High School Sports

Ali Chabot, Sean Towers, Kattie Aprile, German Fernandez

ALI CHABOT

Sonora volleyball

It was a demanding week for the WIldcats' senior setter, a three-year varsity starter who coach Kathryn Spotorno credits for keeping the team operating at a high level. The Wildcats went 5-3, including six games in two days at the High Sierra Invitational, and Chabot never left the court. "She's our team captain and she rallies our team with her incredible hustle," Spotorno said. "She beats the ball to a spot and gives us a variety of sets. That give our hitters options on where to go with the ball, which makes it difficult for the opposition to stand at one spot and wait for the hit." Chabot averaged nine assists and six digs per match, including a season-high 17 assists and six digs in a 3-0 sweep of Beyer and 11 assists and four digs in a 2-0 victory over Whittell of Zephyr Cove, Nev. "Ali hasn't stepped off the court this season, and that includes our three matches last Friday and three more on Saturday," Spotorno said. "She puts it all out there."

SEAN TOWERS

Johansen water polo

Towers was a scoring machine while leading the Vikings to fifth place at the Sierra Shootout, firing in 15 goals as Johansen went 4-1. He scored five goals in a 15-0 win over Tamalpais in the fifth-place match, after scoring twice earlier in the week in an 11-1 win over Pitman. "Sean's role is the same as last year. What he is doing better is seeing the entire pool and reacting to events about to happen, rather than waiting for them to happen," coach Brent Bohlender said. An offseason conditioning program, including a demanding schedule with the Modesto-Stanislaus Water Polo Club, is also paying off for Towers. "When you are treading water for seven-minute quarters, and then couple that with constantly speeding up and slowing down over a 25-meter course, endurance is essential," Bohlender said. "The better players must have a strong work ethic in order to succeed at this particular level."

KATIE APRILE

Escalon volleyball

When Escalon High lost its top setter to graduation last spring, it left a void in the program that couldn't adequately be filled by any returning players. So coach Teresa Williamson brought up Katie Aprile to the varsity, even though she was only a sophomore. The move is already paying dividends -- her steady play helped Escalon to a 6-0 start including a win over VOL favorite Oakdale. "Age is not a factor with Katie," Williamson said. "Her experience and knowledge of the game is what makes her deserve to be on varsity. After watching Katie's performance during her JV season and club play, she showed to possess the leadership skills and potential to be a great asset to the varsity program." Aprile averaged 12 assists, 9½ digs and 5½ kills per match as the Cougars swept Summerville and Linden in three games, and had 15 assists, eight kills and 11 digs in a 25-21, 25-18, 25-21 victory over Oakdale.

GERMAN FERNANDEZ

Riverbank cross country

After getting a late start a year ago, when he was recovering from knee surgery, Fernandez began his senior season with a remarkable run at the Sierra Invitational at Legion Park in Modesto. He won the 5-kilometer race in a record 14 minutes, 47 seconds, breaking the mark of 16:01 that he set in 2005. His mile splits were 4:33 and 9:21. Fernandez was second in the Division IV race at last year's state cross country meet -- he is the state's top-ranked runner in the division this season -- and finished third in the two-mile at the state track meet last spring. "What's happened in the three years that I've worked with German is that he has realized he has a gift and a lot of potential as a runner," coach Bruce Edwards said. "He worked hard all summer, working out 12 times a week, running three times one day, then two, then one and then taking a day off. It was a mix of hard and easy runs, to get him in condition for this final year with us."

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