With Trans-Valley League regular seasons coming to an end, the traditional Senior Night festivities are being hosted and this past week featured recognition for varsity girls soccer and varsity girls basketball on the Escalon High School campus.
And while the focus was firmly on the seniors and the contributions they have made over the years in those sports, there was also speculation about a new opportunity that may arrive in Escalon for girls – flag football.
Escalon Athletic Director Andrew Beam said the CIF, California Interscholastic Federation, has indicated that flag football will be offered as a competitive league sport for girls.
This year’s seniors won’t get the chance to play, and it could actually be a couple of years before it comes to fruition here, but it likely is on the way.
However, this past week highlighted the contributions of senior girls on the court and on the pitch.
Thursday afternoon, Feb. 2 following their league game with Ripon, the six seniors suiting up for the varsity Lady Cougars soccer team were honored. Their younger teammates took the microphone, offering some memories and behind-the-scenes tidbits about the seniors, and each was presented with a gift basket. Wrapping up their career in high school soccer were, in alphabetical order, seniors Gorette Coelho, Bailey Dugo, Aubryn Evans, Rylie Lattig, Giovanna Padilla and Ashlee Pantoja.
On Friday night, it was the chance for the basketball program to highlight its two seniors on the roster this season, Analise Silveira and Kelsey Webster. The two were escorted to center court by members of their families, with teammates reading remarks prepared by the senior honorees as well as offering a few comments of their own.
The ceremony was hosted prior to tip off of the game against Hughson.
Senior Night for wrestlers was hosted in late January; the boys soccer team was to honor its 13 seniors at their regular season finale on Feb. 7 and the boys basketball program will highlight its seniors on Wednesday, Feb. 8 prior to varsity tip off.
As far as adding another sport at the high school level for the girls, Beam said it will take some juggling.
“Our league (Trans-Valley League) voted that we would vote in favor of it,” Beam said.
It’s unknown what season it will be offered in, fall or spring, but Beam said the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section that Escalon is a part of voted overwhelmingly in favor of putting flag football on the sports schedule.
“Some schools will have it next year, down south especially, where they play it as a club sport,” Beam explained.
He said the problem Escalon – and other small schools around the region – may have is having a deep enough pool of potential players.
“Do we have enough girls?” he said rhetorically, noting that it could divert athletes away from fall sports like volleyball, golf and cross country or from the spring sports of softball, tennis and track and field.
A similar situation may also arise for the boys, as every school in the TVL except Escalon are now offerings boys volleyball as a spring sport.
“I just don’t know if we would have the athletes for it,” Beam said of boys volleyball, but that, like flag football for the girls, is expected to eventually be offered for the Cougars.
He also said the community would likely be receptive.
“I have no doubt that if Escalon was able to field a team that people would be in the stands,” he said of flag football. “It’ll be very interesting.”