Around the TRAC: Clovis Teams Climbing Up State, National Rankings 

The Clovis West girls’ golf team celebrates its TRAC title and qualification for the Central Section championships. Their win last Tuesday was one of many big events in the league last week. (Courtesy of Ken Shipley)

If you’re watching a game in the Tri-River Athletic Conference, regardless of the sport, there’s a good chance you’re watching some of the best high school action in the state.

There’s a top-5 baseball team in California at Buchanan High School, a top-15 softball team at Clovis North High School, and another top-25 softball team at Clovis High (all rankings courtesy of Cal-Hi Sports).

Another high school sports publication, MaxPreps, keeps boys’ soccer rankings for California. Clovis North and Clovis High are ranked as top 5 teams in the state — North sitting at No. 3 and Clovis at No. 5. They recently played each other on May 6, with Clovis winning 3-1 in a likely preview of the Central Section Division-I final.

On the girls’ side, MaxPreps ranks undefeated Clovis North as the top team in California this season. Clovis is close behind at No. 3 and Buchanan cracks the top 10 at No. 7, giving the TRAC a legitimate claim to be the best girls’ soccer league in the state, public or private.

Clovis West is home to the No. 4 girls’ basketball team in California, a ranking they earned with a 15-point win over then-state No. 3 St. Mary’s of Stockton. The Golden Eagles have league play ahead of them and likely Open Division section playoffs after that, with Harold Abend of Cal-Hi Sports predicting that Clovis West could wind up in Southern Regional state playoffs.

And about those national rankings — the state No. 3 Buchanan baseball team is also ranked by MaxPreps as the No. 18 high school ballclub in the country.

With baseball, basketball, soccer, softball and more sports playing simultaneously this year, there has been a state-ranked matchup between TRAC teams every week, if not every other day. 

Take last week, for example: on May 4, Buchanan and Clovis met in a top-10 girls’ soccer matchup. Two days later, the highly-ranked Clovis and Clovis North boys’ soccer teams played. Then, the day after that, a top-20 softball matchup took place between Clovis and Clovis North.

More will come this upcoming week, when Buchanan and Clovis North take the pitch in girls’ soccer on Thursday, May 13. The next day, MaxPreps state-ranked No. 18 Buchanan softball hosts Clovis North.

By the time Central Section playoffs roll around in these sports, buckle up.

In a school year where high school sports in California almost didn’t happen, it feels criminal to take the talent in the TRAC for granted.

Clovis West girls’ golf wins Valley Championship qualifier

Speaking of state recognition, the 2019-20 California State Coach of the Year, Ken Shipley, led the Clovis West girls’ golf team to their 16th consecutive TRAC title this season. 

The Golden Eagles went on to win an 18-hole qualifier for the Central Section championships on Tuesday, May 4, leading the pack with a total score of 417. Clovis North finished second with a score of 432. 

Buchanan (435), Clovis High (451), Central (475), and Clovis East (500) rounded out the rest of the table.

The best individual score of the tournament was a 72, shot by the league’s golfer of the year, Alexa Tran of Clovis North. Six other golfers were honored with All-League selections: Buchanan’s Rachel Aujero, Clovis’ Avery Foster, Clovis North’s Maddie Reed, and Clovis West’s Ellie Lew, Isa Montes, and Lisa Shimmon.

If the section championships are approved, Clovis West, Clovis North, Buchanan, and Clovis have qualified for the Division I championship, and Central has qualified in Division II. The championship tournament is scheduled for June 7 at Madera Golf & Country Club.

TRAC takes the track at Arcadia Invitational

With no CIF state track & field championships being held this season, the 2021 Arcadia Invitational may have been the closest thing to it. Many of the state’s top runners in multiple events competed at the meet this year, including a couple of TRAC stars.

Nate Johnson of Clovis High clocked a 10.49 100-meter dash at the West Coast Relays on May 1, placing him as the state’s top 100-meter sprinter headed into Arcadia. Lauren Fowler of Buchanan also had the best girls’ 100-meter time in California prior to Arcadia,  running an 11.70. 

Johnson finished sixth in the boys’ 100-meter dash at Arcadia with a 10.85 time, while Fowler medaled and placed third in the girls’ race with an 11.80. Johnson lost his mantle as California’s top sprinter to Chaminade’s Patrick Ize-Iyamu (1st place with a 10.47), but Fowler remains the state leader in the girls’ 100-meter dash.

Central High’s 4×100-meter boys’ relay team placed second in the invitational event with a 41.90 time, while Clovis High’s 4×100 team finished fourth despite running their seasonal best time (42.01). 

A pair of TRAC runners took the top two spots in the boys’ 400-meter dash. Jeremiah Walker of Central (47.58) and Austin Gillen (47.92) of Buchanan finished first and second in the event, respectively, with both breaking school records in the process. Later in the meet, Walker also finished second in the 200-meter dash.

Buchanan’s Fowler and Alexa Dandridge took second place in the 200-meter dash and 300-meter hurdles, respectively. 

In long distance races, Clovis East sophomore Erika Nyberg placed fourth in the girls’ mile race (5:00), while Buchanan senior Bo Olsen finished third on the boys’ side (4:16). Clovis High sophomore Christopher Caudillo was one of 15 boys runners to break the nine-minute barrier in the two-mile race, placing fourth with an 8:51 time.

Clovis North’s 4×400-meter relay team took third place with a time of 3:52.79, concluding a day full of top-3 performances by TRAC runners and relay teams.

Gabriel Camarillo has written for the Clovis Roundup since August 2019 and follows high school athletics, Fresno State football and former Clovis Unified student-athletes. Gabe also writes for The Collegian as a staff sports writer and works at One Putt Broadcasting as a board op for 940 ESPN radio.