Two Yosemite High School teams - girls volleyball and soccer - have been named CIF State Academic Champions, a first-time feat for Yosemite since the academic awards were established four years ago.
The selections are made from the 1,590 schools in the state in all divisions, according to CIF Central Section Commissioner Jim Crichlow.
The team members on both the volleyball and soccer teams had an accumulative 3.9 Grade Point Average (GPA) during the season.
Other Central Section teams honored with the state recognition were the Liberty/Bakersfield girls swim team (3.95 GPA), Clovis North’s girls tennis team (3.92), and Kingsburg’s softball team (3.83).
According to Critchlow, the five Central Section teams being selected for the honor is the largest number of schools from the section to receive the prestigious recognition, with the highest previous number being two.
Members of the North Sequoia League Championship volleyball team, coached by Michele Chenowith, included four sophomores and nine juniors.
Team members are Samantha Rockey, Jordyn Jackson, Chloe Duke, Katherine Bayt, Rachel Loveland, Siena Oswald, Sayda Taylor, Tiffany Cacy, Karee Smith, Hannah Hurtado, Savannah Bohna, Alli Ruiz and Bailry Hullender.
“Wow, this is really cool,” Chenowith said of hearing of the CIF state recognition for her team. “This is something the team, the school and the town can be very proud of. I’ve always known what an extra spectacular team this is, not only in athletic talent but also in the kind of people they are. They are caring and giving but driven and committed. Their time management is off the charts. Most of these girls are two and three-sport athletes plus involved in extra curricular activities such as drama, clubs, and church and still they manage to be CIF State Academic Champions. I’m so lucky and proud to be able to work with these girls and this team. Every last one of them is special to me.”
And with no seniors, Chenowith will have the entire team return next year for a run at another NSL championship and a Central Section D-III title.
Members of this year’s soccer team, which placed second in the NSL, coached by Vanessa Jasper, included just one senior, Riley Ashton (ranked No. 2 academically in the senior class), five sophomores, and 12 juniors.
Team members are Ashton, Charlotte Borough, Peyton Garner, Kendall Miller, Gabi Stegg, Karee Smith, Monique Ades, Sayda Taylor, Tiffany Cacy, Kara Eckstein, Claire Oetinger, Sara Meeks, Natalie Lawrence, Celeste Otero, Addison McCully, Baily Hullender, Daytona Tuso and Savannah Bohna.
“These girls aren’t just amazing athletes but incredibly hard working students,” Jasper said. “Their dedication to their education is impressive. They have big goals on and off the field, which makes me very proud to be alongside them and be their coach.”
Five of the girls, Smith, Taylor, Cacy, Bohna, and Hullender played on both teams.
Yosemite High Athletic Director Rusty Oetinger said the two teams exemplify the standards that have been set for athletes at Yosemite High.
“Yosemite High School has a rich history of academics and coupled now with athletics, the student athletes of the school have raised the bar to a new level,” Crichlow said.