High School Sports

Notes: Central Catholic’s Rice picks Cal Poly hoops to ‘challenge myself’

Central Catholic’s Jared Rice goes up for a layup during a game between Central Catholic and Manteca at Manteca High School in Manteca California on January 12, 2017.
Central Catholic’s Jared Rice goes up for a layup during a game between Central Catholic and Manteca at Manteca High School in Manteca California on January 12, 2017. jwestberg@modbee.com

Central Catholic two-sport star Jared Rice has finalized his college plans.

An All-District selection in football and basketball, Rice will focus solely on basketball at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, a Division I program.

He made his announcement on Twitter on Monday evening.

“A crazy feeling and an awesome opportunity,” Rice wrote in a message posted to Twitter. “I am excited to say that I have committed to Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo to play D1 basketball. I want to thank God and I give him all the glory.

“I also want to thank my mom and dad for their support through it all (heart emoji) and also my friends and everyone that has played a role in my life. I want to thank all the coaches who opened doors for me and all the trainers who helped me elevate my game. I can’t wait to start this college experience.”

Rice will join the Mustangs as a preferred walk-on with the opportunity to earn a scholarship as a sophomore. He chose Cal Poly over scholarship offers from University of San Diego (football), Azusa Pacific (football) and Fresno Pacific (basketball).

“I feel like I can go there and earn a scholarship,” Rice said. “I want to challenge myself.”

Rice was named the Valley Oak League’s football MVP after guiding the Raiders to a share of their second consecutive league title. In pads, Rice was a versatile talent, one who impacted the game on offense and special teams.

He rushed for 1,449 yards and scored 20 total touchdowns, despite battling an ankle injury. In three varsity seasons, Rice returned seven kickoffs for a touchdown.

Coach said I had the ability to play Division I, but I was too short. That hurt. Over the years, though, they’ve watched me. They’re going to give me chance and I want to pursue that.

Jared Rice, Central Catholic senior, on committing to the Cal Poly men’s basketball team as a preferred walk-on

His calling was on the court, though. Rice was a three-time all-VOL first team selection and captained Central Catholic to back-to-back Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV championships.

He averaged 15.7 points, 4.2 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.1 steals per game as a senior.

Cal Poly is a dream destination for Rice, who began attending basketball camps at the university as a seventh-grader. He said as a sophomore he was named a top performer and allowed to scrimmage with members of the men’s basketball team.

His fearless play turned heads. Still, head coach Joe Callero thought Rice was too short to play at the Division I level.

This fall, he’ll give the 5-foot-10 walk-on guard a chance to earn his spot.

“Coach said I had the ability to play Division I, but I was too short. That hurt,” Rice said. “Over the years, though, they’ve watched me. They’re going to give me chance and I want to pursue that.”

Ripon makes a splash in VOL finale: The Ripon High boys and girls swim programs swept Valley Oak League crowns, a historic feat for the small-school program.

It’s the first league title for the boys since 2012, and they clinched the championship with runaway victories over Lathrop and Weston Ranch in their final tri-meet of the season.

Two-time CIF state qualifier Ty Wells was a multiple event winner, touching the wall first in the 100-yard butterfly and 100 breaststroke. Maika West captured the distance events, winning the 200 and 500 freestyle. Noah Esenwein (50 free) and Jacob Thompson (200 individual medley) also won events.

For the girls, winning the VOL has become old hat. Led by Andria Martin (100 butterfly, 500 freestyle) and Mallory Brubaker (200 IM, 100 backstroke), the girls wrapped up their third consecutive VOL title.

Ripon can put the bow on its historic season at the Valley Oak League Championships on April 29 at the Ervin Zador Aquatic Center in Ripon.

James Burns: 209-578-2150, @jburns1980

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