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Royal Finish For Festive Homecoming
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Newly crowned Homecoming Queen Mikayla Florez, center, with dad Frank, stands proudly with her court at halftime of Friday nights varsity basketball game. Also in the running for Queen were candidates, from left, accompanied by their escorts, Kaitlin Jimenez, Maritza Lopez, Mariah Saldivar and Brittany Cody. Marg Jackson/The News

The Bruins Den was full of enthusiastic fans, the stage was set for a pivotal Trans-Valley League basketball showdown between rivals and new royalty waited in the wings.

Riverbank gathered for its Winter Homecoming, wrapping up a week of activity with the crowning of a queen on Friday night at halftime of the varsity basketball game against the visiting Escalon Cougars. The host Bruins got the win (see story, photos in Sports, Page A13) and standout player Rolaun Dunham was named Homecoming King, while cross country sensation Mikayla Florez was crowned Homecoming Queen.

Before the finale on Friday, candidates for the King and Queen participated in activities throughout the week, with a variety of contests and fun lunchtime events.

Thursday, Jan. 30 was an evening filled with energy and excitement during a dodge ball game and the crowning of the King in the Bruins gym at Riverbank High School. Students of all grades participated in the dodge ball game and many others were spectators in the stands. Riverbank High student Eli Vernon was the master of ceremonies and the leadership class organized the event.

Each game consisted of three rounds and the team that won two out of the three games moved on to a new match. The games started off with the freshmen playing the sophomores and the juniors against the seniors.

The seniors and the sophomores competed against each other after winning against their opposing teams and left the juniors to battle the freshmen.

Between games, the candidates for the winter Homecoming King walked out onto the gym floor escorted by their loved ones. Freddie Capas and his mom Irma started the event, Daniel Palomino with mom Kathy followed, Rolaun Dunham walked with grandmother Erma Solomon and mom Toscal Phillips, then Reilly Nabors had mom Colleen on his arm, and Armando Vargas and mom Rosa rounded out the candidates.

After Vernon gave a little background on each candidate, the announcement was made that Dunham was selected as the King for the winter homecoming.

The dodge ball games resumed and the final game of the evening pitted the seniors against all the other grades, with the seniors winning the dodge ball title.

On Friday night, a trio of basketball games saw the freshmen fall to Escalon, the JV and varsity both pulling off the wins and, at halftime of the varsity contest, announcement of the queen selection. Also, it was announced that the senior class was the winner of the gym section decorating contest and the Spirit Bear for the most points accrued during the week.

Queen candidates and their escorts making their way to center court at halftime were Kaitlin Jimenez and dad Mario; Maritza Lopez and dad Victorino; Mikalya Florez and dad Frank; Mariah Saldivar and escort Jose Hernandez; Brittany Cody and escort Angel Frear.

After information was offered on each candidate, including future plans and favorite quotes, Mikayla Florez was announced as the Homecoming Queen, much to the delight of the crowd.

“I feel happy,” Florez said, adjusting the new crown as well wishers mobbed her for hugs. “The week was fun and this (crowning) was the best part.”