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Area athletes to be honored at banquet

The 40th Outstanding Athlete Awards Banquet on Wednesday night will cap four decades of athletic achievement in Stanislaus County.

The SOS Club again will be the venue as the county's top athletes for 2006 will be announced in the high school and college/open divisions.

Jim Harbaugh, the new football coach at Stanford, is scheduled to be the guest speaker during an evening that also features other award winners.

Handball standout Bill Heaston of Modesto will become the 29th inductee into the OAA Hall of Fame. Long-time Turlock High athletic director and football coach Frank Cusenza will receive the Darell Phillips Coaches Award, named after the late sports editor of The Bee.

The Jay Pattee Award, for public service to the sports community, also will be announced Wednesday night along with two Tom Mellis Scholarship honorees.

The banquet, which is open to the public, begins with social hour at 6p.m., followed by dinner and the program at 7.

The high school boys finalists:

LOUIS BLAND (Central Catholic) — The two-sport star rushed for 1,628 yards and scored 32 touchdowns for the Raiders. In wrestling, he lost only two matches and won the 2006 state title in the 171-pound class.

PIERRE BONDOC (Beyer) — Bondoc, like Bland, dominated in wrestling. He won the Sac-Joaquin Section title in the 103-pound class, then placed third in the state and second in the nation.

COLIN KAEPERNICK (Pitman) — Kaepernick, now a freshman at the University of Nevada, anchored the Pride's march to the Division I section baseball finals. He was 9-2 with a 1.27 ERA and batted .313 while playing first base when not on the mound.

ADRIAN OLIVER (Modesto Christian) — Oliver, who's wrapping up his freshman basketball season at Washington, guided the Crusaders' drive to the Division V NorCal final. He averaged 24.5 points per game and was first-team all-state.

SAMMY YEAGER (Modesto) — Yeager, as a junior, starred for the Panthers' basketball team that finished 28-2 and reached the Division I section final. He averaged 20.1 points, five assists, five rebounds, three steals and made 46 percent of his 3-point attempts.

The high school girls finalists:

KARLEE BISPO (Downey) — Bispo, an Olympics hopeful, set section records while winning the 100 (49.84 seconds) and 200 freestyle (1:47.90). She was named The Bee's Swimmer of the Year for the second consecutive time.

MARISSA DREWREY (Oakdale) — Drewrey, an OAA finalist for the third time, completed an outstanding career by pitching the Mustangs to their second consecutive Division III section title. She was 19-2 with a 0.10 ERA. Drewrey is now a freshman at Cal.

MARINA MARTINEZ (Beyer) — Martinez paced Beyer to a Modesto Metro Conference title in golf by averaging 0.8 of a stroke below par. From there, she shot a 69 to win the Northern California individual title.

ALICIA REID (Oakdale) — Reid, a two-sport standout, averaged 23.1 points per game for the league-winning Mustangs basketball team. She also batted .450 as a shortstop for the section-champion softball team.

KELLY SIMPSON (Beyer) — The Bee's Volleyball Player of the Year had 288 kills, 184 digs and was named MVP of the MMC. She'll continue her career at UC Riverside.

The open division men's finalists:

BRYAN HAILE (swimming) — The Modesto Junior College star successfully defended his 100- and 200-meter breaststroke titles at the State Meet in Pasadena (55.18 in the 100 and 2:01.59 in the 200). He was named the state's Male Performer of the Year for the second time.

CHAD DRAPER (football) — Draper, the quarterback for MJC's first Graffiti Bowl team in four years, passed for 23 touchdowns and compiled the best completion percentage in the state. His QB rating of 175.2 was third in the state.

BYRON STORER (football) — Storer finished his collegiate career by starting at fullback for a 10-3 Cal team that was ranked 14th in the nation. He was named to the All-Pac-10 special teams unit and the Pac-10 All-Academic team. He also won the team's Dink Artel Award (Cal spirit).

The open division women's finalists:

JULIE LOCKE (roller skating) — Locke, a graduate of Davis High, and partner Logan Boggs of Stockton placed second for the second consecutive year at the Artistic Roller Skating World Championships in Murcia, Spain.

MARIA SANCHEZ (tennis) — Sanchez, last year's OAA high school girls winner, reached the final of the National Open 18s in Lakewood and the semifinals of the U.S. Clay-Court 18s in Memphis. She's ranked fourth in the nation in the Girls 18s.

VANESSA STANFIELD (soccer) — Stanfield led MJC to a 19-2-2 record and a Central Valley Conference title by scoring a state-leading 33 goals along with nine assists. She was named to the 11-member JC All-America team.

Bee sports columnist Ron Agostini can be reached at 578-2302 or