Selma High School named its Athletes of the Year and three student-athletes were chosen.
Despite not being able to compete in high school competition, Richard Figueroa was one of two male athletes chosen. He was joined by Aaron Blancas, who was a standout for the Bears’ football and basketball teams.
Abigail Baker, Selma High standout swimmer, was named Selma High School’s Female Athlete of the Year.
“Being chosen as one of this year’s athlete of the year is a huge honor especially with me only being a junior,” Baker said. “It makes me feel so grateful to be supported and apart of such a great group of students.”
Baker also said that it means more to her because of what Selma High means to her life and because of the struggles athletes had to go through over the last year.
“Selma high has left a great impact on my life, and I think the atmosphere and positive vibes it gives off to not only me but the rest of the students will for sure never be forgotten. These big accomplishments that have been recognized will also leave a mark for the rest of my life in the sense that I am able to strive for bigger goals and feel a huge support system throughout the journey,” Baker said. “This year has been a struggle, but I mainly tried keeping a positive mindset and strive for my goals no matter the circumstance. Getting my best times in all of my events this year has been a relief because it Proves to me that through tough times, I am still able to achieve what I set my mind to. So I am very proud of the mentality I have kept throughout this swim season as well as what I accomplished.”
Baker set two school records this past season and finished in fourth place in the 100-meter backstroke event and in 11th place in the 100-meter butterfly in Division 1. She also played for Selma High’s water polo team.
For Figueroa, who graduated in June, he is thankful for being named one of the two Male Athletes of the Year.
“It feels good to win my third athlete of the year. I worked hard and stayed on my grades,” Figueroa said. “I’m glad I was able to lead by example and I am going to miss my coaches, friends and teachers that helped me through this journey. Thank You, Selma.”
Figueroa, a three-time California State Champion, was unable to compete for a fourth championship in 2021 due to California not clearing high school wrestling to take place during the pandemic.
He did win a UWW Junior National Title which qualified him to represent Team USA at the UWW Junior World Championships in Ufa, Russia on August 16-22. He will continue his academic and wrestling career at Arizona State University beginning in the Fall.
Blancas, a wide-receiver for the Bears football team, ended the shortened 2021 football spring season in the top-five in several categories. He also played on the defensive end of the ball and had multiple interceptions this season.
He also was one of the leading scorers for the Bears boys basketball team.
“Receiving the Athlete of the Year award is a blessing and an honor,” Blancas said. “It shows that people see what I have put into sports that I play. It shows all my hard work and I feel very appreciative for getting this recognition.”