The principals of Shadow Hills and La Quinta high schools recently received letters from Superintendent Judy White of the Riverside County Office of Education. The letters served as an announcement that the La Quinta High School boys cross country team and the Shadow Hills High School varsity football team had the highest overall GPA for these sports across the county. Dr. White noted that the award was initiated to “recognize some of the many successes of our schools and to demonstrate the positive relationship between athletics and academics.”

Excellence On and Off the Field

Academic Athletic Team Award

The teams received plaques and each member received a patch for his letterman jacket at the January 16 Desert Sands Unified School District board meeting. The presentation was made by Mike Barney, executive director, instructional services for the Riverside County Office of Education. Certificates from the district were also presented to each team member. School Board President Gary Tomak commented on the importance of sports in schools and their serving not only to encourage healthy students but in the correlation between academic excellence among the teens.

Shadow Hills High School’s varsity football team holds a combined GPA 0f 3.39 with the highest individual grade point average held by sophomores Fernando Castro (4.71), Nathan Hamilton (4.17), Cole Lang (4.57), and Jake Shipley (4.14). Among the seniors are Eric Pasillas (3.85), Tommy Clark (3.72), Isaiah Romero (3.71), and Raymond Ortega (3.61).

Head coach Ron Shipley is joined by a staff who insist that homework comes first, followed by good sportsmanship, and then excellence in the sport. The coaching staff includes Reed Benjamin, Rolando Canella, Ryan Clark, Shane Boyles, Alex Esquibel, Aaron Wiltrout, Shaun Clark. Students receiving the award were Kevin Johnson, Alec Glasper, Hunter Brooks, Deshaun Jackson, Oscar DeLaTorre, Kaleb Welmas, Markys Guzman, Isaiah Romero, Dylan Foli, Jacob Luna, JD Lang, Tommy Clark, Matthew Kelsey, Christian Mathews, Ray Amador, James Delara, Lee Hawkins, Marcos Esparza, Jermiah Perrin, Jaden Donovan, Raymond Ortega, Nathan Hamilton, Ruben Jimenez, Brandon Rincon, Chris Morgan, Chance Day-Spicer, Dwight Mayer-Hayes, Anthony Acadvedo, Ulisses Rodriguez-Franco, Jake Shipley, Nash Tebalak, Fernando Castro, Dawuud Mathews, Valentin Rodriguez, Cole Aiton, Christain Robledo, Nathaniel Esquivez, Joseph Ibarra, Andres Narvaez, Suneal Jeetan, Cole Lang, Eric Pasillas, Elias Wolden, Quintcy Egson.

Excellence On and Off the Field

Team La Quinta High School

La Quinta High School’s boys cross country team holds a combined GPA of 4.17 with the highest individual grade point averages held by senior Parker Wallace (4.83) and junior William Beyma (4.83). Wallace plans on attending Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Other senior scholars include Jairo Verduzco (4.71) who is planning on attending Brigham Young University; Dylan Ruiz (4.17) heading for a California State University; Anthony Rojas (3.67) with plans to attend Cal State Fullerton. Coach Candelario “Candy” Felix III pointed out that these grades are earned despite the 5:00 am practices that his team uses to begin each day. Team roster includes Raen Reyes, Anthony Rojas, Parker Wallace, Sergio Mancilla, Jairo Verduzco, Dylan Ruiz, Skylar Mann, Angel Parra, and William Beyman.

The recognition of these student athletes gives winning a whole new meaning.