The common misconception that Rio sports teams are not very good was ever so present, even after all of the section playoff games that were played by the Raider fall teams.
Every fall team made the playoffs except for football, a team that struggled through the coaching dilemma and still finished only one league win away from making playoffs themselves.
Rio has had a team advance to states, two section titles, a semi-finalist in playoffs, and a quarter-finalist.
First up is the women’s cross country team. They placed third in sections to move onto the state meet for the first time in over twenty years.
The team is led by senior Macaulay Porter and junior Elizabeth Hutchison. They placed fourth and tenth in the section race.
Porter finished fourth on the course that she got a stress fracture on one year earlier.
The team’s fourth fastest runner, sophomore Paige Gowan, said, “It was a ‘I just want to hug everything and my cheeks hurt from smiling kind of day.’”
In the state meet, Porter finished in 24 place.
Both of the water polo teams felt the same way after their section final matches.
Both have been utterly dominant all season long, with zero losses for either team throughout league and sections.
The men won their third straight championship and the women won their tenth section title in eleven years.
The two teams were thrilled to bring home the section pennants.
“We were crazy excited!” said an exuberant junior Erin Cherovsky. The boys went a bit further in their celebrations, though.
“We were so excited that we threw our coaches in the pool,” stated junior Stuart Samoville.
Some of the other teams who reached playoffs include women’s volleyball, men’s soccer, and women’s golf.
Volleyball finished their season with a crushing loss in the quarterfinal match after winning the CAL with only one loss against El Camino. The Raiders avenged the loss in the second round of league games by beating their rivals on the road.
The season of a 32-9 record brought the team to a 17 ranking in the San Joaquin Section rankings. Although the team did not advance very far into the playoffs, the team of three sophomores, five juniors, and four seniors worked hard and it paid off.
Beating El Camino, Rio’s biggest rival, on El Camino’s home court, in a 3-1 game brought excitement to the team and high hopes for the rest of the season and playoffs.
“My favorite part of the season was winning against El Camino at their home court.” Said sophomore Maddison Hunziker “It was a big accomplishment beating them considering it was their first loss in two years.”
After beating visiting team Antelope 3-0 on October 30, Rio’s spot in playoffs was secured.
With two highly recruited players, outside hitter Maddie Cannon, and setter Maddie Merlino, leading the team through the season and now into playoffs, the Raiders were ready for anything.
After working long and hard this season, it had all paid off. On November 6 Rio defeated visiting team, Pacheo, in a 3-0 match up in the first game of playoffs.
Going into the next game against El Dorado, the girls were amped and ready. Unfortunately, after three close games Rio had been defeated. Despite the loss, the team fought and played hard.
Although they did not advance further into the playoffs, the team and Grix were happy about their experience and chance in the playoffs.
Men’s soccer lost in the semifinal match against River Valley in penalty kicks, the team that would move on three days later to win the section title.
“It was bittersweet because we got so far, [but] to lose in penalties was devastating,” said junior forward Ahmadu Barrie.
The team posted a 7-0-3 league season, with Mark Ledbetter and Ian Kinn leading the team.
In 22 games the team scored 42 goals. Barrie led scorers with 10 goals. Richard Newens and Ricardo Vega led in assists.
They won their first playoff game against Cosumnes Oaks on 2-0, before losing to River Valley.
The loss was in penalty kicks. The Raiders managed to make four of their five penalties, but River Valley finished on top after they hit all five penalties.
The women’s golf team was satisfied with their season because they were able to see the two senior captains, Haley Ayres and Sydney Selix, off with a playoff birth.
They two were the only two seniors on the team, so the Raiders have a young team that could grow over the next few years.
Beating teams such as Mira Loma and Golden Sierra, the team was led by many of its starting senior players. On average, about seven of the eleven starters were seniors.
Although the men did not make it to playoffs, they went 2-3 in league. “My highlight of the league play was probably slaughtering Mira Loma in our homecoming game,” junior Cole Davey said.
The season was not an easy ride, as their former coach Christian Mahaffey was fired halfway through their season. The switch in leadership left the men with the responsibility to learn entirely new offensive and defensive plays.
Despite the changes, six players were named all league players at the end of the season.
New head coach Max Miller plans to return next year to coach. With many championships under his belt he hopes to take Rio to a new level on the football field.
With fifteen graduating seniors on the team, the remaining twenty one juniors and sophomores plan to take over the team next season. Many of the offensive and defensive line being juniors gives them the upper hand next season’s play.
Junior Wes Plumley said, “Next year I hope that more students show up to the games and have the band play at all of the home games.” Hopefully for the Raider football team, their season will be a touchdown.