Around the TRAC: Where there’s not enough hours in the day to see it all

The Clovis West girls swim and dive team won their 21st straight Division 1 Valley championship and were led by Caitlyn Snyder’s four top finishes. (Contributed photo)

You know that movie when a sportswriter/dad/husband’s laptop is on the fritz, he’s frantically typing at 1:18 in the morning on deadline, his daughter just threw up, two nights earlier he and his wife hosted 17 junior high girls over for a birthday sleepover and the next day he drove from gym to gym to gym to gym for his other two daughter’s AAU basketball games for most of the day? Then he realized he had better quickly figure out Mother’s Day and rushed to Save Mart to buy flowers – and hilarity ensued? Well, if you haven’t figured it out that’s not the plot to an actual real film – it’s been the movie of my life the past two and a half days. Maybe we could get my weekend made into a movie and call it Livin’ La Vida Loca starring Vin Diesel.

Just like my massive-filled weekend the next two to three weeks are going to be a wild, wacky ride in the Central Section with our Clovis schools. With spring sports entering the championship phase, there’s a lot of action going on and a lot of fantastic events to cover. Now, that’s a good problem to have.

Just this coming week alone we’ll crown a boys’ tennis team Valley champion on May 17 and an individual winner on May 20. Speaking of, be sure to check out my story on Clovis North tennis player Daly Meinert – an incredible athlete that comes from mighty athletic stock.

The boys volleyball championship will be played on May 18, Clovis is the No. 1 seed and trying to completely knock off Buchanan Game of Thrones-style from their three-year reign.

The Clovis West boys golf team won the Area Championship on May 8 and I wish there was room to write about their accomplishment and post a picture or two. The team and individual championships are to be played at River Island on May 22.

What about those amazing girls track and field stars at Buchanan? They captured the TRAC title with ease behind standout distance runner and freshman Corrie Smith in the 1,600 and 3,200 and sophomore Megan Lowe in the 800. And Clovis North’s Danae Ma nibog in the 200 and 400 and pole vault extraordinaire Brooke Tjerrild who also wins long jump titles.

And of course all eyes will be on California state discus record holder Jonah Wilson from Clovis in the CIF Central Section Master’s at Veterans Memorial Stadium on May 20, then at the CIF State meet on June 2-3 also at Veterans. Can the big guy improve on a 221-5?

Then there’s the baseball and softball championship games that are both, sadly, scheduled for Saturday, May 27. Obviously, there’s no guarantee a Clovis area school is making it to the finals in either sports but gosh darn, who made that decision for the same date? The Buchanan boys team is the No. 1 seed and will be seeking their third straight Valley title with the championship again played at Rawhide Stadium in Visalia. The softball championship will be at Margie Wright Diamond at Fresno State. Fingers crossed we’ll be represented in those games.

Oh yeah, and the CIF State Swimming and Diving Championship are being held once again at the Clovis Olympic Complex at Clovis West. on May 20. Yes, the same day as the Valley track meet.

And how can I forget the Clovis East girls badminton team who won a Division 1 Valley title? Those Timberwolves sure pack a punch over there.

So, OK, did you plug all those important dates into your smart phone? Hope so, you better not miss all the action, we are counting on you.

Clovis West girls win 21st straight swim and dive Valley title, Clovis North boys also claim title

Twenty-one years ago the Spice Girls had the No. 1 hit with “Wannabe”, Netscape Navigator was the web browser of choice and Tickle Me Elmo was the dominant Christmas toy.

It was also the year that the Clovis West girls swim and dive team started the streak of Valley championships.   

On May 13 at the Clovis Olympic Complex the girls did it again, continuing one of the more impressive streaks not only in the Central Section but in the state as the Golden Eagles won their 21st consecutive Division 1 Swimming and Diving Valley championship.

“I was really happy with what the girls did today,” continued Clovis West coach Adam Reid. “I think they had a lot of confidence coming into the meet this being one of the best girls teams that Clovis West has ever had.”

Clovis North boys won their first Division 1 Valley swim and dive championship and were led by Michael Jia’s four top finishes. (Contributed photo)

Let’s think about this – most of the girls on this year’s squad was not even born the last time the Golden Eagles didn’t hoist the Valley title plaque.

“The bigger number it gets the more incredible it is,” said Reid. “It’s starting to get crazy when you start talking dynasty. I was lucky to come in when it was at 15. It is just incredible.”

Junior Caitlyn Snyder had a fantastic meet with four total golds, two individual and two in relays. Snyder, who was also on the Valley championship water polo team, won the 50 free in 23.81 and the 100 free in 51.35. 

The team of Snyder, Jordan Gruce, Allyson Clague and Skyler Elkington won the 200 free relay (1.36.40) and the 400 medley relay of Samansky, Snyder, Elkington and Hannah Lambert (1.46.79) won gold with an All-American time. The 400 free team of Samansky, Jessica Schab, Clague and Gruce won with a time of 3:32.37.

The meet also marked the return of Elkington from a back injury. The University of Pacific signee has taken the season slow in her rehab and should be ready to continue at the CIF State Swim and Dive Championships

Samansky, a sophomore, won the 200 free (1.51.07) and along with Jessica Schab, Clague and Gruce won the 400 free relay.

Clovis sophomore Averee Preble won the 200 IM (2.03.31) and the 500 free (4:57.10) and Cougars teammate Adie Collard took the 100 butterfly (57.54). And two Clovis North swimmers took home gold: Savannah Fitzgerald in 100 backstroke (57.59) and Georgia Phillips in 100 backstroke (1:04.54).

On the boys side the Clovis North team won their first team title in school history scoring 410 points to Clovis West’s 359 led by Michael Jia’s four total golds – just like Clovis West’s Snyder – two individual and two relays.

Jai won the 50 free (21.28), the 100 butterfly (50.09) and was a part of the 200 free relay team with Ben Forbes, Bodhi Bowden and Evan Belli (1:26.15) and the 400 free with Forbes, Belli and Cole Fleming (3:08:55).

Clovis senior Graham Hauss who has won gold in the 200 and 400 free relays at the state meet won the 500 free (4:32.77) and 200 free (1:37.77)

Other gold medalists include: 200 medley relay Clovis West team of Hunter Lane, Tom Schab, Matthew Renfro, Tyler Cotton 1:37.63; 200 IM: Hunter Lane, Clovis West, 1:53.22; 100 freestyle: Ben Forbes, Clovis North, 46.42; 100 breaststroke: Noah Hickman, Buchanan, 57.77.

The Clovis High boys volleyball team swept the TRAC with a perfect record of 10-0 and were led by seniors Trey Lake, Zevan Williams, Max Ogas and Akash Dhothar. (Contributed photo)

Clovis boys volleyball wins TRAC title

Clovis High was primed for a monster year this season but first was knocking off the heavyweight Buchanan, the rival who had won the past three Valley championships and dominated the TRAC in recent years.

Phase 1 has been completed for the Cougars as they thrashed the league with an undefeated 10-0 record and a sparkling 27-7 overall record. They are currently ranked No. 15 in the nation and No. 12 in the state.

In fact, they swept Buchanan 3-0 in both of the league games this season. But, they did lose 3-1 to the Bears in Santa Barbara at the Karch Kiraly Tournament on April 22.

All season they’ve been led by a strong senior class led by senior Trey Lake and hitters Zevon Williams, Max Ogas and Akash Dhothar. Lake, the coach’s son, is a three-sport athlete and was the starting quarterback on the football team and a three-year varsity basketball player.

And how ‘bout this for consistency – Williams and Dhothar both have 330 kills on the season and Ogas has 303. Lake has registered 1,070 assists.

But this much is evident with this year’s team – the boys not only get after it on the court but they have a great time doing it.

“Fun,” said Lake about this team and whose dad, Richard is the coach for both the boys and girls teams. “That’s how I would describe it. These guys are phenomenal and I get so much joy being the one that gets to deliver them sets. It’s an amazing feeling to watch my friends and teammates be successful and I’m glad I get to be a part of all their great accomplishments.”

To cap off a truly magical season, the Cougars still need to raise that banner that says “Valley champions.”

“To win a valley title would mean everything to me, I’ve dreamt about it my whole life,” said Lake whose playing at Menlo College next year along with Dhother. “To put a banner on our wall would be amazing and the perfect way to end senior season.”

The Clovis West girls basketball team poses with its trophy and banner presented by MaxPreps and the Army National Guard during a lunchtime assembly on campus. (Contributed photo)

Clovis West girls basketball receives special honors

The hits keep on rolling for the Clovis West girls basketball team, those amazing girls that won the heart of the Central Valley and the CIF Open Division state championship to go along with a 34-2 overall record. They also finished the season ranked No. 1 in the country by ESPN, USA Today computer rankings and MaxPreps.

And five girls were named to the Cal-Hi Sports All-State Team:  Sarah Bates was named a top 10 player and named first team along with Danae Marquez, Megan Anderson and Bre’yanna Sanders were named second team and Madison Campbell was placed on the All-Sophomore team.

The entire team was honored by MaxPreps at an outside school assembly on May 11 on their Tour of Champions and is one of 20 schools being honored on the tour which is presented by the Army National Guard.

In beating Archbishop Mitty 44-40 in the Open Division championship game, the Golden Eagles knocked their NorCal foes out of the top spot, sending them into the No. 1 position.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be included with so many outstanding basketball teams and coaches,” said Clovis West head basketball coach Craig Campbell, who completed his 12th season. “To be ranked that high with so many schools is hard to get your head wrapped around it.”

California Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Kasey Comstock presented Campbell and the team with the Army National Guard national ranking trophy. The team also received a banner for their accomplishment.

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.