Christmas came early for eight local youth soccer players.
Tryouts for the Olympic Development Program state teams are usually held in March. This time they were held in November and the results were announced Dec. 13.
The players -- six girls and two boys -- are divided by age, according to the year they were born. They will continue to play on their club teams while competing in national tournaments with the state squads in 2008.
Ripon's Samantha Evans, Oakdale's Corin Hernandez and Manteca's Isela Rivera are on the 1995 girls team. Modesto's Erica Goynes (1994), Turlock's Jasmine Nickelberry (1993) and Modesto's Jalissa Freeman (1992) also were selected.
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The boys are Modesto's Christopher Sixto Porras (1993) and Merced's Octavio Murillo (1992).
NATIONAL STAGE -- There won't be much time for gymnasts Paige Phipps and Tatianna Castellanos to take a holiday break. The girls have a national meet to prepare for.
Phipps, 10, and Castellanos, 12 -- who train at the USA Elite Gymnastics center in Modesto -- finished in the top eight at the Level 7 Judges Cup in San Jose on Dec. 8-9. They will compete Jan. 5 as part of the Northern California Level 7 state team at the National Judges Cup in San Diego.
Phipps was sixth all-around in San Jose with a score of 36.950, followed by Castellanos at 36.925. The beam was the best event for both girls -- Castellanos tied for second (9.425) and Phipps tied for fifth (9.375).
HOLIDAY BOWL -- The Modesto Broncos and Central Saints varsity youth football teams raised $1,500 Saturday for the family of a player whose home burned in October.
Officially, the Saints won the organized game 34-8. But for helping a family and playing an extra game, Broncos president Matt Dietz said both sides were winners.
"We're talking about making it an annual event," Dietz said. "We'd play games at all three levels and pick a family from each group."
It was a long season for the Broncos -- Saturday was their 17th game. They lost to the Turlock Vikings 37-14 in the Super Bowl, had seven players in the Central California Youth Football League all-star game, and then played the "Holiday Bowl" against Trans-Valley Youth Football League representative Central.
Though disappointed there weren't more than 200 people at the event, Dietz was happy to have a $1,000 check and $500 worth of groceries for Renee Matlock and her four children. Her oldest son Lavin, 7, plays for the Broncos.
Bee staff writer Kelly Jones can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2300.