Varisty Football team and cross-country runner celebrated for CIF wins
ATASCADERO — Wednesday, Dec. 21, the City of Atascadero and Atascadero High School celebrated their fall semester CIF and State Champions via a parade that ended in a celebration at City Hall. The parade recognized the efforts and achievements of sophomore running standout Frannie Perry, who took home first place in the Division 3 Cross Country Championships at Woodward Park in Fresno on Nov. 26, and the Atascadero High School Football team that earned both a CIF and State Title in the month of December.
The route began at Olmeda Avenue and detoured down to West Hall and finally onto Palma before ending at City Hall, which had several important local figures waiting on the excited athletes. Not only did the athletes get a parade, but they were also escorted by local police and fire trucks, including some vintage rides, like the old city Fire Truck that makes its appearance on special occasions. Athletes either rode in the Fire Truck or Police car or made the trip in the back of several flatbed trucks and waved to locals who came out to enjoy the festivities and cheer them on.
“This was the first one for me as a head coach and not just an assistant coach and obviously it was a State Championship and not just a CIF Championship,” Atascadero Head Football Coach Vic Cooper told the Atascadero News. “It was very fulfilling, a lot of joy, myself — just because I have been doing this for so long and, you know, I rode on that Fire Truck back in 96’. I never would have guessed it would have taken this long to get the next one, but it was very satisfying for me personally, but even better just to see the kids’ reactions and the joy that is literally still there in their beings right now. You think that it kind of wears off but the parade kind of woke everything back up.”
Once at City Hall the athletes were greeted by current school board members Terri Switzer, Tracy Ellis-Weit, Rebekah Koznek, Denise McGrew-Kane, Matt Pennon, Vy Pierce as well as some familiar faces in past board members which included Ray Buban, Donn Clickard, Mary Kay Mills, Tami Gunther, George Shoemaker.
Joining the list of important people at the ceremony was Atascadero Mayor Heather Moreno and current City Council members Charles Bourbeau, Mark Dariz, Susan Funk, as well as 5th District Supervisor Debbie Arnold.
While some in the community were frustrated with the 2 pm start time of the parade, the decision was made due to a multitude and in the end the athletes enjoyed their time in the sun celebrating their historic achievements.
“I kind of wish we could have scheduled it at a better time, but it wasn’t going to happen at night because it just gets too dark,” Cooper stated. “We could have done it on a Saturday, but the next one available was Christmas Eve. I know there was probably some push back due to the timing of it but in reality the timing was perfect for the kids and that is really the most important group.”
Despite the mid-day start time, the streets were still flooded with orange and gray as the Atascadero faithful made their way out to support their athletes as they always do. As for the big question surrounding the championship rings, Coach Cooper noted that the Hounds football banquet would be on Sunday, Jan. 22 but the rings would not be done by that time. Atascadero plans to hold a ring ceremony sometime in the spring but a date has yet to be chosen.
Photos by Rick Evans/ATN