Clovis News: Sports

Boys Water Polo: First Team

GREG BRACAMONTE

School: Central

Class: Senior

He's qualified because: Bracamonte was the focal point of the Grizzlies' offensive attack, scoring a team-high 77 goals, 52 more than Central's next highest scorer. Named first-team All-Tri-River Athletic Conference, second-team All-Valley and fourth-team All-Northern California. Has drawn interest from Fresno Pacific.

He said it: "He's not your big, typical 2-meter guy. But he still got double-teamed a lot of the time because people knew who he was, and he was able to fight through that and still do quite well. He's very upper-body strong and he's nifty, he moves real well to get position. He can be in a mix, where there are two or three guys going for the ball, and he has a knack for getting the ball away from the other guys so he can get a shot off. And he's really good at finding the back of the net. We would not have been competitive without him." -- Central coach Rick Klatt

JAKE JIZMEJIAN

School: Clovis

Class: Senior

He's qualified because: Was a first-team All-Tri-River Athletic Conference, first-team All-Valley and third-team All-Northern California selection for the Central Section Division I runner-up Cougars. Finished second on the team with 63 goals while also recording 26 assists for the TRAC champions. Scored two crucial fourth-quarter goals as top-seeded Clovis rallied for a 6-4 overtime win over Buchanan in the section semifinals.

He said it: "Jake played the 2-meter position, and that's not his best position. He probably would have scored more goals if that wasn't a place he had to play, but he was a team player and took that role. He was invaluable to us. A good defender and a smart player." -- Clovis coach Terry Giffen

CHASE LEMLEY

School: Clovis

Class: Senior

He's qualified because: Was the top scorer for the Tri-River Athletic Conference champion and Central Section Division runner-up Cougars, finishing with 66 goals for the section's most consistent team over the course of the season. Also recorded 39 assists and was the winner on 123 of 128 quarter-opening sprints while earning TRAC MVP, first-team All-Valley and second-team All-Northern California honors. The two-time Bee All-Star in swimming will focus on that sport next school year at UC Santa Barbara.

He said it: "He's the fastest player in the section. We get the ball first every time on offense because when he sprints, he wins. And [Lemley's speed] makes him a great counterattacker because he's so hard to defend. He can play 2-meters, outside and he's an excellent defender. He's just a well-rounded player." -- Clovis coach Terry Giffen

GARRETT PICKFORD

School: Buchanan

Class: Senior

He's qualified because: Was named first-team All-Tri-River Athletic Conference, first-team All-Valley and fourth-team All-Northern California after leading the Central Section Division I semifinalist Bears with 53 goals. Also finished second on the team with 42 ejections drawn. Plans to play at Golden West Community College in Huntington Beach next season with the hope of transferring to a four-year university.

He said it: "The thing that made him more valuable to us is he played a variety of roles over the course of the season. He started as our 2-meter defender and would up as our 2-meter offensive player. He's a good all-around player and by the end of the year, he was our most effective 2-meter player. He enjoyed playing polo in high school and will use that as a springboard down the line." -- Buchanan coach Dave Pickford

CRAIG RITCHIE

School: El Diamante

Class: Senior

He's qualified because: Used his size (6-foot-6) and speed to power the Miners to a third seed and semifinal playoff appearance during El Diamante's first season in Division I. The West Yosemite League MVP, first-team All-Valley and honorable mention All-Northern California selection had a team-leading 123 goals, 94 steals, 48 assists and 58 ejections drawn. The three-year varsity player is looking to continue career at a junior college next season.

He said it: "What sets Craig apart is his work ethic. Since his seventh-grade year, he has worked harder than anyone else in the group. It's really put him ahead of everyone else. In six years of playing for me, I can't remember too many practices he's missed, be it early mornings or late nights or any time of year. The other thing that sets him apart is that at 6-6, he's one of the biggest guys in the league and easily the fastest. That doesn't typically go hand-in-hand, but it made Craig a dangerous offensive weapon." -- El Diamante coach Ryan Davis

SHAE RUSSELL

School: Clovis North

Class: Junior

He's qualified because: Led the Broncos to the school's first Central Section boys water polo title, capping a 91-goal season with three goals in Clovis North's 16-13 overtime win against Hanford for the Division II title. The first-team All-Tri-River Athletic Conference, first-team All-Valley and second-team All-Northern California selection also contributed 52 assists and 66 steals for Clovis North. He helped the Broncos reach the Division III final in 2009. Has 235 goals over past two seasons.

He said it: "Shae is a very explosive player. He has a lot of power, speed and talent. He's one of those players who draws a lot of defenders, and that allows us to open up someone else. He's been that big-time player that our program has needed to start us off. The other big-time programs in the Valley have had one or two players who have taken them from one level to the next, and he's the guy who is allowing the whole team to get to the next level. He brings that confidence. We are lucky to have him this early in our history." -- Clovis North coach Fabrizio Lofaro

NEIL STOTT

School: Clovis

Class: Junior

He's qualified because: The explosive, 6-foot-2 goalie was the backbone of the Tri-River Athletic Conference champion and Central Section Division I runner-up Cougars. Made 248 saves, averaging 7.81 per game. Was a second-team All-TRAC and All-Valley selection, while also earning honorable mention All-Northern California recognition. Two-year starter is expected to challenge for Clovis' career saves record next season.

He said it: "He's just a great goalie. He's been a starter the last two years, and played almost every single moment of those two years. My assistant coach was telling me he really thinks Neil is the MVP of our team, because he's what makes our defense good. And he's a confident and accurate passer, which is important because that's what makes our counterattack go." -- Clovis coach Terry Giffen

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