COLLEGE NOTEBOOK: Ex-Golden Valley gridder McCabe still carries heavy load

slynch@mercedsunstar.comApril 22, 2013 

— At 5-foot-3 and 168 pounds, James McCabe was never big in stature under the Friday night lights.

But no one who ever saw the diminutive former Golden Valley running back sprinting through the tackles doubted his heart.

Apparently, not much has changed.

McCabe, now at San Jose State, won a gold medal at the USA Powerlifting Collegiate National Championships last week.

Competing in the 59-kilo or 130-pound class, the 22-year-old blew away the competition.

McCabe had a 468-pound squat, a 308-pound bench press and a 480-pound deadlift. His total of 1,256 pounds was 99 more than defending national champion Austin DeShane, who placed second.

MC's Boothe in the grove

A number of dormant Merced College bats have come to life in the home stretch of Central Valley Conference play. Few, however, have been hotter than designated hitter Garrett Boothe.

It all came together two weeks ago in a three-game sweep of Taft, with Boothe going 7 for 11. He had three doubles, a home run and six RBIs, earning CCCBCA NorCal Player of the Week honors.

Punching his ticket

John Guerrero continues to climb up the Cal Poly San Luis Obispo record books.

The former Atwater track star was named the Big West Conference Men's Track Athlete of the Week after setting a personal-best time in the 800 meters at the Sacramento State Mondo Mid-Major Challenge.

Guerrero's time of 1:49.79 took fourth place at the meet and was the fastest 800 in the Big West this year. The junior's 800 ranks 17th in the West Region, 40th nationally and was the sixth fastest in Cal Poly history.

It also should qualify Guerrero for the NCAA Division 2 Track & Field Championships.

Backs against the wall

The Merced College softball team's fight to earn a playoff berth took a major hit with a 9-1 thrashing at Reedley last week.

The She-Devils were hoping to win out and finish in second place in the CVC. Now it's on to plan B.

MC (9-7 CVC) still has a chance to grab a share of second. Suzanne McGhee's squad will travel to Sequoias (11-5) today for a doubleheader.

If the She-Devils can sweep the two games and first-place Fresno (14-2) sweeps a doubleheader with Reedley (11-5), there would be a three-way tie for second.

Merced last made the playoffs in 2009.

Finishing strong

With the Fresno City baseball team needing just one win in its last three games to secure its second straight outright CVC title, Merced College's hopes to dethrone the Rams look bleak.

The Blue Devils still have plenty to play for in the final week of the regular season, however.

MC was sitting at No. 9 in the last NorCal poll. After going 5-1 the last two weeks, the Blue Devils will likely be moving up again.

Three more wins to close out the year will all but assure MC a first-round home playoff series for the second straight season.

Back in the fold

Luis Foy isn't certain how long it's been since Merced College last hosted the CVC Track & Field Championships, but he's betting on it being at least three decades.

All that changes on Saturday when the conference meet returns to Merced for a full day of events at Veterans Stadium.

It's an indication of how far the MC program has come in the last few years under Foy, becoming relevant enough to even be considered to put the conference meet on.

The meet will run from 2-5 p.m. and is free for everyone.

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