FCC Adds 3 More State Championships to Its Trophy Case
December 20, 2017
For years, Fresno City College has been known as an athletics powerhouse, with teams winning conference championships and making deep runs in the playoffs. This fall season however, it became even more special for Rams athletics when three of it’s athletic programs managed to reach and win the state championship title.
On Dec. 14, all three FCC teams were acknowledged by Fresno City Councilmember Esmeralda Soria at Fresno City Hall for their achievements.
On the weekend of Dec. 1-3, the men’s and women’s soccer programs had their best year in history with both teams winning the CCCAA State Championship.
The following weekend, the FCC wrestling team went on to the state tournament hosted by San Joaquin Delta College, and for the second season in a row won the CCCAA State Team Championship.
After a tough semifinal the against Santiago Canyon College that was decided in a penalty shootout, the women’s soccer team, who had an amazing season undefeated, found themselves facing another undefeated team, Santa Barbara City College, in the state final.
The Rams’ time management of the game paid off well when in the second half, FCC’s left wing Sophia Zertuche scored the opening goal of the game, putting the Rams up by one goal. With the momentum on their side, Rams forward Taylor Alkire scored the second one for FCC in the 77th minute of the game.
Santa Barbara managed a late goal on the Rams, but it was too late — FCC won its first first women’s soccer state title since the mid 1980s. The Rams finished the season as the number one team in the country, defender Danielle Pacheco was named the 2017 Junior College Division III National Player of the Year and the coaching staff was named National Staff of the Year.
“Winning the championship was one of the best feelings I have ever felt,” said head coach Oliver Germond. “It took such a huge team effort from our players and coaching staff and to see it all come together was a feeling I’ll never forget. Everyone made huge sacrifices for the team, but it paid off.”
A few hours later, the men’s soccer team took the same field than the women took at American River College and demonstrated why they were the first seat in the tournament.
Similar to the women’s team, the men’s soccer team face a difficult semifinal match against Mt. San Antonio College, who had eliminated the previous year from the payoffs. They defeated the Mounties and advanced to the final.
In the championship match, FCC faced a familiar foe in Taft College who is a conference rival of the Rams. In the two season matches, Taft and FCC had tied 0-0 in both encounters and this was set up to be a really good matchup.
FCC took a smart approach in the game and thanks to forward and finals MVP Johnny Rodriguez, took the lead in the 12th minute. This made it so that the Rams could manage the game from the very beginning.
Taft’s desperation to score an equalizing goal also caused them to make errors that cost them dearly. In the 67th minute of the game, a Taft player saw a red card due to a tough aggressive play, leaving its team one man down.
The Rams took advantage of this and scored a second goal thanks to midfielder Matheus Araujo. The goal took away any chances for Taft to tie the game and gave FCC their first state title in school history.
Rodriguez was named 2017 Division III Junior College Men’s National Player of the Year and along with Pacheco from the women’s team they will be recognized on Jan. 20 during a United Soccer Coaches luncheon that will be celebrated in Pennsylvania.
The very next weekend it was the wrestling team’s turn to show why they were ranked number one in the state.
Coming off of a win in the duals tournament the previous weekend, the Rams were looking for the program’s 15th state championship and also to place in the top three teams in points for the 10th year in a row.
The Rams had six wrestlers fighting for first place in their weight class. Brandon Betancourt at 125 pounds, Isaia Perez at 133 pounds, Aaron Mora at 141 pounds, and Dylan Martinez at 149 pounds all got first place in their weight class. Those individual titles increase FCC state champions to 79 individual titles for the most in the state.
FCC took home the state championship with 184 points; 32 more points than the number two team in the tournament, Mt. San Antonio College. With 15 state titles, this makes FCC wrestling the winningest program in the state.
In individual awards, Martinez was named the tournament’s outstanding wrestler along with assistant coach George Moreno for assistant coach of the year.
Also for the second year in a row, head coach Paul Keysaw was named coach of the year.
“I’m really proud of this year‘s team, they really banded together as a group committed to the goal of winning the state championship,” said Keysaw. “We were ranked number one all year so there’s a bit of pressure on the team to keep that ranking and to keep winning. In the end, the guys did a great job of handling the pressure and bringing home a championship.”