Around the TRAC: Putting in that little extra to make a difference

The playoffs are coming, the playoffs are coming!

We are now in the month of November, the Year of Our Lord 2017, and that means the fall sports season is wrapping up and we’ll have ourselves some new Valley champions soon enough. All the summer workouts, all those practices when coaches pushed athletes both physically and mentally will hopefully bear fruit and lead to some celebrations.

That extra bench press rep in the weight room? That could be the difference in whether or not a football player makes an open field tackle to save a touchdown. That defensive water polo drill that seems repetitive? That could be the game-changer in throwing off an opponent’s shot in an overtime game. Those extra 15 minutes after tennis practice to work on a serve? Maybe that extra zip could help win your team a Valley title with a perfect second serve.

Those are just a few examples of many that could make the difference in crunch time, just when your coach and teammates need you most. They say the cream rises to the top, but will it be served cold or whipped? (I think I just made that up so feel free to use that one whenever you feel the need to sound smart and stuff). Anyway, it’s going to be an exciting month for sure crowning championships in football, volleyball, water polo, cross country, and girls golf and tennis. And I would be remiss if I didn’t mention our first Valley champion crowned – the Clovis North girls gymnastics team! Congrats to the Lady Broncos.

The Clovis West girls golf team from left to right: Claire Shubin, Kayla Terrey, Madison Nii, Aya Enkoji, Marissa Martinez, and Taylor Dufresne. They have dominated opponents this season and recently won the North Area meet. (Contributed photo)

Clovis West girls golf continue dominance, win North Area

If you want to know who the most dominant Central Section team in the fall is, look no further than the Clovis West girls golf team, they are about as sure a bet you’ll ever find.

They went undefeated in TRAC play and also smashed the competition in the TRAC tournament. In fact, no one really came close this year with a star-studded cast.

They already hold the Central Section for the lowest team score in an 18-hole course when they shot a collective 368 at the par 72 Lemoore Golf Club on Aug. 28. They haven’t slowed down since.

And recently, the Golden Eagles team obliterated the field with a team score of 389 at Dragonfly Golf Club, besting second place Clovis East by 41 strokes. Buchanan finished third with 432 and Clovis North fourth at 438.

The team consisting of Claire Shubin (77), Kayla Terrey (79), Madison Nii (79), Aya Enkoji (76), Marissa Martinez (78), and Taylor Dufresne (80, non qualifying) dominated the North Area championship on Oct. 23, finishing with five players within the top 12 places overall. 

“The girls played well, managed the course well, and didn’t let any bad breaks affect them,” said Clovis West head coach Ken Shipley. “They focused on each shot and each hole, and their short games were very good.”

Other TRAC players of note were Morgan Polley, CE, 73, Mia Goudy, Buchanan, 75, Mattie Millwee, Buchanan, 77 and Caitlyn Jimenez, CE, 79. 

And don’t think for a second that the Clovis West girls come out and take everything for granted. Coach Shipley has been thoroughly impressed all season with their attention to detail.

“The girls have been dedicated and worked hard to continue improving their games and have used good technique, practiced well, and continued to refine the mental aspects of the game,” says Shipley.

Clovis West has won nine of the last 11 Valley championships, including the last five.

The Central Section Championship was played Monday with an 11 a.m. shotgun at River Island CC in Porterville.

Buchanan wins TRAC Unified soccer

The Buchanan unified soccer team that played with both general education and special education players won the TRAC tournament with a 4-3 win over Central.
(Contributed photo)

Last year the TRAC Unified soccer season was a huge success, with every TRAC school fielding a co-ed team mixed with general education students and special education students. And this season was no different, culminating with a final league-wide tournament held at Clovis West’s Tice Field. This year was another rousing success as Buchanan won the league tournament with a 4-3 over Central, who was last year’s champion.

The games are played on a shortened field and feature three special ed and two general education students on the field. But beyond the wins and losses are the smiles and cheers and triumphs that are heard throughout each and every game. The student cheering sections from various teams like the Buchanan baseball team, were highlights the students will never forget. The season truly was a victory in more ways than one.

Buchanan polo completes perfect 10-0 TRAC season, No. 1 playoff seed

Buchanan completed one of the most dominate water polo league seasons in recent memory when it beat Clovis North 10-3 on Oct. 25, wrapping up a perfect 10-0 season. BHS finished the regular season 22-4 and were rewarded with the No. 1 seed in the D-I Central Section playoffs which begin Nov. 1 with the championship scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 9.

Not only did the Bears (21-4 overall) not lose to a Central Section team but they did so in dominating fashion, outscoring opponents 162-36. Clovis North finished a strong second, their only two losses in league to Buchanan. They outscored opponents 130-71 during league.

Buchanan has had its eyes on the prize all season: a second consecutive D-I Valley title. However, a strong mental approach has kept them locked in on solely the next game on the schedule.

“Winning the TRAC championship was another great accomplishment on the season but as we’ve always done we’re going to keep looking one game at a time,” said star junior Kaleb Archer, who has scored 80 goals this season. “We just try to be a better team than we were the day before and if we keep doing that and play the game we know how then we are a tough team to beat.”

Team cohesiveness is a big factor in the team’s success so far.

“I know it always gets said about a lot of teams but this team has a chemistry like no other I’ve ever been a part of,” continues Archer. “No one on our team has an individual agenda we’re all pushing in the same direction and once it all comes together it’s special.”

Central completes undefeated TRAC volleyball season as No. 1 seed, Buchanan No. 2

Central went undefeated in volleyball and finished the regular season 36-2. The Grizzlies are the No.1 seed in D-I playoffs with Buchanan (31-6, 8-2) receiving the No. 2 seed. (Contributed photo)

Buchanan went to Central on Oct. 19 with a chance at a co-league championship with a victory, and what ensued was an epic match in what very well could be a taste of what the Valley title could look like.

Central, though, would prevail in five games, 19-25, 25-23, 25-28, 27-29, 20-18 to cap up an undefeated TRAC season at 10-0 and an incredible 36-2 overall. The Grizzlies are also ranked No. 7 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports.

For Buchanan (31-6, 8-2), they were led by senior Kennedy Rice (25 kills), junior Ashley Dittman (17 kills), junior Lexi Pagini (12 kills) and junior setter Mikayla Weiss’ 41 assists. Central was led by junior Makayla Lewis’ 24 kills.

Division I playoffs begin Nov. 2 with the Valley title game on Nov. 11 at Lemoore.

Football roundup

Week 9

Clovis West 35 Clovis East 6

On homecoming night, the Golden Eagles (7-1, 3-0) raced out to a 28-0 lead and cruised to a 35-6 victory over Clovis East (0-8, 0-3) behind senior Rodney Wright’s two touchdowns.

Wright scored the game’s first touchdown on a 7-yard run, then after a Nick Coleman rushing touchdown, junior quarterback Dante Chachere found Wright again for a passing touchdown. Jayden Helms also ran for a score.

Central 53 Clovis North 7

Central raced to a 20-0 halftime lead then poured it on in the third quarter with a 30 point outburst in crushing Clovis North 53-7 in a game played at Koligian Stadium.

Junior quarterback Trent Tompkins accounted for four total touchdowns, passing for 319 yards – two touchdowns to senior Jacob Torrez for 87 and 22 yards and a 4-yarder to Avery Boyd – and added an 8-yard touchdown run to move to 7-1 overall and 3-0 in TRAC. Clovis North fell to 2-6 and 1-3.

Clovis North’s Jackson Schultz scored the lone Broncos touchdown on an 8-yard run in the third quarter.

Week 10

Buchanan 41 Clovis East 21

Buchanan’s offense took a little while to get going, only holding a 13-0 lead over winless Clovis East before finally exploding in the second for a lopsided win over the Timberwolves (0-9, 0-4).

The Bears (7-2, 2-2) continued to an upward swing in their passing game with senior quarterback Ty Hall completing 9 of 12 passes for 145 yards and three touchdowns – two to Jordan Huddleston and one to Vinny Ortiz – and the dynamic duo running back combo of Kendall Milton and Trevor Ervin averaged an eye-popping 21.5 yards per carry.

Milton had only 4 carries but rushed for 118 yards, including an 80-yard touchdown early in the third quarter and Ervin added 140 and two touchdowns on only eight carries.

Romello Knight scored one touchdown on the ground and Trevin Qualls ran for a score and also threw for one in the loss.

Clovis 42 Clovis North 28

Clovis moved to 2-2 in league and 6-3 overall with a rousing 42-28 win over Clovis North (2-7, 1-3) behind two interception returns for touchdowns by Grant Lake and Wade Hess and an 89-yard kickoff return from Matthew Sanchez in a 28-point second quarter.

For the Cougars, they also received a 20-yard touchdown pass from Payton Mayer to Reef Dove for the game’s first score, a 1-yard touchdown run by Jason Hunt and a Jonathan Johnson 2-yard run.

Clovis North’s Trenton Holloway scored three touchdowns, one on a 77-yard fumble return and two through the air from sophomore quarterback D.J. Frampton from 73 and 12 yards out. Running back Jason Schultz scored on a 9-yard run.

Paul Meadors
Paul Meadors is a man of many talents. He is a elementary school teacher, Junior High athletic director, and basketball coach in Traver, CA, in addition to serving as the Sports Editor for the Clovis Roundup. He is also the author of the humorous book “Letters to eBay,” and he has recorded a piano album of his own compositions titled “Surviving the Storm.” He lives in Fresno with wife Lori and daughters Georgie, Alex and Ruthie.