Around the TRAC: Hittin’ the fall home stretch with eyes on the prize

Clovis West senior water polo player Maddie Loggins is a top player for the Golden Eagles this season, helping the team to another TRAC title. Loggins is considering Arizona State, Fresno State and Indiana to continue her playing career. [Photo by Nick Baker]


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

Ladies and gentleman we are now approaching the stretch run for fall sports, entering the do-or-die stage with playoffs looming just around the corner. Check out the playoff schedule, all in one tidy, neat little package. We are truly a sports section by the people for the people.

In our beloved Around the TRAC section we love to highlight a little bit of everything – letting you know the top teams and players to look for, a cornucopia of good stuff. For example, the water polo programs at Clovis West (girls) and Buchanan (boys) are lookin’ real good. The girls’ golf team at Clovis West (see below) is on a pretty impressive streak and the Golden Eagles volleyball team took care of business in winning the TRAC (see separate article in this issue).

And of course there’s good ol’ American football – those Friday Night Lights that capture our attention like no other sport. The annual “All Clovis Week” starts on Halloween this year and culminates with the Clovis vs Clovis West game at Veterans Memorial Stadium on Nov. 4.


Football playoffs are set to begin on Nov. 11 (some top seeds will get byes).

Volleyball playoffs begin Nov. 3 with the Central Section championship games all being held on Nov. 12 at West Hills College in Lemoore.

Water polo playoffs begin Nov. 10 and championship games are set for Saturday, Nov. 19.

The Valley and state cross country meets at Woodward Park are on Nov. 17 and 26, respectively.

Golf individual and Valley championships are Nov. 8.

Tennis individual championships are Nov. 5.


And there is an exciting event happening on Saturday, Nov. 5 at the Performing Arts Center at Clovis North in the first annual Clovis Unified Athletic Hall of Fame event. Here are the first inductees in the ESPY-like gala event:

Dr. Floyd B. Buchanan (posthumously) – Founding Superintendent

Dennis DeLiddo – Wrestling (Decade of the 1970s)

Chris Hernandez – Basketball (Decade of the 2000s)

Daryle Lamonica – Football (Decade of the 1960s)

Ruth Lawanson – Volleyball (Decade of the 1980s)

Amanda Scott – Softball (Decade of the 1990s)

Tim Simons – Football

1968 Clovis High School Boys Basketball Team

1970 Clovis High School Football Team

If you are at all familiar with Clovis sports, those names are pure gold. You better believe we will be there for this incredible event!


The Clovis West girls’ golf team wrapped up another TRAC title this year and won their ninth Valley Championship in 11 years. rom left to right, Taylor Dufresne, Kayla Terrey, Allyson Musser, Aya Enkoji, Madison Nii, Claire Shubin. [Photo contributed]
The Clovis West girls’ golf team wrapped up another TRAC title this year and won their ninth Valley Championship in 11 years. From left to right, Taylor Dufresne, Kayla Terrey, Allyson Musser, Aya Enkoji, Madison Nii, Claire Shubin. [Photo contributed]
Clovis West girls golf continues impressive run

The Clovis West girls’ golf program continued its dominance at the team level again this year in winning the TRAC title, all five of their 1:1 matches in TRAC play and all five of the TRAC’s six-team 9-hole tournaments. Then they won the Central Section North Area Tournament at Madera Municipal Golf Course on October 23.

Pretty impressive stuff to be sure. If you’re like me, you love yourself some stats, so here’s some more eye-popping tidbits of info for your reading pleasure, highlighting the history of the program.

  • The 2016 TRAC title is their 12 consecutive.
  • On Monday, October 31 (after the Roundup’s deadline) they’ll be going for their 10th North Area title in 11 years.
  • If they qualify for Valley (barring a monumental collapse) they’ll be vying for their ninth D-1 Valley title in 11 years.

This year’s team has been a mixture of seasoned veterans and sophomores. The lone senior is Allyson Musser, joined by juniors Aya Enkoji and Madison Nii, and two sophomore starters in Taylor Dufrense and Kayla Terrey. A third sophomore has rotated in the sixth position with Alex McGrath starting the most followed by Claire Shubin and Autumn Gonzales.

A major reason for this season’s success so far? Always look to a senior for the answer.

“So far, this season has been so special because of our team chemistry – we all get along so well and are truly great friends,” said Musser, who entered her first tournament at age ten and credits her dad, Jason, for introducing her to the game. “It’s amazing to spend so much time with each other and want to work hard for the benefit of the team. Our coaches have also played a key role in making this season special because of their dedication to the program.”

As with every successful program, coaching consistency is paramount – and the Clovis West program has a great one in head coach Ken Shipley. From the time they come to Clovis West, they enter a successful culture and buy into putting in the effort to improve, progressing to become as good as they can be.

Musser also adds: “We have been so successful because we never stop working hard. We don’t take a single win for granted and we still work hard at practice the next day in preparation for the next tournament.”

The all-TRAC list includes: Madison Nii (Player of the Year), Tammy Lim (CN), Aya Enkoji (CW), Morgan Polley (CE), Taylor Dufresne (CW), Serena DiMauro (Central), and Allyson Musser (CW).


Buchanan boys water polo on the right track

Buchanan senior water polo player Robert Phillips has led the Bears to a 22-5 record and 9-0 league record this season. He has scored 56 goals on the season to go along with 20 assists. [Photo contributed]
Buchanan senior water polo player Robert Phillips has led the Bears to a 22-5 record and 9-0 league record this season. He has scored 56 goals on the season to go along with 20 assists. [Photo contributed]
The boys in the pool over at Buchanan are a pretty intense group with a little bit of a chip on their shoulder. After receiving the No. 1 seed in last year’s D-1 Central Section playoffs they were upset by a blazing Golden West squad from Visalia in the semi-finals. But, that was last season and this is a whole new year with a sound focus.

So far, so good for the Bears as they all but have wrapped up the TRAC title in going 9-0 with one game remaining (November 1) and have outscored opponents 137-30 in the nine games. They are 22-5 overall. .

The leading scorer for the Bears has been sophomore Kaleb Archer with 66 on the year to go along with 38 assists. Senior Robert Phillips has scored 56 with 20 assists and another sophomore, Gabe Putnam, has contributed 40 goals and 19 assists.

“Putnam as our center defender and senior Kyle McKenney in goal are the backbone of our defense,” says head coach Nic Maes. “Putnam is the best defender in the Valley.  He completely neutralizes anyone he matches up with and McKenney consistently plays at a high level that frustrates and intimidates opposing shooters.”

Maes says that Phillips can play effectively anywhere in the pool and adds that he is a shutdown defender and an elite scorer as well. He also points out that junior Dayne Ruth and sophomore Zach Zetz are key contributors.

Sophomore Kaleb Archer of Buchanan leads the Bears with 66 goals on the season and has contributed 38 assists [Photo contributed]
Sophomore Kaleb Archer of Buchanan leads the Bears with 66 goals on the season and has contributed 38 assists [Photo contributed]
Phillips, in his fourth year on varsity, points to the work habits of his team, a necessity for such a demanding sports such as water polo.

“We work hard everyday in practice and always push each other no matter what we’re doing,” said Phillips. “If it’s swimming, we’re racing each other, if it’s a drill we’re working hard and making sure our teammates are doing the same. During games our success comes from us just focusing on Buchanan water polo.”

The team played in some top-notch tournaments, including the John Schmitt Memorial Tournament, the Richison Invitational and the American’s Finest Tournament in San Diego during the year to help prepare them for the tough play in the TRAC.

While winning the TRAC is important, the Bears have their goals set even higher – the D-1 championship.

“It is a very big accomplishment to win the TRAC yet I know I speak for our entire team when I say that it is not enough,” said Archer. “We’re still not satisfied with how we’re playing and what we’ve accomplished. We’re still working hard every day and keeping our eyes on the final prize, the Valley Championship.


Buchanan’s Wilkins sets school INT record, receives Cal-Hi Sports honor

Buchanan defensive back Jack Wilkins intercepted four passes against Clovis on Oct. 21, breaking head coach Matt Giordano’s school record of three. Giordano (right) went on to play in the NFL for eight years, winning a Super Bowl title with the Indianapolis Colts in 2008. [Photo by Nick Baker]
Buchanan defensive back Jack Wilkins intercepted four passes against Clovis on Oct. 21, breaking head coach Matt Giordano’s school record of three. Giordano (right) went on to play in the NFL for eight years, winning a Super Bowl title with the Indianapolis Colts in 2008. [Photo by Nick Baker]
Jack Wilkins had himself quite a night to remember on October 21 against Clovis when the defensive back picked off not one, or two or even three passes. When he jumped into front of Clovis star receiver Tyson Fraser and gobbled up his school record FOURTH of the game, sealing a 28-13 win, he broke the record held by someone close to him – literally.

The player, or should I say coach’s record he broke was current first-year head coach Matt Giordano’s record of three set while he was a standout player at Buchanan. Giordano played for the Bears and was an integral part of the 2000 Valley championship team, the first in school history. Giordano went on to play in the NFL for eight seasons, winning a Super Bowl ring with the Indianapolis Colts in 2008.

Wilkins’ effort also garnered some state-wide attention as he was named Cal-Hi Sports NorCal Defensive Player of the Week.


Sign up today for Clovis West Lil’ Hoopsters:

Just go online with Eventbrite and read about Lil’ Hoopsters and then hit “Tickets”.  Follow the instructions and fill out the information.  You can sign-up today!  You can also select 1-3 of your teammates as long as each player puts down each player’s name.

Again, if you sign-up on or before November 5th, you will save $25 as the cost will be $60.  If   you prefer the in person sign-ups, we will do these on Saturday, November 5th from 9-11 in front of the Clovis West Gym.  This will be the only in person sign-ups that we will have!  Any sign-ups after November 5th will be on Eventbrite and the price will go to $85.  Please plan ahead and take advantage of the savings today!

Any boys questions please email Coach Walberg at vancewalberg@cusd.com and girls questions go to Coach Campbell at craigcampbell@cusd.com.