By Paul Meadors, Sports Editor
I just filled in a calendar of Clovis Unified sporting events for the month of May and by golly, it’s busier than the parking lot at Dog House Grill. With a total of eight TRAC Spring sports coming to an end, league champions will be crowned with an eye on the bigger prize – a Valley title and a chance at state titles. Now, unfortunately there are no state playoffs for softball (boo) and baseball (double boo), but there are state meets for swimming and diving and track and field.
The best part of those last 13 words in the last sentence of that first paragraph is that both of those events are held right here in our backyard in good ‘ol Clovis (hip, hip hooray!). The CIF California Swimming and Diving Meet is being held at the newly renovated Clovis Olympic Swim Complex at Clovis West on May 21 and two weeks later the CIF California Track and Field Championships are at the newly renovated Veterans Memorial Stadium June 3-4. Well, technically that’s in June but you get the idea. Newly renovated and Clovis go hand-in-hand. That’s a good thing.
And as we inch closer to these massive events, we look forward to the crowning of our Spring TRAC champions and the Central Section playoffs. In the meantime, check out the splash on this page for some of the happenings Around the TRAC.
Inaugural Buchanan dive meet a success
Teresa Hall and Lindsay Crawford saw the opportunity for a first-class diving event, and (sorry for the bad pun), they dove in head first, creating the first Buchanan Diving Invitational held on April 23.
Showcasing divers from up and down the Valley, the Invitational drew 30 girls and 25 boys, creating a rousing success.
“Coach Teresa Hall and I have hosted several club AAU and USA Diving competitions, so we had discussed the possibility of hosting our own high school invitational based on our training and experience,” said Crawford. “Many other coaches were not able to host invitationals this year, so it was a natural transition for Teresa to make the arrangements and host one at Buchanan.”
With each participant performing 11 dives (five voluntaries or easier dives and six optionals or more difficult dives), there were 21 total divers who qualified for the CIF Central Section Championships. This is important because divers are limited to only three invitationals for the entire year. Just as important, though, is the bond the student-athletes develop during a meet such as this.
“Divers love to interact with other teams between dives, and friendships are formed over competing new dives for the first time,” Crawford said. “Thunderous cheering results from perfectly executed dives as well as the excruciating belly flops because all of the divers can relate to both.”
Crawford points to Clovis High freshman Jaxon Carreno, Clovis North freshman Ashley Vitale, Clovis East senior Savannah Uhlir, Clovis East freshman Avery Fong and Buchanan sophomore Marcos Garcia as having great events.
Also qualifying were boys Marcos Garcia and CJ Paolilli from Buchanan and Lucas Brumm from Clovis North. On the girls’ side were Kiree Lowe and Paige Le from Buchanan, Molly Borders from Clovis North and Rylee Kenitzer from Clovis.
We can’t wait to see the event grow and grow under the leadership of Hall and Crawford.
Clovis North hires new football coach
Clovis North has made their choice of who will take over their football program, a coach familiar with the Valley and the TRAC.
On April 20, the school announced it has hired Casey Quinn, the former Central coach from 2008-2011.
“I loved his energy and passion for football,” said Clovis North athletic director Coby Lindsey. “He understands what it takes to run an effective program and he connects with his athletes.”
Quinn takes over a program that went 7-5 overall and 3-2 in league reaching the D-1 Central Section semi-final game against Clovis High.
Recently, Quinn coached at Cesar Chavez in Delano where he went 20-4 the past two years and reached the Division IV semi-finals each year. He’s also spent time as the Roosevelt head coach (2013) and an assistant at Reedley College (2012).
Quinn takes over for the legendary Tim Simons, who is retiring after winning 249 games.
Lindsey is excited about what Quinn will bring to Bronco Nation, citing a love for the game and an ability to be relational with student-athletes: “I loved his energy and passion for football. He understands what it takes to run an effective program and he connects with his athletes.”
Buchanan volleyball nationally ranked
There’s little doubt that the Buchanan (23-3, 8-0) boys volleyball team has dominated Central Section opponents. Their three loses are to powerhouse So Cal programs in out-of-section tournaments. In fact, since an opening season 3-2 victory over Madera South, the Bears closest match is against Clovis East, and both of those were 3-1 victories.
To show how good California volleyball is, Buchanan is ranked No. 4 in the Nation and yep, No. 4 in the state as well.
On April 22-23, the team traveled to Santa Barbara to play in the Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions, a who’s who among the best high school volleyball has to offer. After a first round 3-0 demolishing of West Ranch, they ran into the state’s No. 2 team in Loyola and fell 3-0. In the third place game they rebounded to beat Burroughs 3-0.
The team is led by dual sport star Donovan Mitchell (Wake Forest basketball scholarship), a 6-foot-9 jumping-jack of a player who leads the team in kills. Mitchell likes his team’s chances in the So Cal state playoffs and loves playing with his quirky teammates.
“I love my team and we can do some big things this year,” said Mitchell. “I believe the reason we are so good this year is because we are so different in general but what we all have in common is our competitiveness and drive to win.”
The playoffs begin on May 10 with the finals scheduled for May 20.
Three Clovis West girls make all-state basketball team
Capping off a tremendous season in which the Clovis West girls basketball team went 30-4, earned an undefeated TRAC championship and captured their fourth straight D-1 Valley championship title, three players were named to Cal-Hi Sports all-state team.
Danae Marquez and Megan Anderson, both juniors, were named to the all-junior second team while freshman Madison Campbell made the freshman team.
This is Cal-Hi Sports 36th year releasing all-state teams and Clovis West was one of only five teams with three players listed. Anderson made the all-sophomore team last season.
TRAC Track and Field leaders in the Central Section
110 high hurdles: No. 1 Paramveer Chohan, Buchanan, 14.53
300 intermediate hurdles: No. 1 Paramveer Chohan, Buchanan, 37.05 (#2 state); No. 3 Pablo Perez, Clovis East, 40.11.
400 relay: No. 3 Buchanan 42.49.
High jump: No. 2 Jacob Veres, Clovis North, 6-6
Pole vault: No. 1 Zach Bethel, Clovis West, 15-0; No. 2 Griffin Carter, Buchanan, 14-7
Shot put: No. 1 Jacob Wilson, Buchanan, 62-2 (#3 state); No. 2 McKay Johnson, Clovis North, 61-9 ½ (#5 state); No. 3 Jonah Wilson, Clovis, 59-1 (#10 state)
Discus: No. 1 Jacob Wilson, Buchanan, 195-1 (#2 state); No. 2 McKay Johnson, Clovis North, 185-0; No. 3 Jonah Wilson, Clovis, 180-0.
100: No. 1 Rhesa Foster, Clovis North, 11.84 (#7 state); No. 2 Hannah Foster, Buchanan, 11.86 (#8 state; #9 all-time section)
200: No. 1 Hannah Waller, Buchanan, 24.40 (#7 state); No. 2 Rhesa Foster, Clovis North, 24.49 (#8 state); No. 3 Yamilet Biggers, Buchanan, 25.57.
400: No. 1 Hannah Waller, Buchanan, 53.61 (#2 state); No. 3 Yamilet Biggers, Buchanan, 57.98.
800: No. 2 Lauren Moffett, Clovis North, 2:16.73; Tatum Perez, Mt. Whitney, 2:16.97.
1600: No. 2 Megan Lowe, Buchanan, 4:59.59; No. 3 Lauren Moffett, Clovis North, 5:04.96.
3200: No. 2 Mackenzie Mora, Buchanan, 11:07.29; No. 3 Lauren Moffett, Clovis North, 11:09.40.
100 high hurdles: No. 1 Rhesa Foster, Clovis North, 14.17 (#4 state)
300 low hurdles: No. 2 Remington Mahlum, Buchanan, 46.46; No. 3 Aleeza Hasson, Buchanan, 46.81.
400 relay: No. 1 Buchanan (Wellington, Waller, Manibog, Biggers) 47.29 (#7 state); No. 3 Clovis North 48.45.
1600 relay: No. 1 Buchanan (Watts, Biggers, Manibog, Waller) 3:52.42 (#8 state)
High jump: No. 1 Alexis Vincent-Walker, Clovis, 5-7
Pole vault: No. 1 Brooke Tjerrild, Clovis North, 12-9 (#5 state); No. 2 Shelby Noble, Clovis West, 12-6
Long jump: No. 1 Rhesa Foster, Clovis North, 20-2 ½ (#2 state)
Triple jump: No. 1 Remington Mahlum, Buchanan, 36-2 ½; No. 3 Brynley Bower, Clovis West, 35-11.
Discus: No. 3 Cari Acosta, Buchanan, 137-5.