El Diamante climbs to No. 12 in NFCA softball poll

El Diamante High’s softball team climbed one spot to No. 12 in this week’s USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association Top 25.

The Miners (27-1-1) are also ranked No. 6 nationally in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25, No. 9 in the MaxPreps computer poll and No. 12 in the state by CalHiSports.

El Diamante — which saw coach Travis Roebuck step down for personal reasons April 26 and replaced by former coach Brad Pendergast, closes the regular season Friday by hosting Golden West. Central Section playoff pairings, where the Miners are expected to be top-seeded in Division I, will be announced Saturday.

CVC’s De Groot named girls soccer coach of the year by California Coaches Association

Jacob De Groot has gone 159-30-7 with four Central Section titles in seven seasons as Central Valley Christian’s girls soccer coach.

Central Valley Christian’s Jacob De Groot has been named the Coach of the Year for girls soccer by the California Coaches Association.

De Groot will be recognized for lifetime achievement during the CCA’s 56th annual Hall of Fame/Coach of the Year Awards Night, scheduled for June 15 at Fresno’s Radisson Hotel and Conference Center.

De Groot is 159-30-7 with seven league and four Central Section titles in his seven seasons as the Cavaliers’ coach.

The CCA will also honor Central Section historian Bob Barnett with its Ed Strelow Award media award.

Dinner tickets are $45. Cocktail hour starts at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 and the awards program at 8.

Details: Rob Grailou (650) 341-2484.

Central Section’s Area boys tennis tournament set seeds

Bullard High’s Viran Batth and the Clovis West team of Patrick Huls and Michael Sasso were giving the No. 1 seeds in singles and doubles, respectively, for the North Area individual boys tennis tournament.

The event, set for Friday and Saturday at Buchanan, is one of three area tournaments that will advance four automatic qualifiers in both singles and doubles to the Central Section Individual Championships. Each area tournament will also produce four singles and doubles wild cards, with four of those 12 total wild cards being selected for the 16-player/team fields for the section championships, scheduled for May 17-18 at Wasco.

The top eight singles seeds — including No. 2 Allen Wang of Buchanan, No. 3 Zain Amro of Buchanan, No. 4 Alex Tecescu of Clovis North, No. 5 Jayke Ancheta of Clovis West, No. 6 Lincoln Hoppe of Bullard, No. 7 Dhillon Chongtoua and No. 8 Gaston Villanueva of Liberty-Madera Ranchos — all have first-round byes.

Doubles seeds No. 2 Andy Vang-Omar Hernandez of Clovis East, No. 3 Ben Liang-Josh Comes of Buchanan, No. 4 Alex Corgiat-Teddy Apler of Bullard, No. 5 Pao Vang-Brian Chongtoua of Clovis East, No. 6 Weston Shipstead- Alex Julian of Bullard, No. 7 Jarrett Tajima-Daniel Garcia of Central and No. 8 Parker Ellis-Willis Pesl of Clovis also have opening-round byes.

Action starts at 2 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday.

In the Central Area, Central Valley Christian’s Andrew Gong and Monache’s Rocky Phaphol and Matt Ecobiza were given the top singles and doubles seeds for a tournament scheduled for Friday and Saturday in Visalia. Doubles matches are at Redwood on Friday and Golden West on Saturday. Singles matches both days are at Golden West. Action starts at 2 p.m. Friday and noon Saturday.

Other singles seeds include No. 2 Bailey Gong of CVC, No. 3 Evan Morritse of Redwood, No. 4 Raymond Lee of Hanford West, No. 5 Juan Carlos Silva of Golden West, No. 6 Sam Orozco of Monache, No. 7 Giacoma Catalina of Porterville and No. 8 Chris Popa of Sanger.

The other doubles seeds are: No. 2 Patrick Smith-Edsel Antunez of Selma, No. 3 Connor Bennett-Robert Cardenas of Sanger, No. 4 Jared Lavinder-Spencer Jones of Mt. Whitney, No. 5 Jason Alonzo-David Ivancovich of Monache, No. 6 Ryan Leasure-Robert Yang of Hanford West, No. 7 Winston Thao-Luciano Moreno of Granite Hills and No. 8 Andres Villarreal-Cooper Short of Sanger.

Lemoore’s Pendleton part of “United 4 Wrestling” exhibition

Former Lemoore High and Oklahoma State wrestler Chris Pendelton will participate in a friendly dual meet between the U.S. and Iran dubbed “United 4 Wrestling.”

Former Lemoore High standout Chris Pendleton is among the 14 participants in the “United 4 Wrestling” friendly exhibition dual between the United States and Iran scheduled for May 19 at the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena.

Pendleton will square off against Iran’s Hamed Tatari in a 211-pound match. Pendleton was a CIF State Champion in 2000 for Lemoore before going on to win two NCAA Division I titles while at Oklahoma State.

The U.S. team is led by Jordan Burroughs and Coleman Scott, who captured gold at 163 pounds and bronze at 132 pounds, respectively, during the 2012 Olympics.

Leading the Iranian team is two-time world champion Mehdi Taghavi (145.5 pounds) and 2012 Olympic bronze medalists Ehsan Lashgari (185) and Komeil Ghasemi (264.5).

Ghasemi will face the U.S.’s Tervel Dlagnev in a rematch of their Olympic bronze medal match.

Tickets — priced at $13, $23 and $63 — are available at ticketmaster.com or (800) 745-3000.

COS baseball coach wins 500th game

Jody Allen is 500-351-3 in 20 seasons as College of the Sequoias baseball coach.

The combined six-hit shutout pitched by Erick McRae and two relievers in College of the Sequoias’ 2-0 victory over Modesto in a single-elimination play-in game Tuesday did more than just extend the Giants’ run in the Northern California regional baseball playoffs — it also gave coach Jody Allen a milestone win.

Allen, already the school’s winningest coach, improved to 500-351-3 in his 20 seasons at Sequoias. Allen is a former Hoover High, Kings River Community College and Fresno State player who has led the Giants to 11 playoff appearances and five top-20 finishes since replacing Al Branco as coach in 1994.

The Giants (20-17) advance to a best-of-3 series at No. 2-seeded Sierra starting Friday. Fourth-seeded Fresno City is hosting No. 13 Laney.

Clovis West Invitational set to host 1,400-plus swimmers and divers this weekend

More than 1,400 swimmers and divers representing 41 high schools will converge in Fresno on Friday and Saturday for the 26th annual Clovis West Invitational.

The meet — featuring varsity and junior varsity competition — begins at 8:30 a.m. Friday with diving and continues at 8:30 a.m. Saturday with swimming.

Top area swimmers entered include Sanger freshman Jillian Hatch (200 free, 500 free), Clovis senior Hannah Harvey (50 free, 500 free) and Clovis West senior McKenna Fife (200 individual medley, 100 back) and junior Mary Brooks (50 free, 100 free).

On the boys side, top locals are Clovis senior Ryan Perry (50 free, 100 free) and Clovis West junior Justin Wright (200 free, 100 Fly). Golden Eagles coach Adam Reid said Wright is a good bet to set the meet record in the 500 free having already swam an automatic All-American time in the event this season.

St. Ignatius College Prep of San Francisco and Westlake are the top out-of-town schools entered.

Cooper Academy teacher receives gift from students in prep for Boston Marathon

Jesus Campos will warm up for Monday’s Boston Marathon in a T-shirt signed and presented by his students from Cooper Academy.

Cooper, a Spanish teacher, was given the T-shirt during a school send-off on Friday. Cooper Academy students plan to monitor Campos’ progress during the race via a Boston Marathon app.

Jesus Campos shares a smile after placing first in the men’s 25-29 age category during the Two Cities Marathon & Half Sunday morning in November.

“Mr. Campos is a great role model for our kids,” Principal Kristine Belcher said in a news release. “Mr. Campos frequently brings his running experience into the classroom, talking to students about how our work in the classroom is like training for a marathon — it is about building the skills necessary to be lifelong learners.”

Campos placed first in the Two Cities Marathon last November in 2:24, and has competed in three half marathons and a full marathon this school year.

BYU adds Reedley native to football staff

Reedley native Geoff Martzen has been hired as BYU’s Football Player Personnel & On-Campus Recruiting Coordinator.

Martzen joins the Cougars’ staff after serving as a recruiting specialist at Boise State and Alabama. He assisted in the recruiting coordination of the 2012 high school and junior college class at Alabama that was rated No. 1 in the nation by Rivals.com.

“Geoff is young and energetic and has gained a great understanding of successful recruiting processes from his experiences at Alabama and Boise State,” BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall said. “We are always trying to get better, and I believe Geoff will help us do that. I’m looking forward to his contributions to our program.”

Martzen previously was an assistant coach for two years at Sunnyside High and for three years at Reedley High.

“I’m excited about this opportunity at BYU,” Martzen said. “I’m eager to get to work and build upon the great experiences I’ve had at Alabama and Boise State. I feel fortunate to be able to work with some of the nation’s top football programs, and I’m especially looking forward to working with the great young men that make up the BYU program.”

El Diamante softball earns national attention

El Diamante High senior pitcher Sierra Hyland is the MaxPreps/NFCA prep softball player of the week for the West Region.

El Diamante High’s dominating run through last week’s Clovis Easter Classic softball tournament has garnered national accolades for the program.

The Miners (17-7-1) debuted at No. 17 on Tuesday in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings after a 7-0 run through the 23-team tournament that was capped by a 10-0, mercy-rule victory over Bullard for the title. El Diamante outscored tournament opponents Centennial, Clovis West, Memorial, Taft, Mt. Whitney, Clovis and Bullard by a combined score of 70-8.

On Monday, Miners pitcher Sierra Hyland was named one of four regional MaxPreps/NFCA National High School Players of the Week.

The senior bound for Cal Poly went 4-0 with a 0.56 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 25 tournament innings. Hyland, player of the week for the West Region, also went 8-for-16 with two doubles, two triples, seven RBIs and seven runs.

For the season, Hyland is 13-0 with 104 strikeouts in 88 2/3 innings while batting .529 with six doubles, four triples, a home run and 17 RBIs.

Sakaguchi places 5th at NCAA D-I Wrestling Championships

Oregon State junior Scott Sakaguchi earned his highest career finish at the NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships, placing fifth at 149 pounds Saturday in Des Moines, Iowa.

The seventh-seeded Sakaguchi concluded his second straight All-American season with a victory, edging Missouri’s unseeded Drake Houdashelt 6-5 in the fifth-place match. He placed seventh at 149s last season.

Sakaguchi (30-8) opened the day with a shot at placing third, but dropped a 4-2 decision to Columbia’s fifth-seeded Steve Santos in the consolation semifinals. Santos went on to finish third.

A California high school champion at 145 pounds for Clovis in 2009, Sakaguchi has a three-year college career record of 94-28.