The North American Pole Vault Association Championships return to downtown Clovis for the 19th time Friday.

Top vaulters in the men’s field include Mike Arnold of Idaho State (with a top mark of 18-81/1), UCLA grad Dustin DeLeo (18-41/2) and Houston’s Alex Bentley (17-61/2). For the women, NCAA Division II national champion Katie Nageotte of Ashland University (15-71/2), Division III all-time record holder Catherine Street of Linfield (14-0) and UCLA grad Katy Viuf (14-51/2) are expected to compete.

The event, at Fourth Street and Pollasky Avenue, begins at 5 p.m.

A pole vaulting and gymnastics clinic is set for Thursday at Clovis West High/Break the Barriers. Registration is at 8 a.m., with pole vault technique taught from 8:15-11 a.m. and gymnastics from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Instructors include 2008 Olympian Erica Bartolina, ex-British vaulter Steve Chappell and Clovis West High record-holder and five-time All-American Doug Fraley. Cost is $25.


Fresno Rage U-16 reach nationals

The Fresno Rage girls B under-16 travel softball team qualified for the Amateur Softball Association Western Nationals.

The tournament is Tuesday through Aug. 4 in San Diego. The Rage are 25-6-1 with four championships this summer.

Players include: Toni Amador, Miranda Castenada, Macy Denney, Bernice Escamilla, Olivia Garcia, Diana Gomez, Reyna Martinez, MyKenzie McMasters, Ricki Perez, Vanessa Rascon, Larissa Romero, Giselle Vandrick, Kelsey Vink and Dajshanae Washington. Coach Tom Cano is assisted by Rachelle Jackson, Scott Reisdorfer, Charissa Sanchez and Mary Vink.

Tourney features top baseball teams

A 22-team baseball tournament will take place at four sites Friday through Sunday.

Games in the Central Cal NIT will be at Chukchansi Park, John Euless Ballpark, Clovis North and Clovis West.

The Central Cal Academy 18-under team is the host and defending champ. The team has won three titles this summer with a roster that includes Clovis High’s McCarthy Tatum, Sanger’s Luis Ortiz and Liberty-Madera Ranchos’ Connor Brogdon and Stetson Woods. Out-of-area teams as well as other local squads will compete in the three-day tournament that will include competition at the 16-and-younger level.

Fuego to duel Portland in West semis

The Fresno Fuego face Portland in a Premier Development League Western Conference semifinal Saturday night in Ventura.

The Timbers beat Vancouver 5-4 in a penalty shootout Tuesday.

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