For those of you who were not part of the 500 plus crowd to attend the volleyball match between Yosemite and Minarets Sept. 6 at YHS, you missed out. You would have witnessed two good Central Section programs.
The Badgers, deep in talent, are coached by Michele Chenowith and currently have an impressive 16-1 record. Last week the team was ranked No. 3 in D-III by the Fresno Bee.
Minarets (3-2), coached by Jessica Carter, are ranked No. 3 by the Bee in D-IV.
Make no mistake, when it comes to winning section titles, volleyball is king for both Yosemite and Minarets. They are the flagship sports for both schools.
For Yosemite, no sports program has been more successful in winning section titles. The Badgers have won six, the last in 2004. Chenowith won two of those in the 90s. This year Chenowith has only lost one game with a D-III team with no seniors.
Last year YHS was 30-11 losing to Mission Oak in the D-III playoffs. Outside of Ellen Peterson’s cross country programs, no Badger sport has won more league titles than volleyball.
Since 2011, Minarets has made the playoffs every year, winning two section titles (2012-2013). Last year Carter’s team just missed winning their third section title, losing 3-2 to rival Sierra.
YHS swept Minarets 3-0 last Tuesday 25-15, 26-24, 25-22. The Mustangs never quit, as they fought back from deep deficits, especially in the third game and almost pulled off an improbable comeback.
Chenowith and Carter are total contrasts on the floor. Chenowith sits very stoically, confidently in command. Carter doesn’t sit much. She is a vocal and passionate leader.
I’m proud of both coaches and both programs - fans, parents and players you should be too. It was a great atmosphere. The Badger gym was loud with boisterous student sections. This is turning into a great the best of rivalries with elite programs. All the best the rest of the year to both the Badgers and Mustangs.
Badgers and Grizzlies renew Gold Nugget Bowl
On Friday, the Badgers travel to Mariposa to renew the Gold Nugget Bowl, a storied rivalry. During the 80s and 90s the two teams played each other regularly. Both were small schools. YHS grew and played in a different section. With the arrival of Minarets, the YHS enrollment is now small enough to resurrect the rivalry.
Credit the coaches and athletic directors of Yosemite and Mariposa for making this happen. It is long overdue. The Badger/Grizzly rivalry makes sense on so many levels. Both schools are close, travel costs are minimal and area businesses will benefit.
It doesn’t end there. After Mariposa, the Badgers and Minarets go at it on Sept. 23 at Minarets. On Nov. 4 Sierra travels to Oakhurst to continue the Mountain Bowl tradition. Despite YHS departing from the North Sequoia League in football, both schools are to be commended for continuing this historic rivalry.
For reasons mentioned above, the rivalries will benefit all mountain programs. Rivalries are fun. Fans are louder at rivalry games. I would love to see a league that would include Le Grand, Mariposa, Sierra, Minarets and YHS. It makes a lot of sense geographically and fiscally. It has been a fun season so far. The rivalries make it that much better.