While championships were few and far between in the fall and winter sports seasons, it seemed the local high schools saved their best athletic performances for the spring season.
It's time to hand out the annual "Richies" and as always, it comes with a tip of the cap and recognition for a job well done.
Top Five Performers
Katelyne Herrington (Tokay High): Herrington set the Sac-Joaquin Section record in the 100-yard butterfly in 54.29 seconds. The mark was an automatic All-American time as was her clocking of 1:49.48 in the 200 freestyle. She also swam the opening leg in the 400 free relay in 51.35, another automatic All-American time.
Samantha Balentine (Lodi High): Balentine followed up her second consecutive Masters victory in the high jump with a third-place finish at the California state championships. After taking sixth in the state in 2008, the Flame senior became the first athlete in the history of Lodi High to medal in more than one state meet.
Kayla Carter (Lodi High): Carter won the 100-meter hurdles at the Masters meet and placed second in the 300 hurdles to advance to the state meet in both events. Her winning time of 14.18 seconds in the 100 hurdles bettered her own school record and her time of 43.43 in the 300 hurdles broke the old school mark held by Katelyn Grant.
Lodi High Softball: The Lady Flames capped a spectacular year by finishing fourth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs behind the pitching and power hitting of junior Tori Shepard and the catching and hitting of batterymate freshman catcher Kortney Solis, the San Joaquin Athletic Association's Most Valuable Player.
Jim Elliot Christian Softball: Coach Mike Pontius and his Lady Eagles captured the program's fifth section championship in six years behind the play of Harvest Christian League MVP catcher Jessica Fong and pitcher Emily Buhrkuhl.
Best of the Rest
Lauren Rivers (Tokay softball): Rivers was named the Tri-City Athletic League's MVP after hitting .409 with a slugging percentage of .559 to lead the Lady Tigers to their first-ever TCAL title and a section playoff berth.
Bobby Raymos and Zach Costa (Tokay baseball): Raymos and Costa capped off stellar senior seasons with outstanding performances on the pitcher's mound and with the bat while capturing All-TCAL first-team honors this spring.
Patrick Armstrong and Mike Toon (Lodi baseball): The Flames just missed qualifying for the section playoffs behind the pitching and hitting of Armstrong and Toon, both All-SJAA first-team selections.
Mason Vickers and Kona Olson (Jim Elliot Christian baseball): Both Vickers and Olson were All-HCL first-team selections for the Eagles, who finished second in the league standings and advanced to the playoffs.
Lodi High Soccer: Behind the outstanding play of SJAA MVP Mallory Engelhardt, MVP Attacker Lisa Michelucci, MVP Defender Kortney Agdeppa and MVP Goalkeeper Halle Ortiz, the Lady Flames won the SJAA title and reached the section playoff quarterfinals.
Victoria Patriquin (Tokay soccer): Patriquin was named the TCAL's MVP goalkeeper after recording six shutouts in league play and leading the Lady Tigers to a second-place finish and section playoff berth.
Holly Rankin (Tokay track and field): Rankin, a junior, was the TCAL 1600 and 3200 champion and finished 12th in the Masters meet.
Aaron Cardinio (Lodi track and field): After winning the SJAA 800 and 1600 titles, Cardinio just missed punching his ticket to the state meet by less than one second with a fourth-place finish at the Masters meet.
Jason Coupe (Galt track and field): Coupe led the Warriors to their first championship in 45 years by winning the Sierra Valley Conference 400 and 800 runs and taking third in the 800 at the Masters to qualify for the state meet.
Scott Tincup (Galt track and field): Tincup won the section Division II shot put and discus titles and missed advancing to the state meet in the discus by just one spot with a fourth-place finish at the Masters.
Matt Stewart (Elliot Christian golf): Stewart, the section's Division VI low medalist, proved he could compete with the big boys by carding an 82 and finishing fourth overall at the Masters tournament at The Reserve at Spanos Park in Stockton.
Kris Kiriu (Tokay golf): Kiriu shot a 72 at the section's South Division I tournament to help the Tigers to a fifth-place team finish and followed it up with a 85 to finish in a tie for seventh place at the Masters tournament.
Matt Machado, Jared Weeks, Jon Sharp (Lodi tennis): Machado and Weeks won the SJAA doubles championship for the Flames and Sharp finished as the singles runner-up to help the Flames win their first team championship since 2002.
Congratulations to the "Richies" winners and see everyone again in the fall.