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Unlike many freshmen who come out for their high school golf team, Shawnee Martinez arrived with a reputation after some impressive performances this past summer.
She's continued to deliver during her first few weeks at Enochs, shooting 2-under 34s as the Eagles beat Downey and lost to Johansen in the Modesto Metro Conference.
"She's not like any freshman I've seen," said coach Carla Anderson, whose Eagles are a dark horse in the MMC. "The mental part of her game is very advanced. If she sees the (out of bounds), rather than think 'uh-oh,' she just swings."
Anderson also credits course management for helping Martinez consistently deliver low scores. "She's got the confidence to get herself out of problems out there," Anderson said. "She comes across as a golfer who is far more advanced than her age. She even helps some of the other girls with their game. They respect her."
Davis water polo
Tyler Bolton can put himself in the optimum position to score a goal, positioning himself in front of the goal and forcing the defender to try and reach around for the ball -- but it does no good without teammates.
"What helps the most is that my teammates know when to pass the ball to me and when not to," said the two-meter player, who scored 40 goals as the Spartans went 4-2 last week. "Guys like Gregor Krzyminski and Joshua Delgado, they're pretty quick to recognize a good opportunity."
The best feeling a two-meter player can have, the 6-foot, 185-pound senior said, is to "turn" a defender. Bolton moves his body in the water, putting the defender behind him and creating a clear shot.
"That's where size and strength becomes important, because it's very aggressive in there," said Bolton, who had a season-high 10 goals in a win over West. "There are times you go against double- and triple-teams."
Kirsten Duren and her Ripon High volleyball team showed size doesn't matter when it comes to quality volleyball. Despite being one of the shortest outside hitters and playing for one of the smaller teams in the event, Duren and the Indians went 8-0 while winning the Central Valley Classic.
After going 3-0 in pool play without dropping a game, the Indians beat Western Athletic Conference favorite Hilmar and Atwater to earn a berth in the championship round. Victories over Sonora and Buhach Colony put the Indians in the final, where they beat Trans-Valley League rival Escalon.
The 5-foot-3-inch Duren, The Bee's 2007 Player of the Year, was the tournament MVP and has averaged 3.2 kills and a block per game while leading Ripon to its hot start. Ripon is 19-3 this season, two losses coming at the High Sierra Tournament in Reno and the other a five-game setback to Christian Brothers on Wednesday.
Many teams will play a difficult non-league schedule to get ready for the challenges that might await in the playoffs. Western Athletic Conference teams, however, get all the competition they need while playing their conference schedule.
The WAC rules Division V soccer in the Sac-Joaquin Section -- it supplied both teams to last year's section final, where Livingston beat Patterson -- and it looks like the WAC is a power once again.
Patterson established its spot last week, as Rodrigo Aldana scored twice in a 3-0 win over defending Trans-Valley League champ Escalon. He also scored once in a 3-1 loss to Pitman. The Tigers (8-2) won their WAC opener Tuesday, beating Orestimba 9-0.
"Rodrigo uses his speed to receive balls from our midfielders and his ball control to create shots on his own," said coach Greg Hartsell, whose forward has 18 goals this fall and 41 in three varsity seasons.
-- RICHARD T. ESTRADA