Defending tournament champion Liberty-Bakersfield will be there.
So will last season's Central Section Division I runner-up Centennial, as well as the reigning champs in Division's II (Madera), III (Independence) and IV (Central Valley Christian).
Those schools join most of the section's elite at this weekend's Clovis Volleyball Challenge, a 28-team tournament that annually serves as a sneak preview to the section playoffs in November.
The tournament starts at 2 p.m. today with play in seven pools of four, then splinters into gold, silver, bronze and consolation divisions when play resumes at 9 a.m. Saturday. All matches are at Clovis North High and Granite Ridge Intermediate.
"It's a great early-season challenge," said Clovis High coach Rich Lake, who runs the tournament. "The first day you get a good variety of games. Saturday is a grind, especially in that gold division. Teams that tend to be in the championship are teams that tend to be in the running for the Valley title."
Nine of The Bee's Top 10 teams are in the tournament, with the exception being top-ranked Clovis West, which typically skips this event.
Third-ranked Liberty -- led by its talented trio of KiKi Robinson (242 kills, 536 assists last year), Haylee Roberts (365 kills, 138 blocks) and Nikki Leonard (133 kills) -- enters as the favorite to win a second straight tourney title.
Lake said No. 2 Centennial, No. 4 Buchanan, No. 5 Stockdale and No. 6 Bakersfield will also bring top contenders.
The tournament also features No. 7 Frontier, No. 8 Clovis, No. 9 Central, No. 10 Lemoore, Bullard, Clovis East, Clovis North, Edison, Garces, Golden West, Hanford, Heritage-Brentwood, Hoover, Liberty-Madera Ranchos, Lincoln-Stockton, Monache, Sanger, Sierra, Tulare and Woodlake.
Girls tennis tourney nears
Four of last season's six section champions are among the 124-team field for the girls California Tennis Classic, set for Sept. 7-8 at courts all around the Fresno area.
Garces (D-I), Clovis North (D-II), Immanuel (D-III) and Bakersfield Christian (D-IV) are in what's believed to be the largest girls tennis tournament in California.
The tournament, which features teams from all over the state, will feature eight divisions and be played at 21 sites: Alta Sierra, Buchanan, Bullard, Central, Copper River, Clovis, Clovis East, Clovis North, Clovis West, Edison, Fresno City, Fresno High, Fowler, Granite Ridge, Hoover, Kastner, Madera, Sanger, Sierra Sport and Racquet Club's two locations, and Sunnyside.
The tournament is so deep that no section team is among the 16 competing in Division I.
Mt. Whitney to honor Olympian
Visalia Olympian Brooke Crain will be honored today before the start of Mt. Whitney's varsity football game against Tulare Western at Giant Automotive Mineral King Bowl.
The 2011 Mt. Whitney graduate reached the finals and placed eighth in the women's BMX competition at the recently completed London Games.
Crain is scheduled to enter the stadium around 7:15 p.m. on her racing bicycle and circle the track before receiving a plaque from school administration in front of the home section.
Crain, along with Avenal Olympic boxer Jose Ramirez, has been invited to attend Fresno State's season opening football game. The Bulldogs host Weber State at 7 p.m. Saturday.
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