GIRLS: Corie Smith
Corie Smith is already cementing her place as one of the greatest cross country runners in Central Section history – and she’s only a sophomore. Her ultimate achievement was becoming only the second Buchanan cross country runner since Hagen Reedy to win the CIF State Cross Country Division I title. She placed either first or second nine races this year, and in the Nike Cross Nationals in Portland, she placed 17th overall. Now that’s domination, especially for someone who recently turn 16 years old.
Smith lead Buchanan to a TRAC championship, a D-I Valley title and second place at the state meet in Division I. Her determination and grit are vital to her success; she has a will to win that exceeds her talent. A steadfast runner with a spunky and fun living spirit, Smith is already being courted by the top Division I schools.
Here are her specs:
1st: 12:00, PR, Bella Vista Bronco Invitational
1st: 15:58.4, PR, 37th Annual Woodbridge Cross Country Classic
1st: 16:28.2, John Seamans Invite
1st: 17:09.4, Douglas P. Rudolf Cross Country Invitational
2nd: 17:05.3, PR, Clovis Invitational
1st: 17:24.7, TRAC League Championships
2st: 17:27.1 CIF Central Section Finals
1st: 17:16.7, 2017 CIF State Cross Country Championships
21st: 18:09.8, Nike Cross Nationals
“When Corie toes the line she is very determined and has fun pushing herself.” -Buchanan cross country coach Brian Weaver.
BOYS: Rodney Wright III
For three years, Rodney Wright III kept opposing coaches up at night: How do we account for him on every play? Do we double team him? If he’s in the slot position we can’t put a linebacker on him. And, in 2017, their worst fears were realized as Wright, a 5-foot-9, 165 pound Clovis West dynamo with a rare combination of speed and power, juked and jived his way to 25 touchdowns (14 rushing, 11 receiving), 109 rushes for 681 yards and 67 receptions for 796 yards in 12 games for the Golden Eagles (9-3).
Wright, the son of former Fresno State star receiver Rodney Wright Jr., scored in a variety of ways: a 75-yard run where he cut through the middle and bounced outside, leaving players in his wake, a 75-yard reception where he caught a short pass and eluded five defenders before exploding to the end zone, lowering his head and powering his way for multiple short touchdown runs. He lined up in the backfield, he went in motion, he lined up in the slot and on the outside. In short, Wright was routinely the best player on the football field at any given time. Fresno State thinks so too – he’ll be wearing a Bulldog uniform for the next four years.
In addition, Wright never missed a game in his varsity career, and is revered by his teammates and coaches.
“Rodney Wright is a tremendous athlete who is a multidimensional player. He has the ability to play WR/RB and could also play DB. He has wonderful hands and can really run. He is extremely talented but is a great leader as well. He works really hard at being the player that he is.” -Clovis West head coach George Petrissans.