Sun-Star Honors Spring Female Athletes of the Year
Marissa Bertuccio has accomplished a lot during her four years playing softball at Golden Valley High.
During her junior year, she helped end a 12-year playoff drought. This past season, Bertuccio helped lead GV to its first Central California Conference championship since 2005 and they reached the Sac-Joaquin Section championship game for the first time in the program’s history.
Along the way, Betuccio was named the CCC Most Valuable Player.
Even with everything she’s accomplished on the field, what she’ll remember most are her friends.
“I’ll remember all my teammates,” Bertuccio said. “I’ll miss all of them, especially this year’s team. I’m proud of all the records I broke and the impact I had at the school, but I’ll remember my friends, coaches and all the memories we made the most.”
For the second consecutive year, Bertuccio is the Merced Sun-Star Softball Player of the Year.
Bertuccio ended her career at Golden Valley in grand fashion, leading the team to a CCC championship and reaching the section finals. The Cougars ace led the state with 28 wins and finished second in the state in strikeouts with 308.
Bertuccio finished with a 28-5 record with a 0.62 ERA. She threw three no-hitters and one perfect game. She also finished with a .548 batting average to go along with seven home runs, 44 runs scored and 36 RBIs.
The team’s success meant more than any of the individual accolades for Bertuccio.
“Our season was pretty incredible,” she said. “We did pretty well my junior year so I didn’t know if we could top it. I can’t describe how amazing my senior year was. I grew up playing with some of my teammates like Maddie (Martinez) and Vanessa (Saltos), so it was fun to do it with them.”
Golden Valley coach Ross Cruickshanks says Bertuccio’s success is a product of hard work.
“She pitches every day, maybe she takes one day off here and there,” said Cruickshanks, who was also named the Sun-Star Coach of the Year. “Her work ethic is unmatched. She’s a perfectionist which can help and hurt her at times. The last few years, she’s dealt with it so much better. She trusts her teammates.
“She’s also a high character person. She’s a great student. She’s a great leader for the girls. I can just go on and on about her.”
Angelena Williams, Golden Valley
Angelena Williams doesn’t have much experience in the triple jump. However, when asked, the Golden Valley senior will compete to help her team earn points in Central California Conference meets.
It just so happens Williams is the top triple jumper in the CCC, winning the event at the CCC’s third center meet and CCC championships at the end of the regular season.
The triple jump was one of four individuals events Williams won at the CCC championships. She also won titles in the long jump, 100-meter hurdles and 300 hurdles.
For the second consecutive season, Williams is the Merced Sun-Star Female Track Athlete of the Year.
“The thing I’m most happy about this past season was winning CCC,” Williams said. “It’s been 10 years since (Golden Valley) has done that.”
The girls CCC championship came down to the wire with the Cougars clinching the title in the 4x400 relay in the CCC’s third center meet.
“I felt so ecstatic when we won,” Williams said. “I couldn’t believe it at the time. It makes me so proud we were able to do that.”
Williams holds Golden Valley records in the 100-meter dash, 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles and she was part of the 4x100 relay team that set a record this past spring on their way to becoming Sac-Joaquin Section champions for a second straight year.
Next year she’ll begin her collegiate career at Southeast Missouri State.
“I’m very excited,” said Williams, who is originally from Illinois.. “Especially because I’ll be in Missouri. I’ll be facing a lot different competition. Surprisingly, I’ll be competing against a lot of people I ran against in middle school.”
Emily Trejo, Merced
Merced High sophomore Emily Trejo swam just about every event at one point this season for the Bears. Whatever she was asked to do, she did.
Trejo swam the 200 yard individual medley, 100 breaststroke, she swam the sprints, the mid-distance freestyles and the distance events.
“Her versatility was huge,” said Merced coach Kit Grattan. “She has the ability to do all the events. She might have swam everything but the backstroke for us only because we didn’t need her to swim backstroke because we have Sophia Hart and Madeline Hall. She’s willing to do everything.”
Trejo won two individual titles at the CCC Championships with victories in the 100 breaststroke (1 minute, 8.77 seconds) and the 100 freestyle (56.63) to help the Bears clinch the CCC team championship.
Trejo is the Merced Sun-Star Female Swimmer of the Year.
“As a team, all of us did amazing,” Trejo said. “It was a great season for all of us. We all wanted to win so bad.”
Trejo said she had no problem swimming events the team needed her to swim.
“I have my favorites like the 100 breast,” Trejo said. “Not all of them are my best, but I practiced as hard as I could.”
Despite racing in the pool since she was little, Trejo still gets nervous before every race.
“She’s a workhorse,” said Grattan, who was also named the Sun-Star Coach of the Year. “She’s the fastest girl in practice every single day. She’s a great athlete. She’s a competitor. That’s the part that makes me super nervous. She gets super nervous before races.”
Trejo says she’s so worried about swimming a fast time she gets in her own head before races.
“I’m always worried I’m not going to swim as good as I think I’ll do,” Trejo said. “Sometimes I’ll sit on the floor behind the blocks four or five events before my race. I’m just thinking about my race.”
Most of the time, those nerves went away as Trejo claimed another victory.
Female Spring All-Area Honorees
Megan Escobar, Atwater
Janessa Jasso, Dos Palos
Jana Pope, Chowchilla
Jewels Perez, Merced
Kendall Flatt, Atwater
Alexis Aguallo, Le Grand
Vanessa Saltos, Golden Valley
Naomi Moore, Golden Valley
Emma Eastman, Stone Ridge Christian
Kelsey Volkmar, Chowchilla
Marley Gonzalez, Atwater
Hannah Nelson, Stone Ridge Christian
Kiya Smith, Mariposa
Katie Aragona, Los Banos
Yosselin Castillo, Pacheco
Coach: Ross Cruickshanks, Golden Valley
Amelia Smith, Los Banos
Alizabeth Huerta, Livingston
Nylah Hassaan, El Capitan
Morgan Johnson, Buhach Colony
Clara Harman, Atwater
Sara Pust, Golden Valley
Breanna Espinoza, Livingston
Natalie Griffin, Atwater
Keionnie Clemons, Golden Valley
Anaya Shelton, El Capitan
Quinn Hagerman, Merced
Eliza Barocio, Atwater
Kaitlynn Perez, Merced
Coach: Jacqueline Wooding, Golden Valley
Kendall Thomas, El Capitan
Sophia Hart, Merced
Gabby Perez, Buhach Colony
Katarina Capulong, Merced
Paige Roseman, Pacheco
Emma Johnston, Buhach Colony
Madeline Hall, Merced
Kayla Ybarra, El Capitan
Alexis Smith, El Capitan
Coach: Kit Grattan, Merced