Coach of the Year: Tim Vanni
The résumé: Vanni and assistants Juan Jiménez and Julian Palomino directed the most successful season in school history, culminating with a seventh-place finish with 73 points at the CIF State Championships. It was the first time the Panthers -- who had three medalists in 120-pound champion Mason Pengilly, 138-pound bronze medalist Martin Sandoval and 132-pound seventh-place finisher Abel Contreras -- finished in the Top 10 at state. With five state qualifiers, they had the third-best score among teams from the wrestling-rich Central Section. Also placed fourth at Masters, seventh at Yosemite Divisionals and won a fourth straight East Yosemite League title. "I'm real happy for the kids," Vanni said. "I know how hard they worked. I know how much it means to them to have some success."
Everyone's welcome: Vanni also heads Porterville's girls program, which captured the title at the inaugural section Masters tournament behind individual champions Sabrina Sandoval (108), Abigail Moreno (146), Natalee Ozuna (154) and Reyna Piña (165), and placed 11th at the state meet behind medalists Sandoval (third) and Ozuna (seventh). "We've had women come in the door and want to wrestle, and I'm not going to close the door on them," Vanni said. "I share a passion with anyone who wants to wrestle -- doesn't matter male or female."
Background: Vanni was a two-time state medalist at 95 pounds for rival Monache, finishing sixth in 1978 and second in 1979. He went on to wrestle at Cal State Bakersfield before becoming a two-time U.S. Olympian, placing fourth at the Seoul Games in 1988 and fifth at Barcelona in 1992.