Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of articles about everyone who will be inducted into the Monache Athletic Hall of Fame over the next week ahead of the February 26 induction ceremony.
One of Monache’s greatest three-sport athletes of all time enters the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame.
Heather Brown-Sandoval, who has distinguished herself in volleyball, basketball and track and field, will be inducted into the Monache Athletic Hall of Fame at the February 26 induction ceremony.
The 1991 Monache graduate was born in 1973 to Steve and Kathee Brown. The family was living in Canada at the time while Steve was playing with the Calgary Stampeders in the Canadian Football League. Steve was also an All-American linebacker at Oregon State and is a member of the Porterville High Athletic Hall of Fame.
Heather’s family moved back to Porterville when she was 3 years old. Surrounded by a family with athletic talents and a love of sports, Heather’s parents discovered that she excelled in athletics.
Athletics is where Heather has proven to be particularly talented. She started racing on the track at the age of 7 in the AAU and TAC programs.
Her talent led her to an AAU All American Track and Field Award at age 12. She also set two national records in the bantam and midget age groups for multiple events and at age 12 finished in the top three in the country in the pentathlon, which included the hurdles, long jump, height, 800 meters and shot put.
She also earned Nike sponsorship and was featured in articles in GO magazine and the Fresno Bee for her athletic accomplishments as a youth track athlete.
In high school, Heather excelled on 11 MHS varsity sports teams in basketball, volleyball, and track and field. She was a four-time team captain and won three league selection awards in the first team and played in four EYL Championship teams.
In volleyball, she led her team and the EYL en bloc kills her senior year. In athletics, she won multiple EYL and Area titles in the long jump, high jump, 4×100 relay and hurdles events. She set three school records and also a competitive record in the 100 hurdles, eventually finishing fourth overall in the Valley four years in a row.
In basketball, Heather became the second female MHS athlete to score 1,000 career points. Deciding that basketball would be the sports ground she would follow, she moved on to the college level.
College highlights include a basketball scholarship to Fresno Pacific University as she was a member of a two-time GSAC championship basketball team that made two national basketball tournament appearances Women’s NAIA in Jackson, Tennessee, in 1992 and 1994.
Heather was named Female Giant of the Year at College of the Sequoias and won 1st team all-conference honors in volleyball and basketball and also served as team captain in basketball. in 1993. During her freshman year of college, Heather suffered a career ending. ACL knee injury.
Post-career highlights include coaching multiple sports teams at Monache, Porterville and Granite Hills High Schools and Porterville College. While at MHS, Heather coached two EYL champion basketball teams at Freshman and JV level and also assisted coach Tom Fiormonti’s 1997 Valley Championship team.
She also helped coach two EYL volleyball championships and an EYL track and field team at PHS and also coached two track seasons at MHS. She helped reestablish the volleyball program at Porterville College in 2002 where she served as an assistant coach for two years under head coach Lisa Davis.
Heather earned her bachelor’s degree from Fresno Pacific and her teaching degree from Cal State Bakersfield. She began her teaching career as an assistant and then a substitute teacher at Strathmore High School in 1997. Two years later she was hired as a 5th grade teacher at Olive Street School where she taught for 4 years.
She is currently a Grade 7 teacher at Strathmore Middle School where she has taught science and language arts for 17 years. She married her husband, Richard Sandoval in 2007.
She spent 4 years following her son Isaac playing football and running for the Marauders. He now serves his country in the US Marines and lives in North Carolina. Her son, Noah, was born in 2016. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, especially her 3 year old son, Noah, traveling and painting.
Tickets are still on sale for the Monache Athletic Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to be held Saturday, February 26 at the Porterville Veterans Memorial Building. Tickets will be on sale until Friday, February 25.
Tickets will not be sold at the door. All tickets purchased in 2020 will be honored at this year’s event. Tickets for 2020 that have not been picked up are available at the Monache Student Activities Office.
Tickets are $50 per person or $350 for a table of eight. Tickets can be purchased at the Monache Student Activities office or on the Monache website.
Happy hour will be from 5-6 p.m., dinner from 6-7 p.m., and the induction ceremony will begin at 7:15 p.m.
Along with Brown-Sandoval, the other 2022 inductees are: Curtis Alkire, 1992, cross country, wrestling, tennis; Jennifer Baker Alvarez, 1986, cross country, track; Stephanie Raymond, 1990, swimming; Jennifer Stephen Brown, 1992, volleyball, swimming; Coach Hal Hevener, 1969-2001, water polo, basketball, swimming.
Additionally, the 1997 Valley Championship Monache women’s basketball team and its coach, Fiormonti, will be inducted.