One of the many reasons I absolutely love writing about high school sports is watching great athletes grow not only on the athletic fields and courts, but also mature as young men and women. Now that I’ve covered Clovis Unified sports for the Clovis Roundup for almost four years, I’ve had the privilege of watching from close and afar these amazing kids from their freshman year to now. Some were overmatched sophomores on varsity, struggling to keep up physically and mentally, adjusting to the demands of a coach and the expectations put on them by outside influences. Some were stud athletes early, showing a skill set where you knew they had the “it” factor.
However, underneath what most people see and read about, they are just teenage kids trying to juggle, well, all those things that high school kids have to deal with. Most of us who are far removed from our high school days have experienced a lot of those feelings. But, add in this new age of living with social media and it seems like the pressure of high school is multiplied by 100. Multiply that by another 1,000 if they are a high profile high school athlete.
Case in point: Adrian Martinez, the quarterback phenom from Clovis West. I remember a Clovis West administrator pointing Martinez out to me while he sitting on the bench as a freshman on the varsity basketball team, “He could be the greatest athlete ever at Clovis West.” High praise indeed and also some lofty expectations. Over the course of the next three years, I’ve watched and talked and listened and bear witness to yes, a great athlete who will do great things at the University of Nebraska and possibly beyond, but also a great person, wise beyond his years and graceful in the face of adversity. Always polite and respectful, I’ve seen him shake hands with adults before games to introduce himself and heard stories of him encouraging young kids he met at random places throughout town.
Back in March of this year, Martinez laid face first underneath a basket on the Clovis West basketball court, writhing in pain after a hard foul from behind in a playoff game, the labrum of his right shoulder torn. You could hear a pin drop in the gym. I sat there in the gym, stunned in silence, uttering a barely audible prayer, wondering if he would ever be the same. Surgery to repair the injury would indeed wipe out the rest of his high school playing career, but the football offers and the courting of Martinez did not cease. He fielded texts and calls all year – from coaches to the media – and after coaching turmoil at the University of Tennessee, where he made a verbal commit, he decided on the University of Nebraska, handling the situation as well as any high school kid could.
Martinez says he feels as strong as ever physically and there’s no reason to doubt him. He has endured the pain and heartache of missing his senior season and is a pillar of spiritual and mental strength, a role model to youngsters and a marvel to watch on the field. And for this writer who has bear witness from freshman wonderkind to a wise senior – he has a fan for life.
Clovis West places second at Nike TOC, Campbell breaks game scoring record
Clovis West returned to the Nike Tournament of Champions in Arizona where it made basketball history en route to the school’s CIF Open Division state title last season and almost did it again with virtually a new team, placing an impressive second to Gilbert (15-2), Arizona’s No. 3 ranked team, in a tough 80-72 loss in the Mike Desper division of the tournament.
Gone are five seniors from last year who are now playing Division I college basketball, however, one of the top players in the state remain in junior guard Maddie Campbell. She burst onto the scene in last year when she was named Tournament MVP in the remarkable run through the tournament. This year, she upped her game even further when she scored a school record 41 points with nine three-pointers and added 11 rebounds and four assists in the Golden Eagles’ (10-2) 81-58 semi-final win over Lake Highland Prep.
The previous record of 39 was held by Bri Orlich.
Clovis High also participated in the tournament and went 1-3, winning its opening round game 42-25 against Chandler of Arizona before falling in some tough games to Canyon (43-34), Freemont of New England (39-35) and Bradshaw Christian of California (45-44).
Clovis boys soccer undefeated, TRAC looks strong
The Clovis boys soccer team, the defending TRAC and D-I Valley champions, are again the team to beat this season as the boys in blue and gold are an impressive 13-0-3. They are led by the big three seniors: Carlos Osuna (14 goals, 11 assists), Rubehn Martinez (7 goals, 12 assists) and Oscar Rubalcava (11 goals, 7 assists).
However, as league starts up on Jan. 5, it’s going to be a battle as the six teams in the TRAC are a combined 48-13-12, playing in some of the toughest tournaments around the state. In fact, Clovis won the prestigious Adidas West Coast Showcase on Dec. 9 and is currently ranked No. 4 in the state and No. 19 in the nation, according to MaxPreps.
In addition to Clovis, Clovis North is 9-2-1, Clovis West after winning their first seven games is 7-2, Clovis East 7-2-4, Central 6-2-4 and Buchanan 6-5. Clovis North is led by junior Josh Tyburski (9 goals, 9 assists), freshman Christian Silva (10 goals, 6 assists) and McKay Severance (7 goals, 6 assists).
Four Clovis West football players sign Division I offers
A high school football team with one player with a Division I college football scholarship offer is quite a big deal, but four? How about five? And how about six overall seniors playing college football in 2018? Well, that was the 2018 class of Clovis West as five football players signed official offers on early signing day on Dec. 20, and one will make his final decision on Feb. 7.
At a ceremony in front of friends, family, coaches and administrators at Field House restaurant, quarterback Adrian Martinez made it official and signed with Nebraska and linebacker DJ Schramm inked with Boise State. Meanwhile, on the same day just a few hours earlier on the Clovis West campus, receivers Rodney Wright III and Ricardo Arias signed with Fresno State and defensive back Tykee Woods with Sacramento State.
For Martinez, it ended a whirlwind recruiting process for the No. 8 dual-threat quarterback in the nation. The 6-foot-2, 205 pound elite quarterback had 26 offers and had verbally committed to Tennessee before coaching changes altered his future. That’s when newly appointed head coach Scott Frost made a hard push, calling Martinez “my favorite guy in the country.”
Both Martinez and Schramm will enroll in college in January, getting a head start in the next chapter of the lives. Martinez will compete for a starting job in 2018 after missing his senior year due to a torn labrum that required surgery. Frost’s offensive scheme at Nebraska fits his skill set perfectly.
Schramm, whose twin brother Dusty is mulling over offers from San Jose State, UNLV, Montana State, Air Force, Army and Idaho State, made a verbal commitment to Boise State before the year started and is excited to be a Bronco.
“It means the world to sign with Boise State,” said DJ, the 2016 TRAC Defensive Player of the Year. “This is something I’ve wanted to accomplish since I played my first varsity game as a sophomore. I’ve wanted to be a Bronco since they first offered me.”
TRI-RIVER ATHLETIC CONFERENCE ALL-LEAGUE FOOTBALL SELECTIONS
Player of the Year: Trent Tompkins, Central
Offensive Player of the Year: Rodney Wright, Clovis West
Defensive Player of the Year: Jacob Hollins, Central
Linemen of the Year: Cole Acevedo, Clovis; Theo Meyer, Buchanan
Specialist of the Year: Trevor Erin, Buchanan; Eli Riofrio, Clovis West
Coach of the Year: Kyle Biggs, Central
First Team: Marcus Washington, Central; Jacob Torrez, Central; Jevon Bigelow, Central; Paul Tadros, Central; Tre Walker, Central; Diotry Brewer, Central; Jaden Williams, Central; Cristian Loera, Clovis; Colton Byrd, Clovis; Joey Jaramillo, Clovis; Romello Knight, Clovis East; Dante Chachere, Clovis West; Dusty Schramm, Clovis West; Dakota Helms, Clovis West; Jayden Helms, Clovis West; Ricardo Arias, Clovis West; Toa Scanlan, Buchanan; Kendall Milton, Buchanan; Keenan Wolf, Buchanan; Brock Jones, Buchanan; Ryan Regier, Clovis North; Trenton Holloway, Clovis North.
BOYS WATER POLO DIVISION I ALL-VALLEY TEAM
MVPs: Anthony Tolbert, Buchanan; Kaleb Archer, Buchanan; Gabe Putnam, Buchanan.
First Team: Zach Zetz, Buchanan; Logan Bowes, Clovis; Brady Stilson, Clovis; Evan Belli, Clovis North; David Hoffman, Clovis North; Curtis Vidinoff, Clovis North; Kobe Ramage, Redwood, Hayden, Hobbs, Redwood.
GIRLS WATER POLO DIVISION 1 ALL-VALLEY TEAM
MVP: Abby Mammen, Clovis.
First Team: Anna Brazil, Clovis; Emily Lancaster, Clovis; Shelby Vidmar, Clovis; Georgia Phillips, Clovis North; Emily Mayer, Clovis West; Caitlyn Snyder, Clovis West; Zaylynn Mangrum, Sanger; Victoria Martinez, Sanger; Grace Ochs, Sanger.
Clovis’ Anthony Martinez wins state Cal-Hi Sports Player of the Week honor
It’s no secret that Clovis basketball has fallen on hard times recently. The Cougars haven’t won a league game in the past two years (0-20) with a combined record of 22-37 under Wil Hooker, who suddenly resigned a week before practices were to officially begin this season. However, this year, the team is off to a very nice start under new coach Cory Fischer, sporting a nifty 9-2 record. One of the main reason is senior guard Anthony Martinez, a 5-foot-8 sharpshooter with speed who’s averaging 23 points per game on the season.
Martinez was recently named Cal-Hi Sports NoCal Player of the Week for his efforts in leading Clovis to a third place finish in the Holiday Invitational Tournament. In the team’s 90-74 win over Immanuel, Martinez scored 31 points with six rebounds and seven assists. He also scored 35 in the 91-74 win over Lemoore.