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.

Too close for comfort? Wiggins’ return might make it awkward for Pebley

Fresno State women’s basketball players expressed much excitement about their former coach Adrian Wiggins returning to town.

Wiggins, the popular coach who helped transform Fresno State into an annual conference champion and a regular in the NCAA Tournament, might even come to a Fresno State game this season if his schedule permits.

Ex-Fresno State coach Adrian Wiggins after the Bulldogs won the WAC Tournament last year and advanced to a fifth straight NCAA Tournament.

He certainly would like to.

But would Wiggins’ return to the Save Mart Center create too much of a distraction for Fresno State?

Wiggins left Fresno State in March to coach at Ole Miss. Seven months later, he was fired. Then earlier this week, Wiggins resurface in Fresno by becoming the Clovis East High boys basketball coach starting next season.

Wiggins still remains much beloved by Fresno State players (many who he recruited), fellow coaches and administrators at the university and with Bulldogs fans.

Meanwhile, it’s obviously been a trying time for the Bulldogs while adjusting to new coach Raegan Pebley and the new system that focuses more on halfcourt play rather than the run-and-gun tempo and carefree, 3-point launching style that Fresno State once flourished with under Wiggins.

Fresno State did start to gain some traction lately and began Mountain West play with a huge road win at San Diego State, which was the preseason-conference favorite.

But until Pebley and her Bulldogs prove that they can succeed at least at the same rate as Wiggins and his Bulldogs did — maybe even win a game at the NCAA Tournament since that was one area Wiggins’ teams couldn’t achieve — there’ll be a portion of Fresno State fans who will want Wiggins back as the Fresno State women’s basketball coach.

First-year Fresno State coach Raegan Pebley has guided the Bulldogs to a 9-5 start, including a big win at San Diego State to start Mountain West play.

It definitely makes for a unique, if not an awkward situation for Pebley as she tries to establish her own place in the program, with her players and with the community.

Fresno State athletic director Thomas Boeh compared the Wiggins-Pebley situation to a retired coach staying in town while the new coach takes over.

Except in this case, the “retired coach” still has plenty of institutional knowledge, remains in the peak of his coaching

career, and has much support from many people.
“It’s mostly common for folks who’ve left a position to take a step back as a courtesy to the profession and to the program,” Boeh said. “We are very, very happy to have Raegan Pebley as our basketball coach. She’s a very high quality coach. We think she’s going to have terrific success.”