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Academic All Conference Team - Spring 2016:
Congratulations to the following student athletes have satisfied the spring 2016 Central Valley Conference requirements for the academic all-conference awards.  These student athletes have excelled academically with a grade point average of 3.0 or above, on a 4.0 scale in at least 12 semester units while successfully participating in a season of sport:

Pendergrass, Austin
Throgmorton, Spencer
Sottile, Richard
Kealoha, Kaivon
Canfield, Tyson
Turner, Travis
Kotz, Shane
Higgs, Robert
Souza, Alfred
Ortiz, Richard
Rogers, Matthew

Nehre, Halle
San Agustin-Nordmeier, Bailey
Lawrence, Sonja

Academic All Conference Team - Fall 2015:
Congratulations to the following student athletes have satisfied the fall 2015 Central Valley Conference requirements for the academic all-conference awards.  These student athletes have excelled academically with a grade point average of 3.0 or above, on a 4.0 scale in at least 12 semester units while successfully participating in a season of sport:

Carrie Graham
Whykella Haley
Chantia Jones
Brittany Santoy
Mariah Grantham
Sierra Mora

Erik Jauregui
Bryan Henriquez-Rivera
Steven (Dru) Bogden
Jesus Fraire Vidal
Colby Evans
Joshua Sanchez

Arielle Stoyanow
Robyn Peiler
Nancy Reynaga
Selene Gomez
Trina Leija
Jasmin Figueroa
Shandy Hopeau
Kathy Rubio
Breeze Rivers
Julie Hernandez
Lydia Nava
Valeria Garcia
Elena Marquez

Madeline Griffith
Nalani Kekuawela
Janell Molina
Payton Spragling
Baillie Jensen
Halle Neher
Virginia Salanoa-Sagapolu
Bailey San Agustin-Nordmeier
Rachel Nance
Kamalani Kahele
Courtnie Perry
Jasmina Clayton
Skye Parker

Taft College to Honor First Hall of Fame Class

Taft College is about to honor its past.

The west Kern County community college will hold its inaugural Taft College Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Nov. 7.

“With the rich history here at Taft College, it was believed we should begin to honor individuals who have had a major impact on the college,” said Kanoe Bandy, the college’s athletic director and volleyball coach who is co-chair of the Hall of Fame committee.

The inaugural inductees are Larry Peahl and Don Zumbro in the distinguished administrator category, John Miller and the late Jack McCall for extraordinary service, the late Al Baldock for outstanding coach, Amanda Smith for outstanding female athlete and the 1982 football team in the outstanding team category.

Tickets are $50 apiece. The event starts at 6 p.m. at OT Cookhouse, 205 N. 10th St. in Taft. Call 661-763-7854 for more information.

Bandy said the Hall of Fame committee was formed in 2014 to develop criteria and timelines to start a Taft College Hall of Fame. The college was founded in 1922.

Bandy said the Hall of Fame will honor former students, teams, coaches, administrators, faculity, staff and community members “who have excelled through competition, made a difference in the lives of our students or have been strong supporters of Taft College.”

Here is a breakdown of the inductees:

Larry Peahl
Graduated from Taft College in 1955 who later returned to the school to teach various math, civil engineering and computer programming classes. He was also an academic advisor, the football team statistician and public address announcer and coached track. He retired as a teacher in 1996 but continued to teach calculus after retiring and still serves on the Taft College Foundation Board.

Don Zumbro
A 1954 Taft College graduate, Zumbro taught in several schools in Taft before serving 20 years as Taft College’s Dean of Student Services, where he helped reinstate the athletics program after it was suspended in 1994. His style focused on compassion, fairness, toughness and high expectations for students and employees. Now retired, he is vice president of the Taft College Foundation Board.

Jack McCall
Known as “Cougar Jack,” McCall spent four years working as a residence hall aide. He was also a nurse, counselor and friend to students he knew. He attended nearly every football practice and relished his role as the team’s honorary cheerleader. He passed away in 1986.
John Miller
Born in San Francisco who attended Taft College prior to joining the Air Corps in World War II. He returned to Taft with wife Betty after the war where they operated as grocers for Ideal Market. Miller provided food services to Taft College and provided groceries to families who were just getting their start in Taft and would have been unable to thrive without his help. He served 30 years on the West Kern Community College District Board where he helped implement the Transition to Independent Living and Dental Hygiene programs.

Al Baldock
During his 17-year football head coaching reign, Baldock’s Cougars went 137-26-5 with two JC Grid-Wire national championships, six Shrine Potato Bowl appearances and 15 conference championships. He was the head coach from 1976-93, when all athletics were suspended because of budget woes. Baldock, who died in 2009, also served as Taft’s AD.

Amanda Smith
Born in Bakersfield and a 1995 North High graduate, she was the Western State Conference volleyball MVP at Bakersfield College in 1995 when Kanoe Bandy coached at BC, then came Bandy to Taft in 1996 when the Cougars’ volleyball program was resurrected. She helped Taft to the Central Valley Conference title, was the league MVP and named to the All-Northern California team. She received a scholarship to Alabama-Huntsville and earned her degree in psychology.

1982 football team
Consisted of players from throughout the United States. The Cougars went 10-0 and won their first national championship. Taft outscored its opponents 417-121 with at least a 17-point margin of victory in eight of the games. Nineteen players continued their football careers at Division I programs.

Academic All Conference Team - Spring 2015:
The  following student athletes have satisfied the spring 2015 Central Valley Conference requirements for the academic all-conference awards.  These student athletes have excelled academically with a grade point average of 3.0 or above, on a 4.0 scale in at least 12 semester units while successfully participating in a season of sport:

Keith Tatum
Autin Pendergrass
Ricky Sottile
Logan Mace
Eric Evans
Bryan Sanchez
Jeff Gilstrap
Kevn Rocha
Kendal Daniels
Kyle Wedel


Academic All Conference Team - Fall 2014:

The  following student athletes have satisfied the fall 2014 Central Valley Conference requirements for the academic all-conference awards.  These student athletes have excelled academically with a grade point average of 3.0 or above, on a 4.0 scale in at least 12 semester units while successfully participating in a season of sport:


Men’s Soccer
Ramon Chavez
Daniel Ortiz-Portillo
Jesus Villalpando
Edgar Rodriguez
Jose Barajas
Ruben Alvarez
Oscar Torres
Michael Richardson

Women’s Soccer
Selina Chacon
Flor Cortez
Taylor Dela Cruz
Emily Galland
Alexia Gonzalez
Daisy Guitron
Anyela Jimenez
Ariel Manzano
Nora Perez
Celia Rangel
Breeze Rivers
Sierra Sagasta
Arielle Stoyanow
Hannah Tovar

Nalani Kekuawela
Madeline Griffith
Baillie Jensen
Kaila Haslam
Halle Neher
Hikialani Kaaihue

Women’s Basketball
Carrie Graham
Chantia Jones
Kennedy Kunce

GLORY DAYS GONE BY Taft College ended its football program 20 years ago, but memories of its best years continue to inspire

Saturdays in the fall used to mean one thing in Taft: Taft College football.

It’s now been more than 20 years since anyone could say that. Taft College dropped football in the spring of 1994 because of budget cuts.

The highest level of football in town these days is at Taft High.

A billboard, erected alongside Highway 119 just outside of Taft, advertising the city as “Home of the Cougars” and highlighting the 1982 and 1984 national championship football teams, is long gone.

During its heyday, Taft College football was among the best community college program in the state.

“You built your fall social calendar around the football team,” said Dennis McCall, who was editor of the Taft Midway Driller from 1969-79 before joining the Taft College faculty as an instructor. He also served as the college’s sports information director until retiring in 2007.

“It gave the citizens out here a rallying point,” said David Cothrun, Taft College’s president and superintendent from 1980-2002. “They had something to be proud of.

Full Story Click Here


Pictured are former Taft College Cougar Football Coaches or players. Doug Wells coached at Taft College and Cerritos College in both football and track.  Jeff Chudy played then coached, and now coaches for Bakersfield College. Tom Cains played for the Cougars and currently coaches at Cerritos College. Kendall Blackburn played for Taft College and currently coaches at Cerritos College.  Don Bandy coached football and softball for Taft College.

Left to right: Doug Wells, Jeff Chudy, Tom Cains, Kendall Blackburn and Don Bandy.

Academic All Conference Team - Spring 2014:

The  following student athletes have satisfied the spring 2014 Central Valley Conference requirements for the academic all-conference awards.  These student athletes have excelled academically with a grade point average of 3.0 or above, on a 4.0 scale in at least 12 semester units while successfully participating in a season of sport:


Brandon Daniels
Travis Tessandori
Kendal Daniels
Adrian Rodriguez
Roman Testani
Brian Nunez
Adam Hightower
David (Buddy) Cooper
Matthew Moorehead
Bryan Sanchez
Logan Mace
Dayton Kurian
Kevin Little
Loren Cutolo
Chris Hopballe
Gabriel Ayala

Kacee Schroeder
Kyana Hirokane
Andrea Bouschet
Sadie Salazar
Cheyanne Emerson

2014 3C4A Achievement Award Recipient, Onolina Taotofi

Former Taft College Volleyball Player, Onolina Taotofi, was honored at the California Community College Athletic Association (CCCAA) Annual Convention on April 2, 2014 in Los Angeles. Onolina was nominated by her Academic Advisor for Athletes, Tony Thompson, for the 3C4A Achievement Award.

Ono was chosen for this award because of the tremendous obstacles she has been able to overcome in order to pursue her higher education and, ultimately, change her life for the better. She is currently attending Southwest Baptist University in Bolivar, Missouri on a volleyball scholarship, with long term goals of becoming a Social Worker.

Congratulations Onolina!!

(Pictured left to right: Tim Maui, Assistant Volleyball Coach; Kanoe Bandy, Head Volleyball Coach; Tony Thompson, Academic Advisor for Athletes; Onolina Taotofi; Dr. Dena Maloney, Superintendent/President; Darcy Bogle, Vice President of Student Services; and Geoffrey Dyer, English Professor.)

Ono’s Story
Photo Gallery

Academic All Conference Team - Fall 2013:

The  following student athletes have satisfied the Fall 2013 Central Valley Conference requirements for the academic all-conference awards.  These student athletes have excelled academically with a grade point average of 3.0 or above, on a 4.0 scale in at least 12 semester units while successfully participating in a season of sport:


Men's Soccer:
Ruben Alvarez
Jose Barajas
Rogelio Sustaita
Jesus Garcia
Ricardo Marquez
Rogelio Santiago
Edgar Rodriguez

Women's Soccer:
Flor Cortes
Joanna Espinoza
Leslie Tostado
Clarissa Del Toro
Janet Bautista
Yeraldin Barrera
Selina Chacon
Emily Galland
Amanda Lopez
Daisy Guitron
Hannah Tovar
Selina Molina
Celia Rangel
Kalynn Talalotu-Kealoha
Rebecca Vasquez

Maeleen Hopeau
Risha Alaiasa
Crystal ‘Lani’ Kaiwi
Hikialani Kaaihue
Tiffany Mapusaga

Women's Basketball:
Angela Banks
Crystallyn Faletoi
Synclaire Lucas

Academic All Conference Team - spring 2013:

The  following student athletes have satisfied the spring 2013 Central Valley Conference requirements for the academic all-conference awards.  These student athletes have excelled academically with a grade point average of 3.0 or above, on a 4.0 scale in at least 12 semester units while successfully participating in a season of sport:


Travis Tessandori
Shane Sudsbury
Joshua Hickle
Jossaiah Raval
Paul Matha, Jr.
Matthew Moorehead
Gabriel Ayala
Kevin Little
Dayton Kurian
Luis Trinidad
Brandon Van Stone
Roman Testani

Stephanie Keith
Brooklyn Amador
Jessica Neher
Cheyanne Emerson
Ashley McKeown
Chelsea Eli-Kido
Yarelli Delgado

JayandCarlylesmaller   Jay-Huggins3-small   JayHugginssmaller.JPG
Jay Huggins Honored at CCCAA Scholar Athlete Luncheon

March 27, 2013

Several members of the Taft College staff attended the Celebration of Scholar Athletes Luncheon last Wednesday, in San Mateo, to honor the 2011-2012 Scholar Teams and Athletes, one of which was former baseball student athlete, Jay Huggins.  The luncheon was also attended by Jay’s parents, Mel and Patricia Huggins.

Along with Jay were 18 other student athletes from around the state. This is quite an accomplishment since there are nearly 27,000 student athletes who participate in California Community College athletics.  In order for Jay to qualify for this award, the candidate must have participated in at least 2 seasons of sport, excelled academically, and shown citizenship characteristics. 

Jay will be returning to New Mexico Highlands University in New Mexico.  His immediate goal is to graduate with a Bachelor in Science Degree in Chemistry.  He would like to attend Medical School and eventually become a doctor.  Congratulations Jay!

TC Enrollement Increases by More Than 13 Percent

By Kent Miller
Midway Driller staff writer
February 19, 2013

Taft College enrollment is up, a major construction project is more that 85 percent completed and Cougar student athletes posted an amazing feat for the fall 2012 semester.

Enrollment as of the middle of February is up 13.7 percent from the same period in 2012, Brock McMurray, Vice President of Student Services, told college trustees at their meeting Wednesday evening.

There are 410 more students on campus, with 304 of that increase – or 27.3 percent – taking 0.5 to 5.5 units and 108 – or a gain of 11.3 percent – taking 12 or more units, McMurray said.

Total enrollment as of the fourth week of the spring 2013 semester is 3,406. The largest number of students, 1,416 are taking 0.5 to 5.5 units, with 1,068 taking 12 or more; 879 taking 6.0 to 11.5 and 43 taking zero units, he said.

McMurray also reported that the Transition to Independent Living (TIL) was at about 85 percent of completion in January and work should be finished in late March or early April. Work on the Student Center will begin late in 2014, he said.

But Tony Thompson, Academic Advisor for Athletics, beat McMurray in announcing that for the fall 2012 semester, four of the six Cougar athletic teams posted grade point averages of 3.0 or higher. And the other 2 teams were “respectable”, Thompson said.

Twenty-one student athletes made the fall President’s List with GPA’s of 3.5 or better for 12 or more units and no grade below a ‘B’, he said. There were another 30 student athletes named to the Vice Presidents List with GPA’s of 3.0 or better for 12 or more units and no grade below a ‘C’, Thompson said.

Both Thompson and McMurray said they don’t recall any other time when athletic teams at the college have posted such high GPA’s.

New Servers.
The college will be purchasing a new IBM Blade Server at a cost of just under $265,000 of Measure A money, said Adrian Agundez, Director of Information Services.

The college is operating with a Blade Server purchased in 2005 to run the Banner registration system. The server had a life expectancy of four or five years, Agundez said.

Trustee Michael Long asked what will be done with the old equipment once the new Blade Server is installed.

They will be checked to determine if they are still serviceable, Agundez said. “Third world countries will use them”, he said. “But they’re not what we need.”

Financial Reports.
Trustees heard reports from David W. Ivarie, Senior Vice President – Wealth Management for Bakersfield office of Morgan Stanley, Smith Barney. Ivarie gave a fourth quarter overview of the college’s GO Bond and Facilities Reserve portfolios.

Both portfolios posted small gains of 0.175 percent for the October-December period. GO Bond closed the quarter with a value of $16,217,443.10. That was a total portfolio income of $91,209.47 for the quarter and $338,978.36 for the year.

The Facilities Reserve portfolio closed the quarter with a value of $18,091,140.40. That was a total portfolio income of $154,088.52 for the quarter and $483,396.31 for the year, Ivarie said.

The GO Bond portfolio has about 26.6 percent invested in U.S. corporate fixed-coupon bonds, about 26 percent in Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. insured certificates of deposit, about 20.6 percent in investment-grade municipal bonds and about 17.4 percent in U.S. government agency fixed-coupon securities.

The Facilities reserve portfolio has about 29 percent U.S. corporate fixed-coupon bonds, about 23 percent in U.S. government agency fixed-coupon securities, about 21.5 percent in investment grade municipal bonds and about 18 percent in FDIC-insured CD’s.

In other items, the trustees:
*Approved the recommendation of Dr. Dena Maloney, College Superintendant/President to hire Mark Williams as Vice President of Instruction. Williams will join the college on April 29.
*Updated courses in the Math/Science and Social Sciences divisions.
*Approved program revisions in Applied Technology and Math/Science.
*Approved new courses in Applied Technology and Math/Science.

*Approved overload, extra duty and adjunct assignments.
Academic All Conference Team for Fall 2012:

Congratulations to the  following student athletes who have satisfied the fall 2012  Central Valley Conference requirements for the academic all-conference awards.  These student athletes have excelled academically with a grade point average of 3.0 or above, on a 4.0 scale in at least 12 semester units while successfully participating in a season of sport:


Men Soccer:
Mario Iniguez
Edgar Contreras
Roberto Mariscal
Gerardo Gonzalez
Andy Reyes

Women Soccer:

Janet Bautista
Whitney Gill
Daisy Guitron
Selina Molina
Monica Cisneros-Campos
Brittany Hernandez

Madison Lawley
Tiffany Mapusaga
Crystal 'Lani' Kaiwi
Haley Walrath
Allison Grubbs
Kerstyn Randall
Dylan Parker

Women Basketball:

Zanoria Echols
Erica Evans
Shelley Gill
Mylasia Smith
Kehaulani Silva
Ramonique Redding

Cougar Sports Center Renamed in Honor of a Legend
Erin and Joyce Baldock cut the ribbon to formally christen the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center

By Dennis McCall
Midway Driller staff writer
Oct. 22, 2012 10:46 a.m.

The Cougar Sports Center at Taft College has a new name.
The complex that houses the gymnasium, athletic offices, shower and locker facilities and a softball field was formally dedicated Saturday to the memory of the late legendary football coach Al Baldock.

The audience included former Cougar football players and fans along with several political dignitaries.

Emmons Park Drive from Sixth Street to Wildcat Way was blocked off for a short time to accommodate the ceremony that included a ribbon cutting.

Baldock's widow, Joyce, and his daughter Erin and grandsons helped christen the Al Baldock Cougar Sports Center.

Erin recalled her father's dedication, noting he rarely got home before midnight during football season, only to head back to his office at 4 the next morning. "I remember spending Sundays with mom at the gym on the computer putting in scouting reports," she said. "He loved the team. He loved the school. He loved the players."

Baldock had a reputation for pushing his players to become good citizens. "He wanted everybody to be successful, especially after football," she said.

Don Bandy, who coached the offensive line during Baldock's tenure at TC, told a number of stories about the legend and emphasized how much he cared about his players.

He recalled a time when several assistant coaches wanted Baldock to boot a troubled player off the team. "He said, 'I can't do that. I've been to his home, and he's had a really hard life,'" Bandy said.

Taft Mayor Randy read a proclamation celebrating Baldock's success as a coach.

Baldock, who died three years ago, guided the Cougar football program from 1976 until its demise in 1994.

Over that span his teams rang up 137 victories, 26 losses and five ties. TC won two national championships, six state championships and 15 conference titles. The Cougars also won six Potato Bowl titles under his tenure.
The six-time coach of the year, Baldock was enshrined in the Kern County Sports Hall of Fame and was named a "Legend" at College of the Sequoias in Visalia, where he also guided a nationally ranked program.

Impetus for renaming the Sports Center in his honor came from the Academic Senate, a faculty group that oversees the instructional program.

The Senate adopted a resolution that was endorsed by the college's board of trustees.
Memorabilia marking Baldock's tenure at TC was on display in the gym and highlight films from some of his best teams ran on a continuous loop.
Academic All Conference Team for the Spring 2012:

Congratulations to the  following student athletes who have satisfied the spring 2012  Central Valley Conference requirements for the academic all-conference awards.  These student athletes have excelled academically with a grade point average of 3.0 or above, on a 4.0 scale in at least 12 semester units while successfully participating in a season of sport:


Matt Packer
Luis Trinidad
Jay Huggins
Paul Matha, Jr.
Corey Gilligan
Forrest Smith
Clint Jorgensen
Brad Smith

JeNiece Morgan
Stephanie Keith
Chanel Nielsen
Kendy Reynoso
Brooklyn Amador
Brittany Peterson
Jessica Neher
Sisilia Tuipolutu
Andrea Bouschet

Academic All Conference Team for the Fall 2011:

The following students are members of the Academic All Conference Team for the Fall 2011 semester. To be a member, the student athlete must have excelled academically with a grade point average of 3.0 or above, on a 4.0 scale in at least 12 semester units in order to earn a semester award and the student athlete must have successfully participated in the current season of sport.


Men Soccer
Heriberto Lopez
Jesse Gama
Gerardo Santiago
Andy Reyes
Roberto Gonzalez

Women Soccer
Caitlyn Nicholas
Andrea Cruz
Randi Presas
Jessica Sanchez
Cassandra Arroyo
Jessica Miller
Maria Arellano
Kristen Bilotta

Brittany Peterson
Madison Lawley
Kerstyn Randall
Janine Orosco

Women Basketball
Schalon Baysinger
Shelley Gill
Zanoria Echols
Demmi Nunn
Bezait Anbesse
Maurissa Morones

Kanoe Bandy receives California Community College Athletic Directors Association's Honoring Our Own Award:

Taft, Calif. — Taft College athletic director Kanoe Bandy will be honored April 5 at the annual convention of the California Community College Athletic Directors Association in San Mateo. Bandy will receive the CCADA's Honoring Our Own award.

Bandy has coached volleyball at TC for the 23 of the 25 years she has been coaching, starting in 1987. When Taft College dropped its athletic program in 1994, she coached a year at Taft High and one at Bakersfield College.

Since 1996 she has also served as the athletic director and serves on the Central Valley Conference Board of Directors. She also holds the position of secretary and treasurer to the California Community College Women's Volleyball Coaches Association.

Bandy has been named the Central Valley Conference Coach of the Year seven times and NorCal Regional Coach of the Year for three consecutive years in 2003, 2004, and 2005.

In 2005 she was honored as the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Northern Regional Coach of the Year and was honored at the AVCA Convention in Sacramento in 2007 for her 300th coaching win. That number has climbed to 419.

Her teams have posted an overall record of 211 wins and 86 losses in 3 of 5 game matches at Taft College since 1996. She has won five conference championships, and in 2004 the team finished fourth in the State of California.

Another accomplishment was the 2001 Scholar Team Award from the Commission on Athletics while also winning the Central Valley Conference championship.

A native of Hawaii, Bandy played softball at TC before earning bachelor's degree from Fresno State University and her masters in business administration from California State University Bakersfield.

She also coached softball with her husband, Don.




Taft College Student Selected As 2011 CCCAA Female Scholar Athlete:

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Nicole Gummersall, recent graduate of Taft College, has just been notified she is the recipient of the California Community College Athletic Association's Female Scholar Athlete Award. This is the highest award presented to student athletes among its 27,000 annual participants. Formal presentation of the award will be made on April 4, 2012, at the Marriot Hotel in San Mateo, CA at the 2012 CCCAA Celebration of Student Athlete's Luncheon during their annual convention.

In receiving this award Nicole had to demonstrate high scholastic and academic credentials; active participation in leadership roles, including holding a student body office as well as participating in college and community activities; and participation in at least two seasons of sport at a California community college.

Academically, Nicole graduated with the highest grade point average of her graduating class, a 4.0 GPA. She was on the President's List for four semesters, was a two time Central Valley Conference Scholar Athlete, and a California Community College Volleyball Coaches Association Scholar Athlete.

During her freshman year, Nicole became active in the Associated Student Body, continually providing active input to the ASB Executive Board regarding campus wide activities. At the end of her freshman year she was elected Taft College's Associated Student Body President. In this role she chaired committees for campus activities and fund raisers, sat on the West Kern Community College District Board as the student body representative, and conducted the weekly Associated Student Body Executive Board and Committee Meetings. In addition, she was vice president of the Taft College Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa (international honor society) and was a member of the Psychology Club.

Athletically, she was a member of the Women's Volleyball Team for two years and was a member of the Central Valley Conference, receiving an honorable mention.

Finally, Nicole has been an active and strong member of her church, involved in many service projects. Through this work she has helped many people and learned the meaning of service to others.

The entire staff and faculty of Taft College said they are pleased to recognize and honor this amazing young woman, currently attending Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, majoring in Elementary Education.




Jockey Club:

On Monday, December 12, 2011 Angel Garcia, Joanne Almaguer, and Zayd Flores were honored as outstanding athletes in Kern County by the Jockey Club of Bakersfield.


Angel and Zayd are members of the Taft College Men's Soccer Team and Joanne is a member of the Women's Soccer Team.








On Monday November 21st, 2011, Mele Yama and Chanel Cantere were honored as Outstanding Athletes in Kern County by the Jockey Club of Bakersfield. We appreciate the Jockey Club for never letting our athletes on the West side be forgotten. Both of the young ladies that were honored are from Hawaii. Many wonder why student/athletes would come to Taft College from Hawaii, not realizing that there are no athletic programs in the two year colleges back home. This is an opportunity they would otherwise not have at home. Mele Yama is someone to be proud of. At the end of her freshman season, Mele was unsure as to whether she was coming back to the team because there was a bit of confusion as to her balance between athletics and academics. She decided to make a commitment to the team and to the program. She has turned into a tremendous leader. Although Mele is a setter who does not have great hands, she has helped in our success based upon her great decisions on the court. That is what kept her and the team in the game. She was chosen by her team as a team captain and was placed on the Honorable Mention team for the Central Valley Conference.

Chanel Cantere was our second volleyball player honored. She is a freshman outside hitter who lead our team and our conference in kills. She is one of those young ladies who truly study's the game. She watches film, reads up on the game and asks a lot of questions. Chanel is #5 in kills per game in the state. To put this into perspective, there are 85 schools with volleyball programs at the 2 year college level in California. If there were 12 players on each roster, you are looking at about 1020 volleyball players. Chanel ranks as #5 amongst those players. Funny fact, Chanel wears uniform #5, is 5th in the state in kills per game and is the 5th grandchild in her family.

Student-Athlete Spotlight:
Emily RagasaName: Emily Ragasa
Sport: Women's Soccer
Class: Sophomore
Position: Def/Mid

Emily has been our most consistent player and has done a great job holding down the center of the field. She plays a more composed style of soccer when compared to her teammates which helps us play a possession game.

Student-Athlete Spotlight:
Emily RagasaName: Chanel Cantere
Sport: Volleyball
Class: Freshmen
Position: Outside Hitter

Chanel is our leading outside hitter. She has 4 matches with over 20 kills, finishing the regular season with her career high of 24 kills in her final match. Chanel is ranked #5 in the state with a 4.47 kills per game. Chanel is a player who truly studies the game.

Taft College's Volleyball Team Shows their Pink Side
October 21, 2011

The Taft College volleyball team has sponsored Breast Cancer Awareness on our campus since 1998. This all began when Kalei Teves, our ASB President and Captain of our volleyball team in 1998 was looking for a service project and a way to give back to our community. Little did she know that it would catch on so quickly and would create a tradition on our campus. Read more

Jockey Club

Morgan Blair, Michelle Hardy, and Tina Pulu were honored at a banquet last week as a Kern County Outstanding Athlete by the Bakersfield Jockey Club.

Student-Athlete Spotlight

We are proud to announce that Courtney Nyetrae and Baylee Day and Monica Lovato have earned Academic All-American. Monica Lovato last year earned Academic All-American as a sophomore catching for the Cougars. Courtney Nyetrea earned Academic All-American as a freshmen playing 1st base. Baylee Day also as freshmen earned Academic All-American while playing right field for the Cougars.. In order to earn Academic All-American you need to have a gpa of at least 3.5. Earning Academic All-American shows how dedicated these young athletes are not only on the field but in the class room.

Celebration of Scholar Athletes Luncheon
March 30, 2011

Members of our Taft College staff were in attendance at the Celebration of Scholar Athletes Luncheon on March 30th, 2011 in San Mateo, CA to support Sergio Cedano be named to the 2010 Scholar Athlete Men’s Honor Roll.  To be eligible for this award, candidates must carry a minimum of a 3.5 GPA and must show outstanding leadership as an athlete, student, or in other college community activities, as well as have participated in two seasons of sport at a California community college.

Sergio proved his leadership and his work ethic by leading his team to the Final Four State Championship in 2010.   Sergio’s contribution to the team was not only evident to the Taft College coaching staff, other community colleges also recognized Sergio’s contribution and named him Central Valley Conference Midfielder of the Year and 1st team all conference.  In fact, Sergio’s work ethic and mentality on the field made such a strong impact that several coaches commented on his play more than his teammates who earned All-American and Regional Awards.

You may never know that Sergio had any type of disability based upon his accomplishments.  Those that know Sergio have commented on his leadership skills, his work ethic, and his willingness to volunteer to assist others.  In talking with Sergio, he mentioned that his academic success at California State University, Los Angeles is due to his management of time.  Because of his busy college schedule, managing his time is the most important part of his success.

We at Taft College are so proud of Sergio Cedano and what he has accomplished.  

Commencement Excercises

Nicole Gummersoll addresses her fellow TC graduates at Friday night's commencement excercises. (Photo and story by Taft Midway Driller)

Tom Harrell

Former Taft College football coach and athletic director Tom Harrell has died. Harrell passed away in Aurora, Mo., where he moved a number of years ago to be closer to family. He had been in ill health for the past several years. Harrell was 87.

At TC, Harrell served two head coaching stints (1963-69 and 1973-75) and one as co-head coach in 1990, a season that was capped by a dramatic come-from-behind victory over Bakersfield College in the Potato Bowl. His overall head coaching record at TC, including the 1990 season, was 52-35-3.In addition to serving as athletic director, he coached other sports, including men’s basketball, golf and tennis.

After retiring in 1985, he continued to serve as an assistant football coach

under the legendary Al Baldock and followed Baldock to West Hills College in Coalinga after Taft dropped its athletic program in 1994. Funeral services are pending.

Alumni Spotlight

D_NarragonName: Dale Narragon
Sport: Football, Basketball, and Baseball
Year(s) Played: 1953-1954

Dale Narragon was a three-sport athlete at Taft College who was recently inducted into the Alma Schools Hall of Fame. While at Taft Narragon participated in football, basketball, and baseball. Read more..

Alumni Spotlight:Shannon (Milicic) Hitzman "Where Are They Now?"

October 10, 2011

What a small world it can be.  While the volleyball team was in San Diego last month, we saw Shannon Hitzman in the hotel.  Coach Bandy was going down the elevator when it stopped to pick up some people on the 3rd floor.  As the door closed, I heard, “Coach?” and I said “Shannon?” just as the door closed.  I waited for her at the bottom floor and was overwhelmed with emotion when I saw her.  Shannon played for our volleyball team in 2002 and 2003.  She was instrumental in the 2003 Central Valley Conference Championship.  She was a team captain and the team Most Valuable Player.  Shannon was a very hard worker who led her team by her own example.  She was also a very positive young lady who was named the Most Inspirational Player on her team.  Shannon was very goal oriented when she was at Taft College.  She was determined to go to a Christian college that had a nutrition major and play volleyball.  After graduation from Taft College, Shannon went on to play volleyball and major in Nutritional Science at Point Loma University in San Diego.   Shannon then transferred back to University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to be closer to her home in Boulder City.  She completed her Bachelor in Science Degree in Nutrition Sciences.   

Shannon is currently married to Justin and works as a registered Dietitian at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas working with acute & critical care patients to ensure adequate nutrition needs are being met through both regular diets & nutrition support.  She has also been presented with an opportunity to begin working with weight loss surgery patients.  For Shannon, this is a very exciting time in her career?

When asked, How did Taft College help you to accomplish your goals?  Shannon replied, “Being a college athlete gives you the opportunity to learn how to remain focused on your goals, to be driven, and to work hard towards what you want to accomplish.  Taft College was a wonderful place to attend school, the support system is terrific and you have such an opportunity to thrive if you so have the desire.”

When asked, What is your best memory?, Shannon’s answer  brought tears to my eyes.  She said, “Too many to write? In general I really appreciate all the staff at Taft College because of their genuine desire to help you succeed and accomplish your goals.  Playing volleyball for Coach Kanoe is absolutely an experience that I will never forget, she is an incredible woman and runs a tremendous program.  She helps mold young women to be better individuals.  I loved playing volleyball for Taft College there are so many great memories, from painting the gym pink, to volleyball luau’s and victorious wins!  I have one of my most fond memories in my life that took place at the Taft College gym when we won our first round of regional’s my sophomore year and the entire gym starting chanting MVP in support of me… it was INCREDIBLE!”

McCall Hired as Women's Head Coach

Bakersfield Californian

April 30, 2011

Cal State Bakersfield turned to one of its own to lead the women's basketball program. Greg McCall had his interim tag officially removed Friday and was named head coach of the women's team. McCall, a former CSUB men's player, agreed to a three-year deal to become the third coach in program history. McCall served an assistant for four seasons under Tim La Kose, who last week accepted the women's coaching position at San Jose State. After La Kose left, McCall was tabbed as the interim coach. "We were looking for the right fit to maintain continuity in our program and Greg McCall was the overwhelming choice by our department and our student athletes," CSUB athletic director Jeff Konya said in a release. "His coaching experience as an assistant here at CSUB and as a head coach elsewhere, along with his ties to the community made this an easy decision."

As an assistant, McCall helped guide the Roadrunners to a pair of postseason appearances, including a 22-12 record in 2011. He played a key role in recruiting, scouting, game planning and player development. This will be McCall's second stint as a head coach. He previously led Taft College for 10 seasons (1997-2007), helping restart the women's program. He began his coaching career at CSUB under men's coach Pat Douglass, winning a NCAA Division II national championship in 1997. He also played for Douglass and was a team captain on the Roadrunners' 1991 Division II Final Four team.

Former Taft College Running Coach Honored

by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

April 29, 2011

It’s been 17 years since Taft College was a dominant force in community college track and field and cross country, but a belated award has been bestowed on the architects of those programs.  Fresno State University has named former TC track and cross country coaches Doug Wells and Craig Johnson “Valley Greats: for their achievements.  Both, along with three former Cougar track standouts who competed at Fresno State, were honored recently in Fresno. Johnson, who was TC’s first cross country coach and an assistant to head track coach Wells, was recognized for coaching achievements.

Wells, although he has been a leading track and field coach for the past 28 years, was honored for his exploits as an athlete at Porterville high school and college.  After Taft College axed its entire athletic program in 1994, Wells became director of track and field at Cerritos College in Norwalk.  “It was really unexpected,” Johnson said of the awards, “especially after all these years, it was great to see Doug and three f the athletes that were here.” They are middle distance runner Jeff Roberson, who set an indoor would record in the 500 and is now a fifth grade teacher in Sacramento: Robert Foster, a two-time Olympic high hurdler, and Trishun Jackson, a sprinter on the 1990 Cougar team who became a police officer and member of the SWAT team for the Fresno City Police Dept. and made a miraculous recovery after being wounded by a shotgun blast during a routine traffic stop.

“It’s always good to hear what the kids are doing once they leave Taft,” Johnson said.  He started the cross country program at TC after being badgered for more than a year by then Dean of Instruction Paul Filter. “I kept telling him that I didn’t know the first thing about cross country,” Johnson said. “I finally gave in.”  He was glad he did.  Johnson guided the Cougars to eight conference, northern and southern California championships and one state title.  He also coached distance runners on the track team.

His success as a coach at TC earned him an invitation to the U.S. Olympic training facility in Colorado Springs four consecutive years where he helped train athletes and participated in cutting edge research.  Under Wells and Johnson Cougar track teams won 11 conference titles, eight regional crowns and four state championships. In 1985, at the state championships in Modesto, the Cougar men set a state record by scoring 144 points. It still stands.  In addition, the Cougars set eight national track and field records and produced three Olympians: Brandon Rock (USA), Brian Wellman (Bermuda) and Foster (Jamaica).  An assistant coach on many of those teams were Jeff Chudy, now the head football coach at Bakersfield College

TC's Bandy to be honored for her 422 Wins

by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

Published: December 17, 2010

Taft College volleyball coach Kanoe Bandy is in Kansas City, Mo., this weekend to be honored by the American Volleyball Coaches Association for having 400+ victories in her career. Bandy, who also serves as TC’s athletic director, actually reached the milestone the middle of last season, but was unable to attend the AVCA national convention. “Since I couldn’t attend the convention last year they decided to present my award this year,” she said. The coaches awards luncheon is part of the festivities at the NCAA Division I national championships that are being played at the Sprint Center. “The neat thing is we get to see the final four,” Bandy said. Her husband, Don, a history and geography professor and former softball coach, is accompanying her. Kanoe Bandy said the award she will receive at the awards luncheon is bittersweet. “It’s nice to be recognized, but it’s really not so much about me as it is about the players that come to Taft College to play,” she said. “Without them, I’m nothing.” Bandy has 422 victories in her 24 seasons at TC. She is seven-time Central Valley Conference coach of the year and three-time northern California coach of the year. Tussling for this year’s NCAA championship are USC, Cal, Texas and defending national champion Penn State.


Loyal Taft Athletics Fans give $200,000 for Soccer Field

by Jorge Barrientos
Bakersfield Californian

Published: Tuesday,, Oct. 19, 2010

Jack and Evelyn Rowe never had HBO, their niece Mary Crowley said. They had Taft sports for entertainment. The two hardly ever missed Taft College and Taft High School football games, and they were familiar faces at area soccer, track, softball and other sporting events. "The worst thing that ever happened to them was when Taft (College) dropped its football program," Crowley said. "They never missed a game. They were loyal fans from the get-go until the very end." And now the Rowes are giving back. The Rowe Family Trust on Saturday will give the Taft College Foundation $200,000 -- the largest donation the foundation has received in recorded history, at least 20 years.

The money will be used to build a scoreboard and install a lighting system at the Taft Union High School soccer field that is also used by the college and community. Those are two features currently missing on the fields. "Taft gave them recreation," Crowley said. "They're dedicated to Taft, and this is just giving back." Evelyn May Beck Rowe graduated from Taft High School in 1934 and played field hockey, basketball, volleyball, tennis and softball. She went on to Taft College and played local softball before moving to Southern California. There she continued with softball, but returned to Taft before World War II started. Herbert John "Jack" Rowe was born and raised in Maricopa where he played football and track. He attended Taft College before volunteering for the Army in World War II.

The two married in 1953. They worked for Chevron for a combined 67 years before retiring. Jack Rowe died in August 2004 in Taft at 82. Evelyn Rowe is 95 years old and a "sharp cookie," Crowley said. The Rowes are private people, Crowley said, and this is the first time they've gone public with a donation. Their hope is the donation will inspire others to give to their communities and to Taft, Crowley said. The soccer field also needs bleachers, for example. They wanted to give toward something that would benefit the high school, the college and community evenly. Family will make a presentation during Oildorado Days, a celebration of Taft's 100 years. Students and coaches from the high school and college soccer teams will happily welcome the field improvements, school officials said. Taft College's men's soccer team has made the state finals several times the last few years, but they've been unable to play or practice at night in Taft. The scoreboard will read "Beck-Rowe Family."

Alma's 2010 Hall of Fame Class Announced

by Jim Lahde
Morning Sun

Published: Monday, Aug. 16, 2010

The newest members of the Alma Schools Athletic Hall of Fame were announced Sunday during the annual all-class reunion held at Wright Park in Alma. Hall of Fame committee members Doug Yarnell and Mike Miller announced the Class of 2010 at 1 p.m., listing off six former standout athletes all of whom will be inducted during the Hall of Fame Induction Banquet at Pine River Country Club on Oct. 23. The Class of 2010 is the fourth to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame and it brings the running total up to 29 former athletes/coaches and ambassadors. Here's a closer look at the Class of 2010.

Melvin Fuller - Class of 1932

Fuller was a four-sport athlete for the Panthers and was the president of his class in 1931-32. He earned three letters in football and was all-conference and honorable mention All-State at tackle in 1931. He also played basketball, baseball and ran track and field before moving on and having an exceptional college career at Alma College. During his collegiate run he was a three-sport letterwinner for the Scots as he played football, basketball and ran track and field. In 1935 Fuller earned All-MIAA honors at tackle. That same season Alma College won the MIAA by going 4-0 and finished ranked in the national poll. The 1975 Alma College Athletic Hall of Fame honoree was known as a '60 Minute Man' as he played nearly every down on both offense and defense. Melvin Fuller's son Gary Fuller was at Sunday's ceremony and was honored when he heard the announcement. "We're very proud to have him recognized," said Gary Fuller, who graduated from Alma High School in 1960. "I appreciate the committee's work in nominating him. It's great that it's on the record so our grandchildren and great grandchildren can come back here and see what their grandfather did."

Dale Narragon - Class of 1952

Narragon was a four-sport athlete who earned 12 letters during his prep career. He played football, basketball, baseball and ran track and field for the Panthers. He also captained the 1952 football team. On the hardwood he earned All-State honorable mention honors from the Detroit News and was on the Saginaw News' first-team. In track, where he was also the team captain in 1952, he set the school record in the shot put with a throw of 49-7 7/8. This throw stood for 15 years. After graduation he was a three-sport athlete at Taft College in California. He competed in football, basketball and track and field.

Narrogon_Football Narrogon_Basketball Narrogon_Baseball


Jan Bowen — Class of 196

Bowen starred in cross country and track and field and is one of the best distance runners in school history. As a senior he won 15 titles combined and finished runner-up in the mile in Class B. As a freshman in 1958 he also landed runner-up in the mile in Class B before winning the state title in the event in both 1959 and 1960. In the mile alone he set the Alma High School school record; the North Central B Conference record and the Saginaw Area record. Bowen went on to run at Michigan State in both cross country and track and field from 1961-64. He won the Big Ten Conference title in the mile in 1963 and led the Spartans to conference titles in cross country in 1962 and 1963.

Mike Ward — Class of 1979

Mike Ward was a three-sport athlete for the Panthers who earned seven letters during his prep career. He excelled in football, baseball and basketball and earned numerous honors in each. On the gridiron he played a key role in leading the Panthers to the conference title in 1978 and earned all-conference honors at defensive back. On the hardwood he earned three letters and helped Alma win district and regional titles en route to an appearance in the state semifinals in 1978. Alma also won a district title in 1979 and he was named Team MVP after leading the team in scoring. Ward also garnered all-conference honors and All-State honors in basketball as a senior. On the diamond Ward led the Panthers to a conference title and a district title in 1978. He also earned all-conference honors as a junior and senior and was All-State in 1979. He played baseball for four years at CMU and established career records for home runs and extra-base hits. Ward also played minor league baseball in the Detroit Tigers' farm system.

Mark Ward — Class of 1979

Mark Ward, twin brother of Mike, was also an exceptional three-sport star for the Panthers as he excelled in football, basketball and baseball. In football he was a standout lineman who earned All-State honors from the AP, UPI and the Detroit News and Detroit Free Press in 1979. The all-conference selection was also a key cog in helping the Panthers win a conference title in 1978. In basketball he helped the Panthers advance to the semifinal round in 1978 and secure a district title in 1979. As a senior he was the team's top rebounder and free-throw shooter. Ward also earned three letters in baseball and played a key role in Alma winning conference and district titles in 1978 and 1979. He also earned all-conference honors as a junior and senior and was All-State as a senior. Ward also went onto play baseball at CMU. "It's a great honor and something I'm looking forward to," said Mark Ward Sunday. "We weren't really expecting this and don't know how we got involved but we both think it's a great honor.

Lisa (Peska) Robinson — Class of 1983

During her tenure Robinson earned eight letters, four in swimming and four in track and field. In the pool this four-year state finals qualifier earned All-State honors in 1982 and 1983. She also set numerous school records and was named the Mid-Michigan B Conference Outstanding Swimmer in 1981 and 1983. Robinson was the team captain and MVP as a senior. On the track she also qualified for the state finals four times and set multiple school records. In 1982 she won conference titles in two events and regional crowns in four events en route to All-State honors. Then in 1983 she claimed conference and regional titles in two events and was again All-State. To her father Gerald the fact that she is being inducted is nice, but he had an inkling early on that his daughter Lisa had something special. "The one I remember the most is the field day in the seventh grade," said Gerald Peska, who also coached Lisa for 10 years. "They had all the boys and girls going together and throwing (the shot put). Usually it was about 17 feet. I called her over and asked her to tell the guy who's running it to move back. He looked at her like 'who are you.' She threw that six-pound shot put 37 feet."

Six More Added to RC Hall of Fame

by Will Goldbeck
The Reedley Exponent

Published: Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010

With the host and two inductees, the 1970 Reedley College Tiger football team was well represented at the 19th annual induction dinner for the Reedley College Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame on Saturday night at the Reedley Community Center. About 130 people, some making the trip to Reedley from as far as Texas, heard the incredible story of how inductee Mark Pinheiro rebounded from a back injury to play offensive tackle for the 1970 Tigers. Pinheiro's teammates, inductee Robert Pendergrass and dinner host Ed Kezirian, made it a perfect ending for a perfect evening as the Hall of Fame grew to 149 members.

Making the trip to the World's Fruit Basket for the ceremony from Texas were inductee Edrina Pogue Baker (1985-87) and many members of her family. Only needing about two miles to make it to the ceremony was former Tiger tennis and basketball standout Richard Groening (1952-53). The other inductees were golfer Todd Hansen (1995-1997) and basketball standout Greg McCall (1987-1989). Also in attendance were 15 other members of the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame. Pendergrass delighted the crowd by telling stories from the 1970 football team, including one involving Kezirian's wife, who was the mascot at the time.

Kezirian shared the story of Pinheiro's injury, suffered when he was training for the 1969 City-County All Star Game. Pinheiro was lifting weights in the Kingsburg High School Gymnasium when he lost his balance and injured his lower back. Despite being in pain all summer, Pinheiro practiced for five days with the County All-Stars before he couldn't stand the pain anymore. Pinheiro spent a month in the hospital after they removed the fourth and fifth discs in his back. He went from a 240-pound lineman to 190 pounds. "The 1969 and 1970 football seasons were two of the best seasons in school history," said Kezirian. "No one was going to move our anchor," said Kezirian, who moved to left tackle to keep Pinheiro at the right tackle position in 1970. "No one on our team studied film more than Mark." Kezirian showed the crowd an autographed photo from former Green Bay Packers lineman Jerry Kramer of Kramer holding up Coach Vince Lombardi after the famous Ice Bowl victory. The photo was signed, "To Mark from one offensive lineman to another, Jerry Kramer."

Pinheiro said that the team chemistry and the closeness of all the players were keys to the success of the two Tiger teams. He also told the story about a defensive lineman from West Hills College, who after watching films, Pinheiro thought that he wouldn't have to face his sophomore year. But that lineman, known only as number 87, lined up across from Pinheiro. "I'm known as the guy that almost got Steve Jacoby killed," said Pinheiro. "What a leader, he said of the late Jacoby, who was one of the 14 members of the first induction class back in 1992. "I never realized in my wildest dreams that I would be up here," said Groening, who starred for the Tigers in tennis and basketball in 1952-53. He said that he was so fired up when they played College of the Sequoias in basketball that he was able to dunk the basketball.

He averaged 19.6 points per game in an era when teams averaged only about 60 points per game. "Reedley College was one of the best experiences of my life," said Pendergrass, who has coached wrestling, football and softball at Mendota High School. Pogue Baker is considered by many to be the best female all-around athlete to play at Reedley. "The school was small and the town was small, it was just what I needed," said Pogue Baker, who was met in Houston, Texas by then Tiger football coach Gerry Scheidt, who was also at the dinner. Pogue Baker was named Teacher of the Year in her area in 2005-2006. Hansen told a story about his only hole-in-one of his golf career. Coach John Perkins told him that he needed the ace and a birdie to win the tournament and that's just what he did. Hansen's youngest son is 18 months old. He told Perkins that he needed him to coach another 18 years.

The first inductee to be introduced was McCall, who came to Reedley from Birmingham, Alabama. Kezirian told the story how Coach Keith Hughes met McCall in Alabama. Hughes later explained that he was officially an assistant coach at Arizona State University at the time. "He came into the projects and recruited me," said McCall. He said that Hughes showed him a picture of Reedley Beach. "I'm still waiting to see Reedley Beach," joked McCall, who said that he wished Reedley was a four-year university. Hughes answered by saying that he never recruited anybody to Reedley without telling them the real story about Reedley Beach.

Acadmic All-Conference Qualifiers- Spring 2010
July 20, 2010

The following student athlete have excelled academically with a grade point average of 3.0 or above, on a 4.0 scale, in at least 12 semester units while successfully participating in the current season of sport.

Jeremiah Twissleman
Austin Christensen
Derek Barnes
Stefan Norman
Shawn Davisson
Braden Keathley
Barrett Nielsen
Sean Arbaut
Garrett Jensen
Travis Derby
Dominic McGovern
Pierce Belaustegui

Monica Lovato
Courtney Nyetrae
Baylee Day
Mahela Punley

Scott Layman Captures Ninth Overall Title in Annual Samson's Bench Press Championships

Taft Midway Driller

June 21, 2010

Scott Layman was the smallest man in the contest, but he came up big. Again. The 149-pound UPS driver from Bakersfield, who played football at Taft College in 1990-91, was the overall champion Saturday in the 12th annual Samson’s Gym bench press championships. It was the ninth time in the history of the local weight-lifting event that Layman has been crowned the best pound-for-pound lifter. It was no surprise. He is one of the best power lifters in the country. Layman has won four national titles. In last July’s USPF nationals, he squatted 600 pounds, bench-pressed 374 and dead-lifted 573 pounds for a total of 1,574 pounds. In the American Cup Invitational Power Lifting championships in Los Angeles last January, Layman lifted 1,504 pounds (595 squat, 380 bench, 529 dead-lift).

In Samson’s contest all he and the others had to do was the bench press. His best of the day was 405 pounds, which is 271.81 percent of his body weight. Brothers Michael and Brian Risenhoover took second and third, respectively, with lifts of 380 (238%) and 345 (226%).  Michael weighs 160 and Brian 153. One of the highlights of the event was the effort by 63-year-old Taftian Dick Russell, who was a shot put and discuss champion at Taft High School just a few years back. Russell won the heavyweight division by lifting 445 pounds or 187 percent of his body weight.

Results in every category were based on percent of body weight lifted. Other results, with weight lifted and percent of body weight in parenthesis: Women’s open: 1. Lisa Piotrouski, 235* (163), 2. Judy Camsuzou 230 (151%) High School: 1. Pablo Hernandez, 260 (174), 2. Jonathan Alfaro, 415 (238), 3. Daniel Watts, 250 (144) Lightweight: 1. Scott Layman 405 (272), 2. Michael Risenhoover 380 (238), 3. Brian Risenhoover 245 (225). Middleweight: 1. Ken Fasulo 405 (224) Light heavyweight: 1. Robert Miller 430 (201), 2. Matt Nixon 405 (190), 3. Cameron Parsons 380 (178) Heavyweight: 1. Dick Russell 445 (187), 2. Louis Seal 445 (178), 3. Tom Fischer 405 (242) Super heavyweight: 1. Steve Denison 535 (198), 2, Travis Plumlee (345 (125)

* Denotes new record The event is organized by Samson’s Gym owners Travis and Andrea Botts and sponsored by: Accelerated Environmen-tal Hudddleston Crane  Pride Athletics, Cooper’s Petroleum General Production Service TIC H&E Equipment Ser-vices MTS Stimulation Services Westside Believers Fellowship. It was held at Westside Believers and covered for an enthusiastic audience and DVD by four high definition cameras that displayed the competition on two 15-foot screens. 

Kari Lawrence
Visalia Times-Delta

April 27, 2010

Kari LawrenceKari Lawrence 41, born November 25, 1968 in Everett, Washington to Bill and Bobbie Robinson. She passed away April 22, 2010 of Breast Cancer. Kari was a resident of Tulare, CA. A 1987 graduate of Rex Putnam High School, Milwaukie, Oregon, Taft College in 1990 and Cal State University, Hayward, CA in 1993. She married Mark Lawrence on August 12, 1996 and they have two beautiful children Hope, 13 and Lucas, 10. A respected Physical Education teacher and coach at Richgrove Middle School for the last 10 years, she loved her students and co-workers and taught every day to the very end. She is survived by her parents Bill and Bobbie Robinson of Tulare, CA, her children Hope and Lucas, her sister Renee Vansickel and husband Ken and their two children Jacob and Aubrey of Tulare, CA. Her brother Brent Robinson of San Jose, CA, her grandfather Jack Harrsch of Dexter, Or and many Aunts, Uncles and Friends. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in her memory to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation . A Celebration of Life Service will be held Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 2:30 P.M. at Salser & Dillard Funeral Chapel, 127 E. Caldwell Ave, Visalia, CA. Condolences may be e-mailed to

Proposed TC Conference Change on Hold
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

April 5, 2010

A proposal to boot three colleges from the south – including Bakersfield College – into the Central Valley Conference has been left in limbo. That was the result of Friday’s meeting in Ontario of the governing body of community college athletics. The proposal – drafted by conferences in southern California – would have moved Bakersfield, Allan Hancock of Santa Maria and Cuesta of San Luis Obispo into the Central Valley Conference, which includes Taft College. All three currently are members of the Western State Conference.

The Commission on Athletics (COA) pulled the item from the agenda. “Its’ been tabled again,” said TC Athletic Director Kanoe Bandy.  “I don’t think this discussion is over yet.” “They didn’t say what they were going to do with it,” she said. She said she was unsure when the plan would be taken up again, but it likely won’t be approached again until the COA meeting next fall. There also is talk of moving Modesto J.C. back into the Central to make it a 12-team conference with two divisions. “There are some other conference ideas out there that haven’t been fully explored,” Bandy said.  “I know there are some other options out there, but they didn’t share much at the meeting.”

Moving BC, Hancock and Cuesta into the CVC will bolster the conference, she said. “It would be good for our conference.  I don’t know that it would solve everything, but it would have been good for us.” Bandy emphasized that the Central wasn’t courting other colleges. “It wasn’t something we were doing.  It was a proposal by the south to move them into our conference.  It had nothing to do with us.  We would have to rework things, but we are willing to take them.  We’re not hurting without this.”

Bakersfield has opposed any effort to move the Renegades from the south to the north, citing a potential for increased travel costs during post-season playoffs. One proposal drafted by the north would, in addition to shifting Modesto back to the Central Valley, move Columbia College into another conference.  Columbia is hosted by the CVC in volleyball only. BC’s representative at the COA meeting – softball coach Sandi Taylor – was reported to have said the reconferencing issue will be taken up by the state athletic directors association, but Bandy questioned that. “I’m on the board of directors of athletic directors association and haven’t heard anything about that,” she said.

New Alignment Could Put TC, Bakersfield in Same Conference
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

March 29, 2010

A proposed change that will be voted on this week by the state governing body could rekindle the Taft-Bakersfield rivalry. The Commission on Athletics, citing cost-containment as the primary reason, is considering a plan that would bring Bakersfield, Allan Hancock, Cuesta and Modesto colleges into the Central Valley Conference. TC is a longstanding member of the CVC.  Other schools include Sequoias, Fresno, Merced, Reedley, Porterville and West Hills.  The CVC hosts Columbia College in volleyball, but that arrangement would end with the realignment, said TC Athletic Director Kanoe Bandy. “That’s our longest trip,” she said, of the college that is located just outside Sonora. BC, Hancock of Santa Maria, and Cuesta of San Luis Obispo may be forced out of the Western State Conference, Bandy said. “They are essentially being kicked out of the Western State,” she said.  “Travel is the main consideration.”

Bakersfield, despite its close proximity to Taft, rarely engages TC even in non-conference games. Softball is the only sport the schools are playing each other in this year. Baseball coach Vince Maiocco said he’d like to play the Renegades in a home-and-home series, but the Bakersfield school has declined. He thinks the prospect of BC joining the Central Valley league would add luster. “I welcome it,” he said.  “It will make us – the CVC – one of the premier athletic conferences in the entire state.  There’s talk that we’d have a north and south division and that would guarantee our conference at least four playoff spots.” He sees another plus. “It would continue those high school rivalries for another two years.  These kids in the valley play against each other in high school, and this would keep that going.”

The Central Valley has wooed Bakersfield in the past, Bandy said. “We’ve tried to get them in before.” According to an article in the Bakersfield Californian, BC contends a switch to the Central Valley will drive up its travel expenses. And, BC has more sports than most CVC members with 18 (nine for women and nine for men). TC has just six sports – volleyball, soccer, basketball and softball for women and soccer and baseball for men. An expanded conference may put pressure on TC to add sports.

TC to Hold Baseball Clinic on Sunday
Taft Midway Driller

March 26, 2010

The Taft College baseball team will hold a free youth baseball clinic Sunday from 3-5 p.m. at Cougar Field on the TC campus, 29 Emmons Park Drive.

Head Coach Vince Maiocco said the clinic will cover the fundamentals of the game.  The coaching staff and players will put youngsters 13 and under through a series of drills.

Participants are asked to bring their gloves along with a bat and helmet, if they have those items.

Former Taft College Football Player David Kelly's Miraculous Recovery Recalled at Hall of Fame Dinner
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

February 5, 2010

David Kelly’s inspirational story was revisited two weeks ago when he was inducted into the Arvin High sports hall of fame.  Kelly, who played two seasons of football at Taft College in 1975-76, made a miraculous recovery from a near-fatal traffic accident in 1996, fought his way back to a normal life and is now inspiring young athletes as a junior varsity assistant coach. “I had to start all over,” he said.  “I was like a baby.  I had to learn to crawl and walk and talk all over again.” Despite his painful and sometimes frustrating recovery, Kelly plowed ahead with the same level of commitment and determination he brought to athletics. He was a three-sport star at Arvin but played only football at TC, where he was team captain and a two-time All-Central Valley Conference wide receiver who made a big impression on legendary coach Al Baldock. They kept in touch after Kelly returned to Arvin where he established a successful produce business. They became even closer after the near-fatal injuries Kelly suffered when his produce truck was broadsided on a rural road.

In fact, Kelly and Baldock met in Bakersfield just two days before the coach he so admired and respected drowned in his back yard swimming pool in September. “Coach Baldock was such an inspiration to me,” Kelly said.  “I’ll never forget what he did for me and his other players.” Kelly likewise was an inspiration to his former coach, who was awed by Kelly’s miraculous recovery. At Kelly’s request, Baldock staged a clinic for the Arvin High coaches. “I learned so much as a young man from him,” he said.

He recalled with pride a crucial conference game at Porterville College where he made the game-winning catch and had a coach tell him he “could be the mayor of Taft after that catch and winning the game.” Kelly also has been an inspiration to his former Cougar teammate and dorm roommate Kerry Denison, who flew out from Denver, Colo. to attend the induction ceremony. “David and I have been close since our playing days at Taft,” he said.  “We went separate ways after our days at TC but kept in touch.  I was in Bakersfield visiting my parents when he had his accident.  I spent four days with him at the hospital. Kelly was not expected to survive the crash.  He was in a coma and on life support for three weeks. “His recovery was just amazing,” Denison said.  “He is such an inspiration to everyone.  We’ve remained close and kept in touch.”

Chuck Chamberlain, a coaching legend in Arvin and head football and baseball coach when Kelly was a Bear, highlighted his former player’s career. “He was a great three-sport athlete,” he said.  “He played on five different championship teams.  In baseball we were second in the valley and in basketball we were third in the valley, with no player over six feet tall.  He is a guy you wanted at bat when the game was on the line.” Kelly continued to contribute to the community after his playing days ended, organizing a highly successful youth football program. “You talk about a guy who gives back to the community,” he said.  “He coached my sons in Little League and has coached JV football for the last 10 years.  He’s making a big difference in these players.” Kelly credited his coaches with giving him the courage and dedication to recover from his horrific accident. “Life today is pretty good again.  I will always be thankful to my coaches for instilling in me the never-give-up attitude that helped me get through the rehab after my accident.”


Taft College Athletes Named to Acadmic All-Conference
by Dennis McCall
Taft Midway Driller

February 1, 2010

Twenty-three fall semester Taft College athletes have been named to the Central Valley Conference academic all-conference team. The award is based on academic excellence.  Student athletes must have earned a grade point average of 3.0 (B) or above in at least 12 units of credit coursework to qualify.

Men's Soccer:
Ever DeLeon
Miguel Guillen
Sergio Cedano
Noel Lopez
Ricardo Sandoval
Jiovany Almanza
Women's Soccer:
Danielle Fitzgerald
Stephany Foster
Crystal Ah Sam
Keryn Nield
Jessica Sanchez
Laura Cornejo
Nora Perez
Michelle Hardy
Kelcey Viliamu
Nicole Gummersall
Tina Pulu
Women's Basketball:
Baylee Day
Christine Taylor
Jasmine Green
Maryssa Reyes
Crystal Clark
Yeni Sandoval

February 1, 2010
The Taft College Athletic Department is saddened to announce the death of former football Coach and California Community College Football Hall of Famer, Al Baldock. Al passed away on Monday, September 14, 2009 at his home in Taft. Our thoughts go out to his wife, Joyce, his daughter, Erin, and his grandchildren.

Services for Al Baldock were held at the Westside Believers Fellowship, 101 Highway 33 , Taft, CA at 10:00 am on Monday September 21, 2009. Taft College hosted a reception at the Taft College gym following the services.

A scholarship has been established in his name through the Taft College Memorial Scholarship Fund, 29 Emmons Park Drive, Taft, CA 93268. Or contact Debbie Hegeman at 661.763.7727

click here for Midway Driller article

click here for Taft Independent article

January 29, 2009

Coach Al Baldock inventor of football's T-bone offense will sign copies of his book at Taft College Library Thursday, January 29, 2009 from 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. Books for sale at $29 each, or BYO Film clips! Refreshments! sponsored by Friends of Taft College Library

March 2008

Congratulations to women's soccer team member, Nicole Girard on being selected as one of the two recipients of the California Community College Academic Athletic Advisors Association, 2007-2008 Student Athlete Achievement Award! Nicole was nominated by her Academic Advisor, Tony Thompson. She was selected to recieve the award based on her hard work, ability to overcome extenuating circumstances and most of all, her perseverance to define her own personal success in academics and athletics. Nicole will be awarded at the Pepsi Scholar Athlete Luncheon during the annual CCCAA Convention on April 3, 2008 in Ontario CA.