Compared to the fall and winter seasons, this spring was the best for local prep teams in terms of championships, playoffs, section titles and state berths.
It's time to break out the spring "Richies" for outstanding athletic performances, and as usual, the recognition comes with a pat on the back and recognition for a job well done.
Highly regarded Flames sophomore shortstop Joey Armstrong hit .494 with 39 runs scored to go with 28 RBIs, earning him the San Joaquin Athletic Association's Most Valuable Player award.
UOP-bound Tori Shepard concluded her brilliant four-year varsity career by being named the SJAA Pitcher of the Year for the third consecutive season. She was 18-5 with an 0.31 ERA this year and finished with a lifetime 55-17 record, 0.36 ERA and 846 strikeouts.
Matt Vera's booming bat in a season in which he hit .667 in league play with five doubles, three triples, three homers and 20 RBIs in 10 games resulted in the senior shortstop being named the Tri-City Athletic League Most Valuable Player.
Kelsey McCarty's senior season was her best, hitting .418 with nine doubles, six triples and two home runs. For her efforts, the senior third baseman/shortstop was named to the All-TCAL first team.
Elliot Christian baseball
John Johnson was named the Harvest Christian League Most Valuable Player after posting a .425 batting average with 40 RBIs and three home runs. The outfielder/pitcher also excelled on the mound with a 1.95 ERA.
Elliot Christian softball
Emily Buhrkuhl, only a junior, led the Lady Eagles to their third consecutive section crown by pitching eight no-hitters and one perfect game. She finished 16-4 with an 0.22 ERA and 268 strikeouts. She also hit .418 at the plate and drove in 19 runs as the HCL's Most Valuable Player.
Pete Pendley led the Sierra Valley Conference with a .512 average, eight doubles, seven triples, three homers and 20 RBIs. He was named to the All-SVC first team.
Riley Sexton, a junior pitcher/infielder, hit .423 and led the Warriors with 30 hits, including three homers, four doubles, four triples and 24 RBI and was selected to the All-SVC first team.
Madison Gritsch was named the SJAA MVP and helped the Flames to a section playoff berth along with teammates Amie Gillett (SJAA Offensive MVP), Ally Drake (Midfield MVP), Michelle Russell (Defensive MVP) and Halle Ortiz (MVP Goalie).
All-TCAL picks Mykenzie Mattneis and Holly Rankin were instrumental in the Tigers finishing second in the TCAL and advancing to the first round of the playoffs along with Kristena Moules, Sydney Correa and Jenna Baggs, also All-TCAL picks.
Elliot Christian soccer
After a season in which she led the Eagles to a section playoff berth with 25 goals and six assists on just sixty shot attempts, Jennifer Glasman was named the HCL MVP.
Kaitlyn Baptista, a senior fullback, led the Warriors with eight assists and two goals and Sydney Oliver, a senior goalie had four shutouts in the cage and both were named to the All-SVC first team.
Galt track and field
Jason Coupe, the SVC and Masters 800-meter champion, landed a berth in the state meet and made school history by becoming the second Masters champion and first since Pete Mansur won the pole vault in 1979.
Lodi track and field
Only in her first year of high school, Cassidy Daley took second in the 3200- meter run at the Masters and was the fastest of the four freshmen at the state meet where she placed 19th in the 3200.
Lodi swimming and diving
Jake Lear, Devin Nishizaki and Cayla Nishizaki each won two individual races at the SJAA championships to help both the Flame boys and girls swimming teams win the overall team title over second-place Lincoln. Lear won the 100 free and 100 breast, Nishizaki captured the 100 back and 200 free and his sister, Cayla, took both the girls 50 and 100 freestyle events.
Tokay swimming and diving
Mary Griffith made giant strides in her sophomore year, winning the 100 butterfly and 200 freestyle at the Sac-Joaquin Section championship meet, just narrowly beating out her teammate, Katelyne Herrington, in both events. Griffith was also the TCAL champion in the 200 and 500 free races.
Elliot Christian golf
Matt Stewart was named the HCL MVP in leading the Eagles to their first-ever golf championship. He also placed third in the section Division VI tournament to earn a prestigious Masters berth where he finished with an 84.
Tarik Maggio, who finished fourth at the TCAL tournament, came on strong to card an 82 at the Division I South tournament to qualify for the Masters, where he shot a 75 to place fifth.
Cole Range shot a 91 at the SJAA tournament to grab one of six berths in the Division I tournament, where he carded an 87 for the best finish by a Lodi golfer this season.
Jon Sharp, the Flames' No. 1 singles player for the past four seasons, finished his career by winning the SJAA tournament after finishing a close second last year.
Lawrence Valdez was the TCAL singles champion and made it to the first round of the section tournament before being eliminated.