While in college, Kenny James would often compare high school statistics with some of his football teammates at the University of Washington.
"We always did it," James said. "We'd sit around talking about whose high school records were better. Who had the better high school team.
"It was all fun and games. Nobody would believe me until they looked me up on the Internet."
Some of the numbers James compiled during his high school career at Dos Palos were unbelievable.
James still shares or holds 13 school records since graduating from DP in 2002.
James turned Ike Frankian Field into his personal playground.
He set a school record with 54 touchdowns his junior season.
James came back his senior year and ran for 2,900 yards.
The Dos Palos star finished his three-year varsity career with a jaw-dropping 6,197 yards rushing and 118 touchdowns.
James is our choice as the Sun-Star Male Prep Athlete of the Decade.
"To think of all the athletes that came out of Merced County, it's an honor," said James, who is now a parole officer in Bellevue, Wash.
"I had a great time at Dos Palos. I played with a lot of great players and there were a lot of great players who played before me.
"I was blessed to have the type of career I had, but it wasn't only me. I had a lot of athletes around me who made my job a lot easier."
Like many boys in Dos Palos, James grew up counting the days before he could put on a blue and gold uniform.
"Growing up, we all did," James said. "I can remember playing football in the backyard.
"We all saw the type of success Dos Palos had and we wanted to be a part of it. You couldn't wait to put on a varsity uniform.
"But I'd be lying if I said I thought I would have the type of career I had."
James had the combination of speed and power to go along with an innate ability to make people miss.
"Kenny was amazing because you never thought of Kenny as a sprinter, but nobody ever caught him," Dos Palos coach Mike Sparks said. "He would make a move and you'd say, 'Oh my God, now how did he do that?'
"He could cut back so many times before he got up the field, we wouldn't check Kenny's runs by yards, but by how many seconds he had the ball."
Sparks said on some of James' long touchdowns it wasn't uncommon to see some of the offensive linemen beat James to the end zone because James was busy zigging and zagging.
"He was a lesson on not stopping until you hear the whistle," Sparks said.
Injuries helped prevent James from having the same type of success in college.
He finished his four-year career with 1,751 yards and 13 total touchdowns.
His best season was his sophomore season when he started all but one game and finished with 702 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
He graduated with a degree in American Ethnic Studies.
"Getting my degree was one of the best moments of my life," James said. "Football has definitely helped me out a whole lot.
"As an athlete, you talk about being competitive. That's something that you carry throughout your life. That mentality is always with you.
"It's taught me how to persevere through tough times."
With all the records and personal accolades that came James' way in high school, it's the four Central Section titles Dos Palos won during his high school career that he remembers most.
"A lot of players don't have the opportunity to even win one championship," James said. "We won four championships while I was there.
"That's what I'll remember most."
Jacque Robinson's volleyball career was shortly derailed before it ever got on track.
The former Golden Valley star moved to Merced with her family while she was in middle school.
Robinson was actually cut from the eighth grade team at Hoover Middle School.
"I got talked into trying out for the team," Robinson said. "It was my first day at Hoover and they told me I was the tallest girl on campus, including the teachers.
"I made it to the last cuts, but they were like no thanks sweetheart, but you can still play basketball and track."
Not making her junior high team served as motivation when she got to high school.
Robinson arrived at Golden Valley the next year and made the freshman team.
That's when she saw former Golden Valley standout Laura Tinetti play. Tinetti eventually became the school's first volleyball player to earn a Division I scholarship when she signed with the University of San Francisco.
"After I got cut, I really wanted to try out and make the high school team," Robinson said. "Then I saw Laura Tinetti play and I wanted to be just like her.
"After that there was no looking back. I wanted to play club and stop playing basketball and soccer. I was already too big for gymnastics, so my mom wanted to pull me out of that anyway."
Robinson played three years of varsity volleyball. By the end of her high school career she had led Golden Valley to two Central California Conference championships and had roughly 80 volleyball scholarship offers.
She didn't end up quitting basketball, averaging 20 points and 18 rebounds per game her senior season to help lead GV to a section championship in 2000.
She was named all-state in volleyball and basketball her senior year.
Robinson is our choice as the Sun-Star Female Prep Athlete of the Decade.
"First and foremost, the thing that stood out about Jacque is how much better she was than everyone around her," said Golden Valley coach Matt Thissen, who coached Robinson in volleyball and basketball.
"Just her understanding of the game and her anticipation."
Robinson eventually accepted a volleyball scholarship with Florida and went on to play in two Final Fours.
She continues to live in Florida and coaches club volleyball.
Robinson's talents weren't just limited to the court.
She set a school record in the 50-meter butterfly in swimming her freshman season.
She played clarinet in the marching band.
"My mom didn't want me to swim because I was already doing volleyball, basketball and the band," Robinson said. "She caught me sneaking out of the house at 5 a.m. going to swim practice.
"She said she could smell the chlorine. Eventually I had to quit the band, too.
"I just wanted to do everything I could while I was in high school. When you love your school, you love your friends, you love the coaches you play for and you love the band director you're marching for, you don't mind the lack of sleep."
Robinson was a reluctant participant in basketball.
At 6-foot-2 she was dominant on the court. She holds the school record with 30 rebounds in a game.
She turned down basketball scholarships to UCLA and the University of the Pacific.
Yet, she had to be talked into playing basketball her junior and senior years.
"Everybody thinks because I'm a big person I'm rough," Robinson said. "I don't like to be pushed, pinched or jabbed in my knees.
"I'm not a rough person. I remember I was sitting in the locker room before one basketball game painting my nails."
No, Robinson preferred volleyball.
She holds the Golden Valley record for career kills (1,204) and career blocks (385).
Golden Valley went 52-9 during her three years at the varsity level.
"Volleyball started out as a way to get back at people," Robinson said. "A way to say, 'Ha. Ha. I made it.' Then it became a hobby, then a passion, to what I did in college and what I still do today.
"It's every part of me. I love it. I'm so thankful I made that freshman team at Golden Valley. My life would be totally different."