TRAC fall sports wrap up and more

Buchanan junior Kylie Kerney sets up for a kill against Central in the CIF NorCal Open Division title game. The Bears would lose in straight sets and finished the season 35-8 with a TRAC co-championship and a Valley title. COURTESY OF AN EYE FOR IT ALL PHOTOGRAPHY

Buchanan volleyball falls short of state championship game

Buchanan’s volleyball season came to an end by a familiar foe, ending a very successful year for the Lady Bears that included a Central Section Division I title and a co-league championship.

On Nov. 13, Buchanan faced Central at home in CIF Open Division NorCal Championship game, hoping to beat the Grizzlies for a third consecutive time including in the Valley championship game.

However, the third time wouldn’t be a charm as the fifth-seeded Central swept No. 1 Buchanan 25-23, 25-22, 28-26.

The Bears were a senior-led team with setter Makela Weiss (Fresno State signee), Ashley Dittmann (UC Riverside), Julia and Lexi Pagani, Tori Carlos and Haley Barsotti.

Buchanan finished the season 35-8, including a share of the league title with Central at 9-1.

“They depicted commitment, passion for the game and work ethic – all ingredients for a successful team regardless of win-loss record,” Buchanan coach Chantal White said. “This was as close to a family as a team can get. They’ve gone through growing pains together, life’s celebrations and the low points. We all knew each other almost too well. All of their personalities were illuminated each day and came out in their play. This group was special.”

Central was swept in the state championship game by Mater Dei, the No. 1 ranked team in the nation, 25-13, 25-12, 25-13.  

Clovis North freshman swimmer Claire Tuggle was featured in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated as one of six teenagers in the country in its Future Stars of Sports feature. Tuggle holds numerous National Age Group records (NAG) and her 1:44.96 in the 200m free at the Junior National Championships in Orlando is the second fastest time ever in the 13-14 age group behind Missy Franklin’s 1:44.55 in 2010. COURTESY OF SWIMSWAM

Swimmer Claire Tuggle featured in Sports Illustrated

You’ll no doubt be hearing a lot about Claire Tuggle, the 14-year-old freshman swimming phenom at Clovis North. And now so has the world as she was featured in the Nov. 16 issue of Sports Illustrated as one of six teenagers in its Future Stars of Sports feature.

The tagline of the Sports Illustrated article, along with two pictures (the online version has three) of Tuggle, says: “They’re already head and shoulders above their peers, and there’s every reason to expect that these six young athletes—the best of the best at each age—will dominate the headlines and stat lines for years (and decades) to come.”

Tuggle, who swims for the Clovis Swim Club, has burst on the national and world scene, owning numerous national age group (NAG) records.

In March of this year at the Junior National Championships in Orlando, Tuggle swam a 1:44.96 in the 200m free, the second fastest time ever in the 13-14 age group behind Missy Franklin’s 1:44.55 in 2010. At the time she was 13 years old.

At the 2018 Speedo Junior National Championships at Irvine in August, Tuggle won the 400 free, 400 IM and the 200 IM.

Tuggle has dreams of swimming at Stanford and will turn 16 less than a month before the 2020 Tokyo Games.

Valley cross country meet results

There wasn’t much of a question of what two runners would finish 1-2 in the girls Division I Central Section Cross Country Championships.

Like they have all season, the dynamic Buchanan duo of Corie Smith and Meagen Lowe finished first and second, a tune-up of sorts before the 2018 CIF Cross Country Championships.

Smith, a junior and the defending Division I state champion, crossed in a time of 17:15.10 while Lowe, a senior, finished second at 17:32.75.

Ironically, at last year’s Central Section meet, Lowe bested Smith before reversing the order in the state meet.

In addition to the top two finishes, Buchanan ran away with the team title, its second in a row, placing five total in the Top 10, including No. 5 Kaylee Elliott (18:56.97), No. 7 Mia Jauregui (19:02.75) and No. 9 Morgan Hutchinson (19:07.44).  

Olivia Herrera of Clovis finished No. 4 (18:33.40), freshman Kalei Aoki-Chance of Clovis West finished sixth and Miliana Perez of Clovis North (19:11.53) placed 10th.

In the boys team division, Clovis North finished second behind Paso Robles, followed by Buchanan and Clovis West. Top 10 Clovis Unified finishers were: 3. Isaiah Galindo, Clovis North, 15:38.57; 7. Kelly Brewer, Buchanan, 15:59.01; 9. Joshua Ochoa, Clovis North, 16:00.35; 10. Bryan Trujillo, Clovis, 16:02.09.

At the TRAC Cross Country Championships on Nov. 8, both the Buchanan boys and girls teams won a league title.

NorCal regional water polo tournament cancelled

Unhealthy air conditions, caused by the horrific Camp Fire, caused the CIF to cancel the NorCal regional water polo championships that were to be played Nov. 16-17 at Clovis High, Buchanan, Clovis North and Clovis East.

The Buchanan boys team, fresh off a third straight D-I Central section championship, was seeded No. 5 in Division I. They finished with a record of 24-6.

The Clovis North boys were seeded 4th for Division II, the Clovis High girls were in Division I and Clovis West girls were in Division II.

While cancelling the games without rescheduling was certainly disappointing and a tough pill to swallow, especially with cross country and playoff games going on as scheduled, our thoughts and prayers go out to those affected by the devastation up north in Paradise.

Martinez out as Clovis North football coach

Clovis North head football coach Benny Martinez has resigned and will not return to the position next season. Martinez, who has been with the football program since the school opened in 2007, was named head coach in 2016 and went 4-17 overall and 2-8 in the TRAC in his two seasons at the helm.

A replacement has not yet been named and the search will be ongoing.

The Clovis West girls golf team won its sixth straight D-I Central Section championship, and 11th out of the last 13 years, at the River Island Country Club in Porterville. Claire Shubin shot a 79, Taylor Dufresne 80, Marissa Martinez 86, Kayla Terry 86 and Isa Montes 90. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Clovis West girls golf wins sixth straight Valley title

Clovis West won its sixth straight section Division I championship and 11th in 13 years on Oct. 29 at the River Island Country Club in Porterville. The Golden Eagles scored 421, beating second place Clovis North by 20 shots.

Claire Shubin led the way for Clovis West with a 79 and Taylor Dufresne shot an 80, followed by Marissa Martinez (86), Kayla Terry (86) and Isa Montes (90).

Central wins second straight D-I football title

Central’s Trent Tompkins can truly do it all, but the senior quarterback certainly had a lot of help.

The Grizzlies won their second straight Central Section Division I championship, rallying from a 34-25 early third quarter deficit en route to a 58-34 win over Liberty-Bakersfield at Koligian Stadium on a frigid night to improve to 13-0 on the season.

Tompkins completed 21 of 34 passes for 410 yards and five touchdown passes (three in the second half) and even kicked two extra points.

The turning point for Central occured when the Grizzlies recovered a fumble at the 36-yard line with 9:08 in the third quarter, punctuated by Quali Conley’s 2-yard touchdown run to take a 38-34 lead over third-seeded Liberty (12-2).

In all, Central would score the final 34 points, the last three on touchdown passes of 17, 24, and 50 yards to give Tompkins the section record of 60 and counting. In the game, the 5-foot-11, 195-pounder also broke the season passing record with 4,519, passing Bakersfield Christian’s Braden Wingle’s 4,380. His three-year passing total now sits at 11,261with 163 passing touchdowns.

Central will move on to the state playoffs with the hope of hosting a Division I-A CIF NorCal Regional game. Matchups are announced on Dec. 2.