Over 350 academy student athletes, their coaches, and sponsors from 13 academies throughout California participated in the annual Pioneers Invitational academy basketball tournament at Pacific Union College, January 17-20.
Game play began early Wednesday morning, January 17, and culminated in the championship game late Saturday night, January 20, played on center court. On the women’s side, the Spartans from Rio Lindo Adventist Academy in Healdsburg, Calif., defeated the Eagles from El Dorado Adventist School in Placerville, Calif., 44-39. For the men, the Capitals from Sacramento Adventist Academy in Sacramento, Calif., beat out the Spartans from Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, 54-32.
Other tournament participants included the Eagles from American Christian Academy in Citrus Heights, Calif.; the Cavaliers from Central Valley Christian Academy in Ceres, Calif.; the Vikings from Fresno Adventist Academy in Fresno, Calif.; the Titans from Lodi Academy in Lodi, Calif.; the Mighty Cypress from Monterey Bay Academy in Watsonville, Calif.; the Knights from Napa Christian Campus of Education in Napa, Calif.; the Gators from Newbury Park Adventist Academy in Newbury Park, Calif.; the Cougars from Paradise Adventist Academy in Paradise, Calif.; the Eagles from Pine Hills Adventist Academy in Auburn, Calif.; and the Falcons from Pacific Union College Preparatory School in Angwin, Calif.
Friday afternoon, January 19, a 3-point shooting contest was held. For the women, Lauren King from Central Valley Christian Academy won the shootout, and for the men, Duane Darrett from Newbury Park Adventist Academy.
The Pioneers Invitational all-star women’s team comprised of the following student athletes: Annelise Scales (MVP), Central Valley Christian Academy; Kristen Sobrapena, Sacramento Adventist Academy; Yudi Mazariegos, Rio Lindo Adventist Academy; Camryn Rice, El Dorado Adventist School; Gabriella Espinoza, Fresno Adventist Academy; Sophia Tyner, PUC Preparatory School; Emma Matheny, Napa Christian; Rachel Schlemmer, Newbury Park Adventist Academy; Megan Bothwell, PUC Preparatory School; Annaka Reeb, El Dorado Adventist School.
The Pioneers Invitational all-star men’s team comprised of the following student athletes: Griffin Genobaga (MVP), Pine Hills Adventist Academy; Matteo Mansacola, American Christian Academy; Duane Darrett, Newbury Park Adventist Academy; Grant Phillippi, El Dorado Adventist Academy; Griffin Trull, Sacramento Adventist Academy; Jamison Collins, Sacramento Adventist Academy; Shane Jones, Sacramento Adventist Academy; DJ Lopes, Rio Lindo Adventist Academy; Ruben Valce, Rio Lindo Adventist Academy; and David Castiglioni, Newbury Park Adventist Academy.
Friday evening, Adam Washington, youth pastor at the PUC Church and PUC Prep chaplain, organized a special tournament youth vespers entitled “The Kingdom.” The first half of the program featured music, spoken word, videos, and a sermonette; the second half had the student athletes participating in different 50-minute practical workshops to help them further develop their skill sets and gifts. Some of the workshop topics included drama, public speaking, poetry/spoken word, audio/visual equipment, art, and worship-leading.
On Sabbath, the academy student athletes visited the collegiate Sabbath school, which featured student missions for the college’s Mission Emphasis Week. PUC students shared their experiences on the Kenya mission trip that took place last summer. The academy student athletes also visited the student-run church service the Twelves, and went on a special hike in the college’s back 40 property to appreciate and revel in God’s extraordinary creation.
“Each year, we look forward to welcoming the academies and their student athletes to our campus,” said Jennifer Tyner, vice president of student life, enrollment, and marketing. “Not only do we enjoy hosting them to engage in healthy, Christian competition, but the tournaments are also a great way to help connect prospective students with the college. It also gives them an idea of what it would be like to attend PUC and whether or not they can see themselves as Pioneers. As a mom of a high school athlete, I am so happy our students have opportunities like these large tournaments and vespers to be together. It is so much fun to watch them interact and have a great time both socially and spiritually. ”