High School Sports

Tiny CVC elevated to big D-I in girls volleyball

Central Valley Christian's Vanessa Knevebaard, left, cheers from the sideline standing next to then-Cavaliers coach Meghan Warkentin, right, while playing against Clovis High Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 in Visalia, Calif.
Central Valley Christian's Vanessa Knevebaard, left, cheers from the sideline standing next to then-Cavaliers coach Meghan Warkentin, right, while playing against Clovis High Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014 in Visalia, Calif. Fresno Bee Staff Photo

Five, four, three, two, one – boom! – and there the contentious rise is complete for Central Valley Christian High’s girls volleyball team in the Central Section.

A Division V program 13 years ago but progressively elevated since, the Cavaliers are now D-I, effective next season, following the section’s latest realignment in fall sports based on competitive equity as opposed to enrollment.

Adjustments up or down were determined on a three-year point system combining playoff seeding and results.

The section does offer a 15-day window to appeal following the Board of Managers vote, which was Tuesday. And CVC will file one, coach Sarah Oskam said.

The appeal process, judged by section Commissioner Jim Crichlow, follows a nine-point criterion, including enrollment reduction, enrollment compared to others in the division, and graduated starters.

270 Central Valley Christian enrollment

For now, CVC faces this as a 270-student private school seeded virtually exclusively with homegrown athletes – as opposed to imported stars commonplace at private schools statewide and nationally: It will be required in the postseason to compete against 12 public schools averaging 2,550 students in addition to private Garces (550).

That includes Central (4,040), Bakersfield (2,860), Clovis (2,860), Buchanan (2,700) and Bullard (2,540).

2,550Average enrollment of 12 public schools CVC will compete against in Division I girls volleyball

“Yeah, it’s frustrating for sure,” Oskam said, pausing. “Very frustrating. We’ll have to find a way to step up to the level of competition, but it’s hard to do that and stay focused when you feel it’s so unfair.”

Most troubling for Oskam is knowing the section’s competitive equity model is uncommon elsewhere in the state: “I think I’d be a whole lot happier with the system if it were statewide and on par with other sections.”

We’ll have to find a way to step up to the level of competition, but it’s hard to do that and stay focused when you feel it’s so unfair.

Central Valley Christian girls volleyball coach Sarah Oskam

The CIF State Federated Council did pass overwhelmingly Friday a proposal to implement competitive-equity division placement statewide for state playoffs in football, basketball, volleyball and soccer.

The state’s South region already had been using the model for a second year, and the council, on a 119-19 vote, forced the North to replace its enrollment-based practice with one consistent with the South.

The CIF allows sections to operate their postseasons as they wish.

And for CVC volleyball, that presents the daunting challenge of being a section finalist just to qualify for state.

The Cavs, under Oskam’s predecessor and current assistant, Meghan Warkentin, placed second in the state in D-III in 2013.

Warkentin won four section titles in three divisions, ranging from D-IV to D-II, in five years with the program through 2014. And she had succeeded Rhonda DeRuiter, who had gone 6 for 6 in section D-V championships before shifting to Clovis West.

Garces, which commonly draws top players from throughout Kern County, also has been promoted from D-II to D-I in girls volleyball among the section’s realignment that will return to a two-year cycle after taking one stab at a three-year run.

“We found three years were too long,” section Associate Commissioner Jeff Cardoza said. “Either schools were doing well for too long in one division or there were ones who weren’t doing well for too long.”

The most glaring example was Ridgeview in football. The Wolf Pack, in any previous two-year cycle, would have been bumped to D-I after winning D-II titles in 2014 and ’15.

Ridgeview then lost 20-10 to Sanger in last fall’s D-II championship. And the Apaches, following a strong three-year run that included D-II semifinal appearances in 2014 and ’15, also were lifted to D-I as expected. That will toughen the debut of new coach Jorge Pena, the former 19-year assistant under Chuck Shidan, who resigned in January.

Another obvious promotion candidate was Hanford, which moves to D-II in football after making the D-III semis last year following consecutive titles in the division.

But while Ridgeview (2,384) and Sanger (2,850) will align similarly in enrollments with their new neighbors (1,500-student Hanford will be on the smallish end in D-II), there’s the extreme exception in CVC girls volleyball.

“We’re working on an appeal and we’ll see where the chips fall,” Oskam said. “But, regardless, it’s my job as the coach to prepare the team for everyone on the schedule.”

Feaver joins 400 club – Fowler 19-year baseball coach Bill Feaver not only won his 400th game Thursday with a 12-2 West Sequoia League victory at Riverdale, it was a family affair.

Also involved was his son, Josh, a junior second baseman who had a hit and an RBI; wife and daughter, Paula and Julianna, who kept the scorebook; and parents Ron and Annette, present as fans.

“They’re in their 80s and my dad still helps on the (Fowler) field,” the coach says. “They don’t miss a game; it’s kind of a neat deal.”

While he would have preferred to achieve the milestone on his home field, Feaver also found it gratifying that his entire 16-member squad played in the game.

The 1984 Fowler graduate became the 15th coach in section history to reach 400, according to historian Bob Barnett.

Feaver, entering a Saturday afternoon game with Dos Palos in the beginning of the National Raisin Fowler Easter Classic, was 400-161-3 (.712), including a 165-25 league record (.868), with five section titles, 12 league crowns, two State Small School of the Year awards and three state Small Schools No. 1 rankings.

“There’s a story here and it’s pretty special deal what we’ve accomplished at a small public school (700 students),” he says. “I’m blessed to be a part of it as long as I have as a player, assistant (nine years) and head coach.

“Not much has changed along the way, just a lot of good people, players, coaches and supporters. It took all of that to get to that number (400), and it’s pretty exciting.”

Andy Boogaard: 559-441-6400, @beepreps

On the move

Central Section division realignment for fall sports, though promotions are subject to appeal.

FOOTBALL

Division I

  • Up: Sanger, Ridgeview
  • Chose not to move down: Clovis East

Division II

  • Up: Hanford
  • Down: Stockdale, Frontier

Division III

  • Up: Chowchilla
  • Chose not to move down: Mt. Whitney, Hoover

Division IV

  • Up: Mendota
  • Down: Porterville, Reedley, Delano, Monache, East

Division V

  • Up: Kennedy
  • Down: Hanford West, McLane, Mira Monte, Arvin, Foothill, Coalinga
  • Chose not to move down: Shafter

Division VI

  • Down: Parlier, Rosamond, Lindsay
  • Moving to 8-man: Laton, Frazier Mountain

VOLLEYBALL

Division I

  • Up: Central Valley Christian, Garces
  • Chose not to move down: Bullard

Division II

  • Up: Bakersfield Christian

Division III

  • Up: Minarets, Sierra
  • Down: Edison, Madera South, Shafter, Tulare Western, Ridgeview
  • Chose not to move down: Sunnyside, Dinuba

Division IV

  • Up: Frazier Mountain, Immanuel
  • Down: Foothill, Fresno, Golden Valley, Hanford, McLane, Mira Monte, Porterville, Roosevelt, West

Division V

  • Down: Avenal, Corcoran, Delano, Farmersville, Firebaugh, Granite Hills, Kerman, Lindsay, Orosi, Parlier, Rosamond, Kennedy, Selma, Sierra Pacific, South, Wasco

GIRLS TENNIS

Division I

  • Up: Bakersfield Christian

Division II

  • Up: Immanuel
  • Down: Frontier, Central

Division III

  • Up: Corcoran, Wasco
  • Down: Tehachapi

Division IV

  • Up: Sierra Pacific, Central Valley Christian
  • Down: East, Exeter, Hanford West, Highland, Madera South

Division V

  • Down: Mission Oak, Sierra, South, Arvin, Fresno, Golden Valley, Granite Hills, Hanford, Kingsburg, Mira Monte

BOYS WATER POLO

Division I

  • Up: Porterville, Redwood

Division II

  • Up: Garces
  • Down: Tulare

Division III

  • Down: Yosemite

GIRLS WATER POLO

Division I

  • Up: Hanford, El Diamante

Division II

  • Up: Strathmore, Reedley, Selma
  • Chose to move up: Mt. Whitney
  • Down: Hanford West
  • Chose not to move down: Central

Division III

  • Down: Fresno, Sierra, Yosemite

BOYS CROSS COUNTRY

Division I

  • Up: Redwood
  • Chose not to move down: Bullard

Division II

  • Up: Dinuba

Division III

  • Up: Kerman
  • Down: East, Frontier, Golden West, Hoover, Sunnyside, Tulare, Tulare Western
  • Chose not to move down: Central

Division IV

  • Up: Wonderful College Prep
  • Down: Chavez, Delano, Exeter, Fresno, Garces, Hanford, Hanford West, Lemoore, McLane, Mira Monte, Porterville, Tehachapi, West, Yosemite, Mission Oak

Division V

  • Down: Chowchilla, Dos Palos, Farmersville, Granite Hills, Lindsay, Mendota, Orange Cove, Orosi, Sierra Pacific Strathmore, Washington, Fowler

GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

Division I

  • Up: McFarland
  • Chose not to move down: Bullard

Division II

  • Up: North
  • Down: Shafter

Division III

  • Up: Central Valley Christian
  • Down: Edison, El Diamante, Hoover, Reedley, Sunnyside, Tulare
  • Chose not to move down: Central

Division IV

  • Up: Bakersfield Christian
  • Down: Arvin, Chavez, Fresno, Golden West, Hanford, Hanford West, Highland, Lemoore, McLane, Mira Monte, Mission Oak, Tehachapi, West, Yosemite

Division V

  • Down: Avenal, Chowchilla, Farmersville, Granite Hills, Lindsay, Orange Cove, Orosi, Parlier, Kennedy, Memorial, Sierra Pacific, Strathmore, Washington, Woodlake

GIRLS GOLF

Division I

  • Up: Lemoore

Division II

  • Up: Sanger
  • Down: Monache, Redwood

Division III

  • Down: Ridgeview, Porterville, Hanford West, Taft, McLane, Exeter
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