Many athletes dream of playing on the biggest stages, in front of the brightest lights. It's not enough to just be the best in your area, true athletes want to be the best - period.
There were several athletes who helped prop Barstow up to that level this year. Yes, 2007 was the year Barstow went pro.'

From pitcher Matt Mitchell to boxer Bryan Gordon to football player Derrick Jones, Barstow was well represented on a professional level. Each of those athletes made his first attempt at a professional career while Dino Ebel and T.J. Houshmandzadeh continued the success they've had in recent years at the professional level.

At the same time the Desert Dispatch sports section also made attempts to step up its game. We added new features and began to explore story telling on the Internet.
We plan to continue those trends in 2008, but for now here's a look back at 2007 ...

o Derrick Delton took over as coach for the Barstow High School girls basketball team. Delton, who coached Barstow the previous season, became the Aztecs third coach of the season when he began coaching against Granite Hills on Jan. 5.
Narciso Alonzo began the season as coach before abruptly resigning the post. Bernard Agagni took over as interim coach before Delton returned to coach the team.

o Kevin Lawson's high school basketball career came to an end when the Barstow boys basketball team's season ended with a 85-54 loss to Valenica in the first round of the playoffs. Lawson, who averaged 20.7 points a game throughout the season, was held to 18 points against the Tigers. The loss also marked the final game for Mike McCray, T.J. Hillion and Kristopher Holt.

o Chaffey High School ended the Barstow High School girls basketball team's season with a 59-36 win in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division III-A playoffs.
o The Silver Valley boys basketball team completed one of its best seasons ever and opened the playoffs at home with a 70-52 win against Wildwood. The Trojans earned another home game in the second round of the playoffs

o The Apple Valley High School girls soccer scored three times in the final 10 minutes of their wild card playoff matchup with Barstow to oust the Aztecs 3-1. Barstow controlled the game early and took a 1-0 lead, but the Sun Devils dominated the game late for the win.
o The Barstow wrestling team finished the regular season with a tie for the DSL title. The season ended for the team on Feb. 10 at CIF-SS Div. Team Dual Finals at South Hills High School. The Aztecs fell to South Hills 62-18. Jose Acuna, Sean Silva and Donavan Barela all made significant pushes in to the post season.
o Both Barstow Community College basketball teams ended the season with losses to San Bernardino Valley College on February 17. The women finished the season 12-16 overall while the men went 11-17.

o The Barstow Community College softball picked up their first-ever Foothill Conference win in the Vikings second season. The Vikings beat San Bernardino Valley College 13-1 on March 1 and finished the season with two conference wins after beating Victor Valley Community College later in the season.
o Donavan Barela placed fifth as a 130-pound wrestler at the CIF State Wrestling Championship in Bakersfield. Barela's dad, Pete, previously won a state championship for Barstow High School. By placing at state, Barela earned a trip to Nationals in Virginia Beach, Virginia in late March. Barela's post season run helped to earn him some looks from recruiters. He signed with Cal State Bakersfield, joining former Barstow wrestler Sam Barnhart, and is redshirting this season.

o Richard Shibley, Barstow High School athletic director, was named CIF-SS Athletic Director of the Year for 2006-2007. He was recognized during a banquet at the California State Athletic Directors Association Conference in April before retiring in June.

o East Barstow Little League opens the season with a special present on March 17. The Ramirez family donated a pitching machine to replace the one that was stolen in 2006. West Barstow Little League honored local veterans when it opened its season a week later.

o Bruce Mitchell and Chico Chavez helped begin the Barstow Riffians Wrestling club to help develop Barstow's young wrestlers.

o Barstow High School's Latisha Holden, Daniel Cruz, Shelby Sykes, Brittany Brown, Erica Smith and Michala Henry earned the right to compete in the Arcadia Invitational on April 7. Holden finished fourth in the 100 meter hurdles.

Holden was also part of the third place 4x400-meter relay team with Sykes, Brown and Henry and the 4x100-meter relay team with Sykes, Brown and Smith that finished 18th. The 4x400-meter team set the school record with a time of three minutes and 58.71 seconds while the 4x100-meter team set a season best time of 50.16 seconds. Daniel Cruz threw 157 feet and 7 inches in the discus and 53 feet and 41/2 inches in the shot-put.

o Donavan Barela traveled to Virginia Beach, Va. to compete in the High School Senior Nationals Wrestling Championship at the start of the month. Barela lost his two matches, but the California team took the national championships.

o Barstow High School math teacher Vince Williams Sr. was picked to replace long time Athletic Director Rich Shibley on April 25. Williams took over the position in June after Shibley's final day.

o Local athletes Derrick Jones and Daniel Robinson went for spots in the NFL in April. Jones, a Silver Valley graduate, earned a contract with the Pittsburgh Steelers that included an $8,000 signing bonus. Robinson, a Barstow High School graduate, had a scheduled workout with the New England Patriots, but never reached an agreement with the team.

o The Barstow High School baseball team advanced to the CIF-Southern Section playoffs defeating La Quinta 2-1 to earn the wild card selection before falling to Rubidoux 2-0.

o Barstow High School graduates Amy and Candice Thomas pitched the Cal Baptist University Softball team into the NAIA Softball National Championship. Cal Baptist lost 4-2 to Point Loma Nazarene in extra innings giving the Sea Lions the championship.

o Bryan Gordon, a Barstow High School graduate, defeated Chris Lopez in 45 seconds to earn a win in his first professional boxing match on May 17. He later defeated Maurice Slade and Juan El Issa by knockouts. He ended his first two matches in a total of two minutes and 19 seconds.
o The High Desert's Little League District 49 held it's first ever season of Challenger Division baseball this May. The Challenger Division is set up to give handicapped children a chance to play baseball.
o Daniel Cruz earned entry into the CIF state track and field championship meet during the CIF-SS Masters Track and Field Meet on May 25. Cruz earned an eighth place finish in the shot-put with a throw of 57-21/4 during the state meet on June 1 and 2.

o Former Barstow resident Frank Maldonado helped coach the University of Tampa baseball team to a NCAA Division II World Series championship on June 1.

o Barstow High School graduate Matt Mitchell was drafted by the Kansas City Royals in the 14th round (426th overall) of the MLB draft on June 8. He later signed with the Royals and played for their Arizona League team. He finished his first season with a 5-1 record, 72 strikeouts and a 1.80 ERA.

o The Major Division West Barstow Angels won their third consecutive Little League City Championship on June 16. The nine and 10 year old division Tigers won the City Championship for their division.

o Former Silver Valley football coach Doug Spencer passed away on June 27 due to complications involving throat cancer at 52 years old. Spencer coached the Trojans to their first ever victory in 1986. He also taught at both Barstow and Silver Valley school districts.

o Barstow High School wrestler Sean Silva traveled around the country wrestling in July. He participated in the Iowa Elite Camp and the team California training camp in San Jose. Silva also competed in the Junior U.S. Freestyle and Greco Roman National Championships in Fargo.

o Former Barstow resident Dino Ebel pitched Vladimir Guerrero to a MLB Home Run Derby championship on July 9. Guerrero hit 17 home runs in the home run derby.

o The West Barstow Little League Junior Division All-Stars advanced to the California Division 8 Tournament late in July. Barstow won games against Newmark and Eastlake, but twice fell to Carmel Mountain Ranch to be eliminated from the tournament.

o Barstow Community College honored it's athletic past with the creation of the BCC Athletic Hall of Fame in July. The first induction ceremony was held on July 28. Robin Brown, Danny Norman, Mike Shipley, Bruce Mitchell, Curt Mitchell, Albert Canizales, Dale Fries, Ted Dominguez and the 1974 BCC baseball team were selected for induction.

o Silver Valley Spanish and computer teacher Bryan Savage was hired as the school's new athletic director in August. He replaced interim athletic director and assistant principal David Nivala. Nivala took the spot after Ernest Vogt retired earlier in the year.

o Barstow High School kicked off the 2007 football season with a 15-8 loss to Highland High School on Aug. 31. Monday Morning Quarterback and Friday Night Highlights debuted with this game.

o The city of Barstow took control of Stringham Park from the Barstow Unified School District in August and retrofitted the park to be used for football. Barstow Youth Football and the Barstow Riffian football team used the park this year.

o Silver Valley football coach Andy Campbell led the Trojans in his head coaching debut against Needles on Sept. 7. Silver Valley fell 20-6 in the game. However, the game was the closest the Trojans came to beating the Mustangs in four seasons.

o Silver Valley football coach Andy Campbell got his first coaching victory with a 58-0 win against the California School for the Deaf on Sept. 13.

o Silver Valley graduate Derrick Jones joined the Atlanta Falcons practice squad in October. He spent November on and off of the squad and was named to the active roster on Dec. 26.

o Fires around Southern California forced local schools to delay sports and school at the end of October. Silver Valley's football team beat Lucerne Valley 33-8 to take home the Miner's Pick for the first time ever in a rare Monday game on Oct. 29. Barstow High School's football team fell 14-10 to Silverado in their Monday night game.

o The Barstow High School volleyball team fell 3-0 to Oaks Christian in the first round of the CIF-SS playoffs on Nov. 6.

o The Silver Valley High School volleyball team lost their first ever playoff game 3-1 to Bishop to be eliminated in the first round of the CIF-SS playoffs on Nov. 6.
o The Barstow High School football team defeated Victorville 54-20 to once again bring the Axe home to Barstow during the 84th Axe game on Nov. 9.

o The Barstow High School football team finished the season in second place in the Desert Sky League and advanced to the CIF-SS playoffs where they fell 19-6 to Hesperia in the first round on Nov. 16.

o Barstow Community College suspended four members of its men's basketball team after they were arrested for suspicion of committing robbery on Nov. 11. Police suspected Ivory Thues, Brandyn Verett, Cedrick Edwards and Maurice Simon punched a Domino's delivery man and stole two pizzas and hot wings. Thues and Simon were arraigned on Nov. 19. Edwards was not arraigned due to a lack of evidence and rejoined the team after a short suspension.

o Barstow High School Cross Country team won it's third consecutive state title on Nov. 24. The win also gave the Aztecs their fifth title in seven years.

o Barstow High School graduate Laurel Stender traveled to New York and Dubai for international rugby tournaments during the final week of Nov. Stender is also a member of the United States Women's 7s Rugby team.

o Barstow High School football coach Jesse Ceniceros resigned on Nov. 30. Barstow
athletic director Vince Williams said Barstow will begin looking for a replacement early in January.

o Barstow High School and Silver Valley met on the basketball court on Dec. 5 with Barstow's boys team winning 68-32. The schools are now working on plans to scrimmage and play each other in the future.

o The Barstow Youth Football Jr. Micro division Aztecs won the Inland Empire Jr. All-American Football Super Bowl on Dec. 8. The win earned them the chance to play the Southern California Jr. All-American Football champions, the Pass Redskins, who they defeated 19-0 to win the Mega Bowl.

o Barstow Community College's assistant dean of student affairs Lefty Olguin resigned on Dec. 19. His resignation leaves BCC without an athletic administrator.