Around the TRAC: Chasing dreams and everything in between in the Tri-River Athletic Conference

Photo by Ron Sundquist – The Buchanan boys’ water polo team played great defense against Clovis in their 9-5 win over the Cougars. The Bears are 13-3 overall and 3-0 in the TRAC.

Photo by Ron Sundquist - A Clovis water polo player shoots in their TRAC game against Buchanan in a game won by the Cougars 8-5. The Cougars are the defending D1 Central Section champions.
Photo by Ron Sundquist – A Clovis water polo player shoots in their TRAC game against Buchanan in a game won by the Cougars 8-5. The Cougars are the defending D1 Central Section champions.

By Paul Meadors | Sports Editor
paulmeadors@gmail.com
@paulmeadors

This issue of the Clovis Roundup is a big one, more colossal than Godzilla vs Mothra. We are really proud of the front page article highlighting the wonderful six young men who happen to be the quarterbacks in the TRAC. All my fingers and toes were crossed before and during our photo shoot at the California Air National Guard Base, wanting to capture the perfect moment. I think the pictures turned out exceptional. But we all know football teams are more than one player, and that’s where my season preview of the TRAC comes in. I think you’ll really dig the information and the player highlights of each team.

If you’re anything like me (hopefully we share the same passion about sports), you love the transition from the sticky, sweaty summer to the cool, brisk months of October. It also marks the time for me to put away my cargo shorts (still not completely nerdy I’m told) and don my sporty-looking pullovers. I’m especially looking forward to my baby-blue Adidas one.

My awkward fashion sense aside, I’m pretty pumped for league football games to begin, the battles on the volleyball court, the action in the pool for water polo and those courageous cross country runners. And we are all happy for the girl tennis players and golfers who no longer have to endure those hundred degree days. A win, win situation for everyone.

Clovis volleyball No. 12 in nation but Clovis West playing well

Clovis volleyball is getting a lot of attention, and deservedly so, with a 26-0 record and MaxPreps No. 12 national ranking. But, their long-time nemesis Clovis West has themselves a pretty good squad as well, coming off a great showing at the Durango Classic in Las Vegas where they beat then-nationally ranked St. Thomas Aquinas of Florida. The Vegas trip for the Golden Eagles always launches them into TRAC play.

And after beating Clovis North 3-2 in their opening game, they beat Central is straight sets (35-15, 35-14, 25-20) on September 29 at home to improve to 21-7.

“Coming out of Vegas that gave us a confidence boost and tonight was a confidence boost for all of us too,” said senior outside hitter Tiersa Bailey. “That was exciting.”

In fact, every team in the TRAC is legit, there are no easy games for the ten total TRAC games.

“The TRAC is insane this year – everyone is good,” said Bailey, who is excited to return this year after a leg injury knocked her out for most of the year. “No one can take a game off this year.”

Head coach Rhonda DeRuiter, has seen plenty of high quality volleyball from her playing days at Immanuel, Fresno Pacific College then to CVC and now Clovis West since 2005. DeRuiter is pleased with where her team is at, especially after beating Central.

“We played really well tonight,” said DeRuiter. “We played aggressive, not waiting for them to give us points, we were actively earning every point.”

Clovis West is led by senior Micah Herbert (188 kills) and Bailey (126 kills) and junior Aubrey Olsen (133 kills).

Buchanan polo plays in top tourneys, starts strong in TRAC

If you wanna be the best, you have to play the best and the Buchanan boys water polo team has taken on some tough tournaments.

The Bears placed 2nd at the America’s Finest City Tournament in San Diego, a massive 32-team tournament featuring teams throughout the state, the best finish in program history.

Senior Kyle McKenney was selected Most Valuable Goalkeeper for the tournament, sophomore Kaleb Archer and senior Robert Phillips were also selected All-Tournament Team.

The Bears rode this wave of success into their first home league polo match against rival Clovis on September 28, beating the Cougars 9-5 behind three goals from sophomore Gabe Putnam and McKenney’s 14 saves.

Ryan Trutna of Clovis scored two goals.

“Clovis is going to be up for any game we play against them and we know that we have to be focused, execute our game plan, and play Buchanan Water Polo – and we did that,” said Buchanan head coach Nic Maes. “Both teams will be better when we meet again in the second round.”

After Clovis scored the first goal of the game, it was all Bears as they scored the next four straight.

“We have a lot of guys playing with confidence on the offensive end of the pool,” said Maes.  “That was demonstrated tonight with seven different players scoring goals and an 8th player finishing with two assists.  Every guy we put in is a playmaker and scoring threat.”

Buchanan is 13-3 overall and 3-0 in TRAC and Clovis is 8-5 overall and 2-1 in the TRAC.

Photo by Nick Baker - Katelyn Pevandi returns a ball in Clovis West’s 8-1 team win over Central on September 28. The Golden Eagles are 13-2 overall and 3-0 in TRAC.
Photo by Nick Baker – Katelyn Pevandi returns a ball in Clovis West’s 8-1 team win over Central on September 28. The Golden Eagles are 13-2 overall and 3-0 in TRAC.
Photo by Nick Baker - Clovis West’s Julia August is one of the top players this season for the Golden Eagles, seen here returning a shot against Central.
Photo by Nick Baker – Clovis West’s Julia August is one of the top players this season for the Golden Eagles, seen here returning a shot against Central.

Clovis West tennis smashes to top of TRAC

The Clovis West girls’ tennis team is off to a great start to the season, a year after losing to Buchanan in the for the D1 Central Section championship.

So far this season the Golden Eagles are 13-2 on the season including a perfect 7-0 in the TRAC. They played Clovis North to as tough a match as possible, finally winning 6-3.

“Our match with Clovis North lasted four and a half hours,” said head coach Neil Castro. “They played us tough, it’s going to be interesting down the stretch.”

The Eagles No. 1 player in junior Janie Ellis who was the 2015 D1 Valley singles champion. Ellis has played top competition all season, including at the California Tennis Classic hosted by Buchanan.

“Janie is doing good and leading us well,” Castro said. “She’s getting stronger and playing with a lot of confidence.”

Two other top players for Clovis West are Julia August and Katelyn Pevandi.

For the postseason, Castro points to Clovis North, Buchanan and Stockdale of Bakersfield as the cream of the crop.

The TRAC championships are completed on October 11 at Buchanan and playoff start Oct 20.

Clovis West basketball camps

Any 4th-8th grade boy interested in playing AAU basketball at Clovis West for Coach Walberg are welcome to come by the West Gym on Tuesday or Thursdays for practice from 7:00-9:00 p.m.  You can contact Coach Walberg at vancewalberg@cusd.com for questions and more information.

Also, the Clovis West Annual Luau Bash will be Saturday, October 22nd, from 6:00 -10:00 at Sequoia Brewing Company on 1188 E. Champlain Drive.  This annual event is for both the boys and girls program and is a great time with dinner, dancing and all types of auctions.  The Luau Bash is brought to you by both Coach Walberg and girls’ head coach Craig Campbell. Coach Campbell can be reached at craigcampbell@cusd.com.

Buchanan girls’ cross country ranked No. 13 in nation

After the Clovis North girls’ beat Buchanan the last two years for the D1 Central Section championship in girls’ cross country, the Bears are back with a vengeance are are looking strong this season.

The Buchanan girls cross country team is currently ranked No. 13 in the nation and No. 2 in the state. They have participated in the Kingsburg Meet, Woodridge Invitational and the Mt. Whitney Invitation.

Sophomore Meagan Lowe is leading the pack and ran a personal best time of 10:57.49 good enough for first place at the Kingsburg course.

The Clovis Invitational is October 8 at 7:30 a.m. at Woodward Park, considered one of the toughest races in the state. The state meet, the granddaddy of them all is on November 26 also at Woodward Park.