens the danger of impaired and distracted driving.
For clubs, Will is a dedicated member of the Lighthouse Club that caters to students who are interested in faith-based activities. And in addition to all these pursuits, Will is a three-sport athlete — football in the fall, wrestling in the winter, and golf in the spring.
After graduation, Will plans to enlist in the Navy.
Brooke Rivas began her life against some formidable odds. In 1999, Brooke and her twin sister, Brianne, were the smallest babies born at Valley Children’s Hospital, and her chances to survive were at best 50/50. She stayed on at the Madera County hospital for 100 days of critical care.
Still on oxygen when they came home to Woodlake, the twin girls were featured in a national news article as they overcame the obstacles of premature birth. Seeing Brooke in action today she is a passionate bundle of energy and devotes her time to Key Club; being class president during her freshman, sophomore, and senior years; Career Day; Student Site Council; and Lighthouse Club. She currently serves as the student representative on the WUSD board.
But her passion is sports. She plays volleyball in the fall, soccer in the winter, and currently is the only returning senior on the Lady Tigers softball team.
An excellent student, Brooke sees herself as a Liberal Studies major in college with plans to one day become a second-grade teacher.
Will and Brook are exceptional student-athletes, but there are many more talented students among those who play sports.
Girls’ Varsity Soccer
Roy Guerra, Head Coach
“Varsity Girls Soccer was a success,” wrote Coach Guerra. “We ended the year with an overall record of 10-5-3 and a league record of 5-1-3. Among our accomplishments this season was advancing to the playoffs as the No. 3 seed in Division 5. We advanced to the second round of the playoffs where we came up short, losing 2-1 vs. Bishop High School.”
Earlier in the season, the girls won the Corcoran Tournament and were the only team in league play to score on Strathmore. Coach Guerra said his girls ended Strathmore’s 30 plus winning streak by tying them on Strathmore’s home field.
“Best of all the team bonded with each other and made friendships that will last a lifetime,” said Coach Guerra. “They are all great young ladies on and off the field. It was truly an honor to have been their coach.”
As of press time, Girls Soccer has not had their awards banquet so team awards have yet to be made public.
Girls’ Varsity Basketball
Joe Torres, Head Coach
“We competed well in a lot of our games though we did not accomplish our goal of finishing with a .500 record to make the playoffs,” Coach Joe Torres said. “We never gave up in any game, and I am proud of each and every one of our players.”
Callie Vincent: This Three Rivers junior was MVP, Team Captain, and a First Team All ESL selection. Coach Torres called Callie a “leader on and off the court.”
Tamra Diaz: Offensive Player of the Year, Team Captain, and All ESL selection, Honorable Mention. She was team’s best outside and three-point shooter.
Leticia Jimenez: Defensive Player of the Year and All ESL selection, Honorable Mention. She was the team’s best post player.
Lilian Ramirez: Coaches’ Award and All ESL Honorable Mention. Lilian started the season coming off the bench but became a starter and drew lots fouls where she kept the game close with free throws.
JV Girls’ Basketball
Ashley Kambourian, Head Coach
The statement that Joe Torres, varsity girls’ basketball head coach, made about the JV girls’ season, applies to a certain degree to all the winter season teams.
“Although our JV team record does not reflect how we progressed, they played exceptionally well,” said Coach Torres. “Those frosh and sophomore girls worked hard every day. No matter what the score was or how the game was going, the girls played hard until the final whistle.”
Alyssa Gonzalez: Offensive Player of the Year.
Carolina Lara: Defensive Player of the Year.
Jasmine Paniagua: Coach’s Award.
Jessie Ramirez, Head Coach
“This was my third season as head coach,” reported Coach Ramirez. “We have experienced growth in the program each year. “The team’s MVP this season was Carlos Pena, who wrestled at 160 pounds. Carlos has only wrestled for two years but has been MVP both seasons.”
Coach Ramirez has a number of middle schoolers already passionate about wrestling in high school.
“Once the culture is set, the wrestling program has everything set in place to become a serious contender among Tulare County and Valley programs,” said Coach Ramirez.