When the loud and bombastic fireworks show over Veterans Memorial Stadium signaled the end of the CIF State Track and Field Championships on June 4, it also signaled the end of the 2016-17 high school sports year with a literal bang. From the opening kick of the football season back in August, to the final race around the track, it’s been a whirlwind of a year to be sure. I going to give a rough estimate here and say that I went to 70 different games and events this year.
All this to say that the next issue of the Clovis Roundup will be my 3rd Annual Best of the TRAC Awards. It’s my favorite issue to research and write about – a wrap up of everything good I saw this year. I’ve always personally loved year-end lists, awards and looking back at the year that was, and when my title officially became Sports Editor a few years ago I thought to myself “Heck, I’m going to make up my own categories and awards, well, because I can!” It’s my little proud baby that I created.
You should see my notes and lists spread all over the my living room when I hunker down (not quite like John Nash in the movie “A Beautiful Mind” but close) and figure out the Teams of the Year (overall, boys and girls), Boys and Girls Athlete of the Year, Games of the Year, Performances of the Year and a few more fun ones mixed in. It’s a true labor of love that has quite the payoff in the end.
Who knows – maybe your favorite team or athlete will be rewarded for its efforts, or perhaps that awesome game you witnessed will be recognized. Stay tuned …
Athletes of the Year
When you walk into any of Clovis Unified’s main gyms you’ll see banners proudly highlighting league, valley and state championships in all the sports offered. You’ll also find another prestigious list hoisted high upon one of the walls, easy for all to see: the Male and Female Athletes of the Year.
It’s always fun to scan and study the names of athletes past, those heroes of yesteryear forever immortalized at their beloved alma mater. Here are the honors from each school for the 2016-17 year:
Clovis West: Adrian Antunez, Megan Anderson
Antunez was a three-year starter on the basketball team, a 1st team all-league selection his junior and senior seasons and led the team this year to a 25-5 record while averaging 24 points per game. A guard, he will attend Fresno Pacific University next year on scholarship.
Anderson was a four-year varsity basketball player who ran cross country and track & field. She was part of a senior class who went 40-0 in league, won four straight Valley titles and the 2017 CIF Open Basketball Championship, and state No. 1 and national No. 1 rankings by ESPN and MaxPreps. The 6-foot tall sharpshooter was named 2016 co-TRAC MVP, Cal-Hi Sports all-state her junior year, all-state honorable mention her senior year and will attend San Jose State on scholarship next year.
Clovis: Trey Lake, Rachel Berry
Lake was a three-sport athlete in football, basketball and volleyball. He started at quarterback his senior year and threw for 2,139 yards and 20 touchdowns, was a four-year varsity volleyball player (setter) who was part of a perfect 10-0 league season, winning the Division II SoCal title this year. He will attend Menlo College on volleyball scholarship.
A four-year varsity basketball standout averaging over 14 points for her career and led the Cougars to a 25-8 record this year and a berth in the Central Section Division I championship game against Clovis West. The 5-foot-5 guard will attend Fresno Pacific University next year.
Clovis North: Daly Meinert, Brooke Tjerrild
Meinert finished his tennis career with an outstanding record of 105-5, winning three Central Section Individual Championships (2014, 2015, 2017) and two team titles, the first two in school history. Standing 6-foot-4 and 220 pounds, the powerful tennis player will be attending Cal Poly on scholarship.
Tjerrild is one of the top pole vaulters in Central Section history, winning a silver medal at this year’s CIF State Track and Field Championships with a jump of 13-6. She won gold at the Central Section Master’s Meet in the 4X100 relay where she also placed third in the triple jump and won TRAC gold in the long jump. She’s also attending Cal Poly.
Buchanan: Zach Presno, Stephanie Bartel
Presno was a standout three-year varsity starting catcher winning two Valley baseball titles (2015, 2016) and three TRAC titles with a combined record of 87-9. The 2016 team finished No. 1 by Cal-Hi Sports and No. 1 in the nation by ESPN, MaxPreps and Baseball America. On the football team he was a starting linebacker for two years and scored 10 touchdowns as a running back this season, earning all league honors. He will be attending Fresno State on a baseball scholarship.
Bartel was a standout swimmer where she made her mark at the 2016 CIF-Central Section Division I Championships when she won the 200 IM and 100 back breaking CIF-CS division records in both events. She placed 6th in the state meet that year. She battled injuries this season and will attend Fresno State next year to complete with the swim team.
Clovis East: Jaylen Johnson, Mia Castillo
Johnson was a standout basketball and volleyball player, earning all league honors in basketball in 2017. The 6-foot-6, 180 pound outside hitter in volleyball and wing player in basketball will attend William Jessup University to play basketball.
Castillo played soccer and tennis and was an integral part of the 2015 Valley championship team, the first in school history, that went undefeated during the regular season. This year she scored 11 goals and will be attending Fresno Pacific University next season on scholarship.
All-league softball and baseball
Player of the Year: Jamal O’Guinn, Buchanan
Player of the Year: Carson Olson, Buchanan
Silver Slugger: Chet Allison, Clovis
Coach of the Year: Tom Donald, Buchanan
First Team – Buchanan: Brady Hormel, Zach Presno, Quentin Selma. Clovis: Blake Sodersten, Darby Tatum. Clovis North: James Bell, Brock Jones, Noah Haupt. Clovis West: Nick Falco, Travis Turney.
Second Team – Buchanan: Jake King, Hunter Reinke, Matt McGrady. Clovis: Mason Grotto, Jay Massey. Clovis West: Jack Saulovich, Dusty Schramm. Clovis East: Rylan Greenlee, Jared Aguilar. Central: Daiveyon Whittle.
Player of the Year: Gianna Mancha, Central
Pitcher of the Year: Danielle Lung, Clovis
Offensive Player of the Year: Taja Felder, Clovis East
First Team – Clovis East: Mya Felder, Emilee Lear. Clovis West: Julianna Martinez. Buchanan: Katie Jackson, Anni Raley. Clovis: Emily Puente, Mackenzie Byrd. Central: Samantha Arenas. Clovis North: Heather Ayerza, Danielle Humphrey.
Second Team – Buchanan: Avery Lawley, Emily Cazares, Katie January. Central: Bree Martin, Brittney Espinosa, Kylie Ota. Clovis: Elaine Caballero, Jordan Martinez, Tori Mueller. Clovis North: Alyssa Orr.
Travis Turney’s blast helps City to baseball win
What a way to get the party started.
Travis Turney, a 2017 All-TRAC selection from Clovis West, hit a home run in the first inning and added a triple to help lead the City squad to a 6-2 win over the County at Chukchansi Park on June 10.
Turney’s home run (he hit three total in his high school career) in the bottom of the first gave City a 1-0 lead it would never relinquish. The left-handed-hitting outfielder knew he put a good swing on the ball and put his head down and sprinted to first, but then – surprise! – it landed over the fence.
“At first I was running out of the box as fast as I could thinking it would bounce off the wall,” said Turney. “But when I heard [the announcer] yell ‘It’s good’ I was in shock and couldn’t believe what I’d just done.”
Turney also played basketball for the 25-5 Golden Eagles and will be attending the University of Portland to play baseball next season. But, one last hurrah was on the menu for this season.
“This game was the best experience,” added Turney, who also received the Most Inspirational Award for City. “I got to play with guys that I’d been growing up with and playing against my whole life.”
Clovis West girls get their bling
Nowadays, Central Section champs just don’t get a t-shirt or a hat or a plaque or a medal in recognition of their grand accomplishment anymore (editor’s note: I was an assistant coach at Immanuel in 1995 when we won a Valley title and all we got were lousy t-shirts!). No, there’s so much more – it’s now common practice that teams get big ol’ fat rings just like the big leagues.
So what do you when you’re the Clovis West girls basketball team and have the greatest season in Valley basketball history? Well, those Golden Eagles who won a fifth straight Valley title, a CIF Open Division state title and a national No. 1 ranking in three publications went all out and got the mother lode of high school championship rings.
The rings were designed by coach Craig Campbell and the team of 14 and were given to the each player and coaches. The top says National Champions, one side has the players’ name and reads “Valley 5-peat” and “TRAC 12-peat.” The other side says “State Open Division Champs 2017.”
When you have a once-in-a-generation team, you get some serious bling.