Friday night, Feb. 8 was a memorable one in Escalon – as the varsity basketball team topped rival Hilmar to win their Homecoming contest, recognized their senior players, cheerleaders and parents for Senior Night – and crowned Guillermo Alvarez as the 2019 Homecoming King.
Alvarez was one of four King hopefuls introduced to a large crowd in the EHS gym at halftime of the varsity boys game. Others in the running were Jonathan Valeriano, Lucciano Dutra and Alex Jimenez.
Each of the candidates was escorted to center court by family members as their names and some biographical information and interesting tidbits were read about them. For Alvarez, his parents Jose and Gladys Naranjo escorted him for the evening.
His plans after high school are to attend college – possibly starting at Stanislaus State, where he hopes to play soccer – and study mechanical engineering.
The message he offered to underclassmen was to “never give up on your dreams.”
He also thanked his family for always being by his side and his coaches for pushing him to his fullest potential.
“I’m surprised, actually,” Alvarez said after receiving his crown from Homecoming Queen Hailie Webster, who was presented with her honor during the fall football season. “It feels great; I don’t know how to explain it.”
Both his parents said they were “very proud” of their son for taking home the honor.
“I was so nervous,” added Alvarez. “All the candidates were great, everyone, it didn’t matter who won, any of them would have been great.”
He added that it was fun taking part in the various dress up days and being part of the Homecoming festivities throughout the week on campus.
On the court, it was also Senior Night for the Cougars, with recognition of senior basketball players, the cheerleaders and the parents of those seniors, honored for contributions to the basketball program throughout the years.
And it was a special night as well, with all three boys basketball teams notching wins against Hilmar.
The varsity boys found it particularly satisfying, as they had earlier beaten Hilmar on the road, spoiling the Yellowjackets’ Homecoming celebration.
“It felt pretty good,” said senior Brad DaDalt. “They’re a good team.”
DaDalt – who had plenty of fans cheering him on from the stands – said the varsity squad got off to a slow start this season but found their way and had a solid showing in league.
“It was rough early but then we got it going,” he said. “It was a lot of fun.”
Escalon finished at 5-7 in the Trans-Valley League, just missing out on the playoffs.
Senior Frank Leal, who suffered losses to the Yellowjackets on the football field, was glad to provide a little payback.
“It felt good, especially since we got them on their Homecoming, we weren’t going to let them get us on ours,” Leal said. “It just felt really good.”