One of ’17

Manuel Espinoza, Sports Editor

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In two weeks, the Class of 2017 will walk across the stage, leaving their high school years behind them.

Among the seniors scheduled to participate in this send-off are seventeen Cougars we’re placing in the spotlight. Learn about 16 seniors here: http://cougarprowl.net/1250/news/16-of-17/

Here is a portrait of one of ’17.

 

By Manuel Espinoza

The smell of burning all-weather rubber track will linger in the air under a late, spring sun at Buchanan High School in Clovis.

Within those surrounding bleachers to be filled with friends and coaches of the elite athletes who’ve made it to the CIF State Track and Field Championships to be held June 2, likely will be members of the Weston Ranch family to cheer on a graduating Cougar.

“I don’t believe I’m that good but that’s in the eye of the beholder,” said Andrew Farley (’17), a second-year shot putter, a football standout, who’s nevertheless remained humble. “As for the people that supported me – my friends, family, coaches and most importantly God, who has kept pushing me to be better.”

So far, Farley is sole member of the track team who has provisionally qualified for the state meet.

Farley, a sprinter turned field athlete, has been as bright light during the season, the result of work started in 2016, said Field Coach Matthew O’Donnell.

“Since last year, Andrew has made major strides in his performance both in track events such as the 100-meter sprint and in field events, specifically the shot put throws,” O’Donnell.

“Regarding the shot put event, not only did he start training for the first time ever mid-season last year but split his training between his sprints and throws during the season,” O’Donnell said. “To have managed to be in a position to potentially advance to state championships within very little time, highlights Andrew’s athletic capabilities.”

Although a trip to the state championships could slip away, the fact that it’s even within reach highlights Farley’s level of determination which encapsulates the spirit of the 2017.

Farley would be the team’s first athlete to qualify in the last two years, said Track Coach April West.

“He’s been talking about State since last year,” West said, when Farley also was close to qualifying.

Farley has set personal bests in the 100-meter and shot put.

“(Andrew) continues to surprise me,” West said. “He broke the shot put record at the Delta Mustang Invitational.” By the way, West said, Farley also holds the school record in this field event.

Yet, track and field is but one of Farley’s sports. The senior also played four years of Cougar Football.

“Football has helped me get stronger, more explosive,” said Farley, a Cougar fullback who plans to play on the collegiate level. Farley said he can still see a day, surrounded by thousands of cheering National Football League fans as a linebacker.

Anything is possible, high school shouldn’t be an ending, but a beginning.

“He was ferocious. His physical play lifted the effort of others around him,” said Football Coach Seth Davis.

“Off the field, Andrew has grown to be a polite gentleman,” Davis said. “But when he buckles his chin strap and shows up Friday night you would have no idea that he was the nice. Andrew has all of the attributes to play college football and beyond. More importantly, he has turned around his motivation in the classroom. That is what will continue to help him excel.”

Whether Farley makes it to the NFL or not, the senior said he plans to become a counselor to advice and inspire, classes still on the road to their own graduation days.

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