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In the News - Friday, June 1, 2012

This week's front page



Only in the June 1 print edition:

Woodlake High School SPRING SPORTS 2012



Park packers repeat as World Champions

  Members of the Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks mule packers team said after winning last year, to repeat it all would depend on which team wanted it most. It didn’t take long to answer that question as the local park packers made it a clean sweep for the second consecutive year last weekend at the 43rd annual Bishop Mule Days.
  “We not only won all the same events we won last year but we also won the Governor’s Trophy for best parade performance,” said Greg Feltis, Park Service corrals manager. “All together, we brought home eight trophies and each team member won at least one buckle.”
   This year Nick Knutson won the World Champion Packer award. Dan Baker, who won World Champion Packer in 2011 in addition to his other awards, won the Individual Scramble award. Beth Lasswell and Tyler Willis also won team buckles and a share of the team trophies.
   Feltis said now that the team has repeated as World Champs it is uncertain whether they will return for a three-peat in 2013. He did say the pre-event fundraiser will continue and if the team doesn’t attend Mule Days, they will look for a worthwhile charity to donate the proceeds.

3R summer safety is subject of town meeting

  The Three Rivers Town Hall convenes June 4 for its final meeting before the traditional three-month summer hiatus. At the top of the agenda of Monday’s meeting are Lt. Robert Schimpf, Tulare County Sheriff’s Department, and Chief Joe Garcia, Tulare County Fire Department.
   This is the first meeting since the weekend closures have gone into effect at the Edison swimming hole on Kaweah River Drive below the Dinely Bridge. The new rules are already having an impact.
   At least one area business owner encountered some river users who in the past would have been at Edison Beach during the recent Memorial Day weekend. He reported that even though the weather was not yet hot enough to bring river users in huge numbers, several carloads parked at the Three Rivers Memorial Building and entered the river near Dinely Bridge.
  “They’re floating downriver and coming ashore on my property to use the beach and the facilities of the nearby campground,” he said. “It’s not fair to the paying guests who come expressly to use the river access here and enjoy the peace and quiet.”
   As the summer season heats up, especially on the weekends, there will be a growing number of day-users attempting to find places to access the river. It’s the recurring seasonal dilemma in Three Rivers: run the unlawful users out of one spot and they quickly find another.
Lt. Schimpf of the Sheriff’s Department’s patrol division is looking for suggestions on how to keep things orderly with resources and manpower limited by recent budget cuts. He will furnish an update on the Sheriff’s Department’s strategy this summer in Three Rivers.
   Chief Joe Garcia of the Tulare County Fire Department faces a different sort of challenge, which is how to prevent and stop fires.
   That requires educating each property owner as to what to do before and in the event of a major fire. It’s not if a fire will occur in a wildland area like Three Rivers, Chief Garcia said, but when and where.
   Several other speakers will also furnish updates, including Ken Greenspan who represents the Sheriff’s Department’s Volunteers in Patrol (VIP) program. Ken is looking for more volunteers to be involved with the VIPs, who provide a non-threatening presence when and where it’s not always practical or possible to have a regular sheriff’s deputy. The volunteers always have plenty of interesting things to do during the busy summer season.
   Supervisor Allen Ishida will also be on-hand to answer any questions related to county business. The town meetings begin at 7 p.m. at the Three Rivers Memorial Building.
   Any questions about the upcoming meeting or the Three Rivers Village Foundation that sponsors the Town Hall series may be directed to Lee Goldstein at 561-3204.

Park Service plans prescribed fires

  The first of two upcoming prescribed fires in Sequoia National Park may be ignited as early as Sunday, June 3, weather and air quality permitting. The first of the two fires is a segment treated annually in the vicinity of the Foothills Visitor Center located near park buildings and residences. By reducing fuels in these areas, fire personnel hope to prevent the spread of any accidental fires that might threaten people and structures as the hotter, drier weather takes hold of the fire season.
   Each of these burn segments are flash fires that take less than a day to complete but can suddenly produce serious smoke impacts that are alarming although of short duration. Ignitions are usually completed by afternoon.
   The second of the two planned fires is a 50-acre segment at Round Meadow in Giant Forest. When fire managers receive the go-ahead on this project, it should take no more than two days to complete. Some residual smoke may be present for several days following ignitions.
   Trails in the Round Meadow area will be subject to temporary closure. In the event that a fire is ignited, there may be periods of smoke drifting across the Generals Highway.
   The smoke from both burns will be seen when looking up-canyon from Three Rivers. Residual smoke could waft down-canyon with the nighttime breezes but the impact is projected to be minimal.

Senior athletes thrive during spring sports

  There is no question that playing sports is the training ground for success in school. Success in school often is an indicator for success in life.

   Consider the case of Kelsey Ruehling of Three Rivers. Kelsey is a senior who loves to compete in volleyball, basketball, and swimming and has devoted countless hours to practices, games, matches, and meets (she participated in three sports all four years at Woodlake High). She flat out enjoys playing the games and loves to compete.
  “She’s really had to work hard to fit it all in,” said Robert Ruehling, her father. “Some nights she’d get home late after a game and still have homework to do.”
   That takes dedication and commitment. It’s no accident that Kelsey ranks at the top of the 2012 graduating class, currently in the running for valedictorian.
   On April 30 in Porterville, Kelsey was one of six female scholar athletes who attended a banquet sponsored by the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF). Finalists were selected for outstanding athletic and scholastic achievements with potential scholarships to be awarded.
   Just being a finalist is a huge honor and again demonstrates that athletic success and academic achievement go hand-in-hand. Kelsey is the first Woodlake student athlete to receive this honor by the CIF.
   Next fall, Kelsey is headed to Guilford College in Greensboro, N.C.
  “She got some scholarship money and the coach really wanted Kelsey to play volleyball,” Robert said. “She’s already feeling that’s she’s part of the team.”
   The downside, her dad admitted, is that it might be a little more difficult trying to attend those volleyball tournaments on the East Coast.

   It looks like the investment that Wendy and Eric Woods of Three Rivers have made in sending their son, Philip, to football camp for the past four years is starting to pay dividends.   After competing at a regional combine in Oxnard, Philip, a Woodlake junior, was selected among 200 elite high school players from 4,200 prospects in 36 states to compete at the  Blue-Grey National Super Combine.
   By being selected, Philip will compete on Saturday, June 9, at the New England Patriots Fieldhouse training complex in Foxboro, Mass. The combine serves as a pool to select top players for North and South football teams to compete in the first-ever Blue-Gray National All-Star Game.
   If Philip is chosen, he will play January 12, 2013, in a game at Raymond James Stadium, home of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The game will be nationally televised by Fox Sports.
  In July, Philip has also been asked to attend a Cal Poly football camp where college coaches and recruiters will take a look at Philip’s quarterback skills. Wendy Woods, Philip’s mom, is thrilled at his prospects for landing a college scholarship.
  “Of the 200 athletes that were chosen for the national combine in the past, approximately 180 attended colleges and universities on full four-year scholarships,” Wendy said.
Philip’s grades are also good (3.5 cumulative GPA), it will be interesting to watch where this scholar athlete lands for his college career. Apparently, that career will include playing football.
   For the spring season, Philip played on the Tiger varsity baseball team as a pitcher and left fielder. Here is how his teammates and some of his fellow athletes on their teams fared in their respective spring sports.
   Varsity Baseball— Tiger baseball took a giant leap forward this season and with only two graduating seniors the future looks like a league championship or two might be in the (baseball) cards. Raul Quintero’s team finished with a 14-12 overall record and 10-5 in East Sequoia League (ESL) play, good for second place.
   Senior pitcher Miguel Reynoso garnered all-league first team honors as did Zachary Fesperman, a freshman infielder. Second team honors went to Ricardo Rodriguez, a sophomore outfielder; Eddie Pena also won second team honors as a freshman pitcher.
   Boys Tennis— Under the tutelage of first-year coach Scott Wood, the boys’ tennis program exceeded all expectations, finishing with an overall record of 6 wins and 7 losses. Coach Wood is looking forward to the new tennis courts, more players, and building a winning Tiger Tennis tradition.
   Tiger Swimming— The Lady Tigers went undefeated in league meets and were ESL champions for the 10th consecutive year. A big part of this year’s story was that coach Mary Leinsteiner stepped in for coach Tammy Dye, who is on maternity leave.
   The boys finished fourth at the league meet and, collectively, the Tiger swim team (girls and boys) came home with 28 medals. At a special poolside awards ceremony on Wednesday, May 29, Coach Mary, a Lindsay alum who lives in Exeter, passed out all the awards.
   The Girls’ MVP was junior Marie Potter of Three Rivers; Boys’ MVP was junior Nate Mesa; Coach’s Award went to Roxanne Davis, a sophomore; captains were Alex Gray and Kelsey Ruehling, both of Three Rivers.
  “The Tiger swimmers were a wonderful group of student athletes,” said Coach Mary. “Absolutely the cream of the crop.”
   Golf— It was déjà vu for the Woodlake Golf team as they repeated as ESL champs and were undefeated in league play. Ryder Rochin, a sophomore, was the top all-around golfer and just missed qualifying for the Valley tournament by a single stroke.
   Rochin’s 84 at the league meet was good enough for the league championship; Matt Hirni, a Three Rivers senior, shot a 93 and finished third.
   Track— The season was originally planned as 10 meets plus the Valley meet for qualifiers but two meets were cancelled because of rain. Thirty student athletes ran track, which was really surprising, according to Coach Jeff Beck of Three Rivers, because Woodlake is limited by the lack of not having a practice facility.
   Four Lady Tigers qualified for the Valley meet: Kianna Cunningham, a freshman (sprints); Jeannae Carmichael, senior (shot put); Jamerra Carmichael, sophomore (shot); and Luisa Ramirez (discus).
  “Most of the team are not seniors so next year, with a new track, we hope to contest for a league title,” said Coach Beck.
   Softball— The youthful Lady Tigers advanced to the second round of the playoffs before being eliminated by archrival Lindsay. This was a fitting send-off for coach Ramon Lara, who recently was hired as Woodlake’s new city manager and will not return as head coach. His   Lady Tigers were 17-7 overall and 10-4 in league play and finished one game out of first place and at least a tie for a league championship.


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