With the school year over, it’s time to say goodbye to some Yosemite High School male senior athletes that I had the pleasure to cover. I wanted to offer some parting thoughts.
Two weeks ago YHS announced the winners of athletes of the year. For the boys, the award went to Peter McLean and deservedly so. Peter competed at a high level as a three-sport athlete. I had the privilege of covering Peter in boys basketball. He ended the season with the school career record for rebounds. He owns two Badger records: rebounds in a career (788) and rebounds in a game (24). He is also No. 2 and 3 in the record book for rebounds in a game with 23 and 22.
Peter was a quiet leader who consistently worked hard every day. He was the classic power forward, without the bulk - a guy who can score down low and grab rebounds. Peter did this virtually every game averaging nearly 10 points and 11.5 rebounds. I will remember his calming and steadying influence on a young team.
He was also a team leader and outstanding member of the water polo and swimming teams.
This year the voting criteria was changed from previous years. Coaches nominated the athletes and there was a point system which included nine YHS core values, as well as scholastic and athletic performance. Peter McLean fit all these values to a tee.
I cannot say enough about the McLean family. Peter’s parents, Tony and Lori, operate Oakhurst Physical Therapy. Throughout the years there have been so many mountain kids and adults that Tony, Lori, and staff have treated, many of them for free. I know the family will forever cherish the award.
Trevor was named the school’s boy Scholar Athlete of the Year, and was ranked No. 1 academically in the 2017 graduating class. He was the valedictorian speaker at the June 8 graduation and is now a lifetime member of the California Scholarship Federation and International Baccalaureate.
On the basketball court, Trevor could run and jump. He was the best leaper on the team, contributing a solid stat line of points, rebounds, assists, and steals. Like McLean, Trevor was a quiet leader who consistently brought a strong work ethic every day and was above all unselfish.
He was a ‘defense first player’ according to Coach Aaron Eames, mirroring completely the coaching staff philosophy.
In track, Trevor competed in the pole vault and high and long jump - both very athletic and technical events.
In my opinion, senior Tristan Eames was a close second to McLean for Athlete of the Year, and I feel he had one of the outstanding sports careers in Yosemite High history. Tristan was a freshman varsity starter in basketball (point guard) and baseball (third base all-league freshman year), and a three-year varsity starter at quarterback in football.
Tristan came to YHS during a down time. The highest profile boys sports, football and basketball, were at low points. I remember a conversation I had with Tristan early in his sophomore season. I told him that ‘he and his brother together could help change the fortunes of both programs.’ It was a lot to put on Tristan’s shoulders, but guess what? Mission accomplished. Both football and basketball made the playoffs this year.
In basketball, Tristan is now No. 4 all-time in points, and No. 3 in assists and steals. A knee injury cut his senior season in hoops short as YHS was in position to win a long awaited league title. He was voted all-league twice as a point guard and led YHS to two straight playoff appearances.
Tristan and his brother Cannon, a junior this year, are easily two of the better athletes I have seen at YHS. Tristan will leave as one of the great quarterbacks to play at YHS. Under his leadership, YHS won two road playoff games en route to a 9-4 record. He was also selected to play in both the City/County and North/South All-Star games in football, but he couldn’t participate due to injury.
Tristan will get a chance to play quarterback at Alan Hancock Junior College in Santa Maria. Tristan will carry on the Eames legacy for the Bulldogs. Grandfather Barney Eames is a coaching legend in Santa Maria. Barney had two stints as head coach for Alan Hancock and compiled a 140-43-1 record in 14 years, leading Hancock to seven bowl appearances and coached in the state title game in 1999. Tristan’s dad Aaron played quarterback at Hancock for two seasons before finishing at Azusa Pacific.
Kevin was a total anomaly as an athlete. The home-schooled senior was one of the best offensive linemen in the NSL this past season. He was selected to the North/South All-Star game but could not attend due to family commitments. A two-year starter, Kevin played football mostly for his friends and helped anchor an O-line that blew open holes for a run game that amassed an all-time record in team rushing yards. In my opinion the 6-foot-4-inch, 250-pound Bulawsky is talented enough to play D-I football, but he won’t because he is a scholar first.
Kevin’s athleticism really showed through on the track. He leaves YHS ranked No. 2 in the shot put (48-8) and No. 4 in discus (150-1). What was remarkable was that a 250-pound lineman was the best hurdler at YHS. Kevin ran 16.35 in the 100 meter high hurdles for a league title and is No. 7 all-time at YHS. He did all this only practicing a couple of days a week due to his study schedule.
I don’t mean to overlook the senior girls at YHS, but the truth is some of the most athletic girls at the school were underclassman this year.
Kailey Neal was the girls senior Athlete of the Year and Riley Ashton was the girls Scholar Athlete of the Year. Riley was ranked No. 2 academically out of all students in the 2017 graduating class. Kailey was a key member of the water polo team (leading scorer with 98 goals) and the swim team - and Riley was an outstanding soccer player and was a distance specialist on the girls track & field team.