Around the TRAC: Wrapping up all the good stuff in the Tri-River Athletic Conference

Photo by Nick Baker – Clovis East senior Carissa Wight was named the school’s female athlete of the year. Wight was a starter on the D-1 championship soccer team, the first in the school’s history. She also was on the track team placing second in the 300 hurdles and fourth in the 100 hurdles at the league meet.

By Paul Meadors SPORTS EDITOR
paulmeadors@gmail.com
@paulmeadors

There’s little doubt that Spring was king for the Buchanan Bears athletic program. Consider this: Their on-field success may very well propel them in earning Cal-Hi Sports School of the Year, a prestigious honor given for overall athletic excellence.

Let’s look at what was accomplished this Spring alone; a baseball team that went 30-1 with a No. 1 national ranking by both MaxPreps and USA Today and won the D-1 Central Section championship and a TRAC title, a softball team (25-5) that won the D-1 Central Section championship, a TRAC title and was ranked No. 15 in Cal-Hi Sports, a boys’ volleyball team (33-4) that won the D-1 Valley title, undefeated in the TRAC and was ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation, and track and field winning a total of six medals at the CIF State Track and Field Championships.

Whew is right.

It’s also time to celebrate those special seniors who were named their school’s Athlete of the Year. Check out the long list of accomplishments for these hard-working graduates. It was truly a pleasure to watch, talk to, and get to know some of these great athletes throughout the year and we can’t wait to see what the future holds.

CUSD Senior athletes of the year

Clovis North – Jahvon Johnson, Rhesa Foster

Johnson was a three-year varsity basketball player who was the TRAC co-player of the year, leading the Broncos to a league title and a birth in the D-1 Central Section championship game. He is attending Cal-State Monterey on a basketball scholarship.

Foster is a track standout who overcame a serious knee injury her junior season to win the state long jump title this year. She was also in contention for state medals in the 100, 200 and 100 hurdles if not for a hamstring injury her senior year. She is attending the University of Oregon next year on a track scholarship.

Buchanan – Hannah Waller, J.T. Arruda

Waller won the state 400 title her junior season and finished second this year, also adding a bronze in the 200. Overall, Waller won seven state medals and also holds the section records in the 400 and 200.

Arruda was a standout soccer and baseball player and was a part of four total Valley titles – two in soccer and two in baseball. He was first team all-league four times and will be attending Fresno State University on a baseball scholarship.

Clovis – Josh Hokit, Cassidy Crouch

Hokit was a two-sport star in football and wrestling, earning TRAC player of the year in football and state individual champion (190) this season in wrestling. He will be attending Drexel on a wrestling scholarship this fall.

Crouch lettered in water polo, badminton and basketball, earning top honors in water polo as the goalie on the 2016 Central Section water polo team. Crouch will attend UC Davis next year on a water polo scholarship.

Clovis West – Caleb Kelly, Aysha Kirkland

Kelly was a three-year varsity starter on the football team, earning all-league honors including TRAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2016 as a linebacker, also scoring nine touchdowns as a receiver this season. Kelly was named to the California All-State and High School All-American team by USA Today. He was rated as the No. 1 college prospect on the west coast and was the recipient of the Dick Butkus Award, honored as the best linebacker in the nation. Kelly will be attending the University of Oklahoma next year on a football scholarship.

Kirkland played varsity basketball for four years (she missed her junior season due to injury) and was a part of four Central Section championship teams, earning TRAC defensive player of the year honors. She is attending Alcorn State to play basketball.

Clovis East – Carissa Wight, Trey Semien

Semien was an all-TRAC dual threat quarterback on the football team and all-TRAC guard in basketball, making honorable mention on Cal-Hi Sports all-state team. Semien will be attending Fresno City College to play basketball.

Wight played varsity soccer and was a member of the 2016 Central Section championship team, earning all-TRAC honors. She was also on the track team and in the TRAC Championships she placed second in the 300 hurdles and fourth in the 100 hurdles.

Tom Orlich retires from Clovis West basketball

In a press release from Clovis Unified School District Clovis West longtime boys’ basketball coach Tom Orlich announced his retirement from high school teaching and coaching on May 27, ending a 14-year stay where he led teams to a 311-99 record including eight league, three Valley, and one Southern California championship

His retirement will allow Coach Orlich to join Jerod Hasse’s Stanford University men’s basketball coaching staff. Haase, who played for Coach Orlich at South Lake Tahoe high school from ’88 to ’92, was named Stanford’s men’s coach on March 25, 2016. Coach Orlich will report to Stanford for the start of their summer basketball camps in June.

In his thirty-nine years as a high school head coach, Tom Orlich has a combined 832-283 record, making him one of the top five winningest boys basketball coaches in the history of California.

During his tenure at Clovis West High, Orlich also saw his three daughters Ashley (2008), Bri (2010), Ali (2012) and son Michael (2015) graduate from the school.

Clovis West plans to have a new coach in place before the start of the 2016-17 school year.

All-TRAC baseball

Player of the Year: Grant Gambrell – Buchanan, Pitcher of the Year: Hunter Reinke – Buchanan Offensive Player of the Year: Quentin Selma – Buchanan, Coach of the Year: Tom Donald – Buchanan.

First team: JT Arruda – Buchanan, Jamal O’Guinn – Buchanan, Zach Presno – Buchanan, Zac Whittaker – Clovis High, Mason Grotto – Clovis High, David Chavira – Clovis East, Matt Fraizer – Clovis North, Brett Walker – Clovis North, James Bell – Clovis North.

All-TRAC softball

Player of the Year: Sienna Swain – Buchanan, Pitcher of the Year: Mollar Millar – Buchanan, Offensive Player of the Year: Mya Felder – Clovis East, Coach of the Year: Dean Gregory – Buchanan.

First Team: Spencer Sansom, Buchanan, Danielle Lung – Clovis, Cassidy Clark – Clovis West, Mackenzie Byrd – Clovis, Arriana Navarrete – Central, Taja Felder – Clovis East, Katie Jackson – Buchanan, Starr Vang – Buchanan, Julianna Martinez – Clovis West, Faith Rousey – Buchanan.

Summer camps heat up

The Quincy Pondexter Basketball Camp returns to Buchanan High School from June 27-30 from the hours of 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The cost is $150 per player and includes all players K-12. Pondexter is a current NBA player for the New Orleans Pelicans and played high school basketball at San Joaquin Memorial and four years of college basketball at the University of Washington.

Visit quincypondexterbasketballcamp.com for more details.

The Clovis West Xtreme Hoop Camp for girls will be held June 27-29 from 8 a.m. – 12 p.m. for girls entering 1-8 grade. The cost is $70 in which they will focus on fundamental instruction including ball-handling, shooting form, football and defensive drills. Instruction will be taught by intermediate school coaches and high school coaches and assisted by current players.

Contact craigcampbell@cusd.com for more information.

The Clovis softball academy will be holding their Summer Softball Camp, a two-day camp on June 27-28 from 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. for girls grades 4-9 and will be coached by current coaching staff and players. The cost is $50 and registration forms can be found on facebook.com/clovishighsoftball