Orange Cove High's Jose Segura has set the pace for small schools scholar-athlete excellence in the Central Section.
Segura, in what Titans athletic director Miguel Herrera called "perhaps the most remarkable feat in the school's young history," was named the section's boys Scholar-Athlete of the Year in a ceremony at River Island Country Club in Porterville.
And Riverdale's softball team (3.47 grade-point average), for the third year in a row, led a small-schools run of section team academic champions.
Others were Central Valley Christian (3.53) in baseball, Immanuel in boys (3.55) and girls (3.77) track and field, and Mission Prep (3.38) in boys volleyball.
Also winning were Lemoore (3.32) in boys golf, Sanger (3.70) in boys tennis, Yosemite (3.50) in boys swimming and Hanford West (3.64) in girls swimming.
In the individual scholar-athlete competition, Liberty-Bakersfield's Mariah Alvidrez won the girls division and the $1,000 award that went with it.
Other girls finalists, each receiving $300, were Buchanan's Chelsea Janzen, Mission Prep's Ally Kersthold, Granite Hills' Zoe Kisling, Edison's Anne Rempel and Porterville's Corianne Snyder.
Other boys finalists were Clovis West's Michael Basara, Porterville's Joey McIntire, Buchanan's Heath Reedy, Roosevelt's Johnny Sanchez and Edison's Max Schuh.
Segura represented by far the smallest school of the finalists in Orange Cove and its 667-student enrollment.
The 4.0 student, who will play soccer at UC Irvine, is the five-year school's first Division I athlete.
"Jose has proven that even a kid from the small town of Orange Cove is able to stand out in a room full of elite students and future intercollegiate athletes," Herrera said. "Most of the publicity that is cast on the town of Orange Cove is done so in a negative manner, but he has shone a bright light on this town."
Section spring team academic leaders:
Baseball: 1, CVC (3.53); 2, Yosemite (3.38); 3, Sanger (3.25); 4, Tulare Western (3.19); 5, Taft (3.16).
Softball: 1, Riverdale (3.47); 2, Immanuel (3.36); 3, Yosemite (3.35); 4, CVC (3.31); 5, Hanford West (3.28).
Boys golf: 1, Lemoore (3.32); 2, Taft (3.30); 3, Kingsburg (3.28); 4, Sanger (3.24); 5, Garces (3.22).
Boys track/field: 1, Immanuel (3.55); 2, Mission Prep (3.47); 3, CVC (3.29); 4, Yosemite (3.28); 5, Sanger (3.22).
Girls track/field: 1, Immanuel (3.77); 2, Mission Prep (3.54); 3, Redwood (3.47); 4, CVC (3.47); 5, Sanger (3.39).
Boys tennis: 1, Sanger (3.70); 2, Redwood (3.63); 3, Frontier (3.56); 4, Immanuel (3.43); 5, Tulare Western (3.33).
Boys swimming: 1, Yosemite (3.50); 2, Tulare (3.32); 3, Sanger (3.29); 4, Redwood (3.23); 5, Tulare Western (3.22).
Girls swimming: 1, Hanford West (3.64); 2, Immanuel (3.63); 3, Garces (3.44); 4, Frontier (3.43); 5, tie, Sanger, Lemoore (3.42).
Boys volleyball: 1, Mission Prep (3.38); 2, Sanger (3.10).
Selma's Keenya McDaniel, in track and field, has signed a letter of intent to play at San Francisco State.
Memorial's Bryce Martinho, a second-team Bee basketball All-Star, signed with Cal Lutheran.
Clovis West All-Tri River Athletic Conference defensive back Kevin Grossman signed with Southern Oregon.
Bigelow nominated for bowl
Brendon Bigelow, a two-way standout in football for Central, has been nominated to play in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 8 at the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas.
He is one of 400 nominees, 90 of whom ultimately will be selected to play in a game televised on NBC.
The nation's best seniors-to-be were nominated by the U.S. Army All-American Bowl selection committee. The final East-West team rosters will be announced progressively in the fall.