Yosemite High School seniors Chris Grant and Dahila Lopez have been named the school's male and female Athletes of the Year. The announcement was made by YHS principal Ed Van Hoose at the June 4 end of year awards rally in Baker Gymnasium.
Grant played soccer and ran cross country for the Badgers, being named to the North Sequoia League All League first team in soccer both his junior and senior year. The Badgers were 9-12-4 on the season this year and 4-4-2 in league, finishing in third place. The 6-foot-2, 150-pounder was co-captain of the team and scored nine goals on the season.
Rick Lemberg, YHS soccer coach, said Grant is one of the top three soccer players he has ever coached and is an exceptional young man.
"Chris worked as hard or harder than anyone in practice and was always willing to work to improve his game," Lemberg said. "But as good as Chris is as a soccer player, he is an even better young man. He regularly took a beating during the games, as most center midfielders do, but I never saw him lose his temper or retaliate and he never complained He just played soccer."
Lemberg said Grant was like a coach on the field.
"He not only played soccer well, he understood the game and could see what adjustments our team needed to make," Lemberg said.
Grant, academically ranked No. 1 in the senior class with a 4.54 GPA, placed second in the North Sequoia League Cross Country Championship meet to help the Badgers win the league title.
"It's a honor being named the male athlete of the year," Grant said. "I would like to thank my soccer and cross country coaches and my teammates for all the great experiences I had with them while at Yosemite."
Grant will attend California Polytechnic College in San Luis Obispo, majoring in mechanical engineering and hopes to play on the school's club soccer team.
The 6-foot-1 Lopez was a three year varsity letterman in both volleyball and basketball for the Badgers. She was a first team All-League NSL selection in volleyball in her junior and senior year and basketball this past season.
The only senior on both teams, she was the captain of the volleyball team and co-captain of the basketball team.
In a win over Liberty this year, she had 19 kill shots, four ace serves and two blocked shots.
Sonja Mazaira, Yosemite's varsity volleyball coach, said Lopez was dedicated, a hard worker, and a quiet leader who lead by example.
"Dahila was moved up to varsity as a sophomore and started out pretty timid on offense but soon developed into a solid all-around player," Mazaira said.
"Dahila has a great disposition and always has a smile on her face," Mazaira said. "She has a big heart for children and hopes to go into teaching which she will excel at."
On the basketball court, Lopez helped the Badgers win a league title, leading the team in scoring with 225 points (8.7 points per game average), along with 183 rebounds (seven per game average) and 57 steals. She was a candidate for the NSL player of the year award.
The team went 16-10 and 9-1 in league. It was the 11th consecutive year the Badgers have shared or won outright the NSL title.
Lopez was selected to the all-tournament teams at the Selma Lions Shootout Tournament in early December and KSA/ESPN Orlando Basketball Tournament during Christmas break.
YHS basketball coach Gary Blate said Lopez through the end of her junior year, was committed to playing volleyball, but last summer her priorities changed and she "worked more diligently on improving her basketball skills. She also was the team leader in our fund-raising activities for our trip to Orlando."
Lopez she said was honored to be named Yosemite's female athlete of the year.
"I loved being a Badger for four years and enjoyed the friendships and great memories I made with all my teammates and coaches," Lopez said.
She will play for the county in the 43rd Annual City-County All Star basketball game at 5:30 p.m. June 19 at Hoover High School. Thirteen players were selected from 38 county schools to play on the team. The city leads the series 31-11. The boys all-star game will follow at 7:30 p.m.
Lopez will attend Reedley Community College in the fall with plans to play on the Tiger volleyball and basketball teams.
The Athlete of the Year selections are made annually by the YHS coaching staff.
Grant and YHS golfer Jordan Keyser, were nominated for the CIF Central Section Scholar-Athlete of the Year award.
Keyser, who will play for the University of Nevada, Reno, in the fall, was named the NSL's Most Valuable Player for the fourth consecutive year A feat never attained in the history of the school or league.
Grant is the son of Brian and Julie of North Fork.
Lopez is the daughter Yosemite varsity basketball coach Steve Lopez of Oakhurst and Sylvia Griffin of Coarsegold, and Keyser is the daughter of Kent and Shelly Keyser of Ahwahnee.
Yosemite wins Ginsburg Cup for 9th consecutive year
Yosemite High, for the ninth consecutive year, won the North Sequoia League Ginsburg Cup, for having the most successful athletic program in the league.
Yosemite received 181 points with league championships in girls cross country, girls basketball, volleyball, boys and girls golf, boys track and field, and boys and girls swimming.
Points were also earned by the Badgers for placing second in the NSL in girls tennis and boys water polo.
Additional points were awarded for third place league finishes in girls cross country, girls water polo and girls track & field Fourth place finishes in girls volleyball, and boys and girls soccer And fifth place finishes in wrestling, boys basketball, baseball and boys tennis.
Girls teams at YHS were responsible for 92 points and the boys teams earned 89 towards the Ginsburg Cup.
Second place, with 160 points, was Liberty-Madera Ranchos with Kerman coming in third with 144 points.
Sierra ranked No. 4 with 135, edging out Chowchilla with 132. At the bottom of the league was Washington Union with 95 points.
The distinction has been given to Yosemite 18 times in the school's 38 year history.