While Davis High Athletes of the Year Heather Johnson and Matt Trask both said they were honored to receive the accolade at the school’s annual awards night on Tuesday, there’s just one problem …
It can’t be easy for either standout Blue Devil athlete to find room in their trophy case.
Here’s just a sampling of each player’s résumé:
Trask’s baseball journey has been well-chronicled, as the 2013 Delta Valley Conference Player of the Year is fresh off of helping his team win the 2014 Sac-Joaquin Section championship.
He’s off to UCLA next year after no MLB teams knocked his socks with an offer to forgo his education. For more on that, check elsewhere on this page.
“It means a lot,” Trask said of his DHS award. “We have a lot of great athletes — water polo, swimming and track — at Davis High. I have a lot of respect for all them, and to win this … it’s great.”
Johnson, a water polo star and speedy swimmer, also aided in bringing home a title this season — the 2013 SJS girls water polo crown. It was her sixth time as a section champ, four straight in water polo along with swim titles in 2012 and 2013.
Most recently, Johnson capped her swimming career with an All-American time as a part of a 400 freestyle relay team during the Devils’ second-place finish at the 2014 Sac-Joaquin championships.
“Being a Blue Devil … now that’s an experience I’ll never forget,” Johnson said. “Winning sections in both swim and water polo wouldn’t be possible without my teammates.
“But if I had to pick a moment that truly stood out in my high school career it would be winning sections this year in water polo. Winning as a senior is always a great thing but this was even more special because my team worked so hard during the season and I knew it meant so much to the other seniors, me and especially (coach Doug Wright).”
After that win, Johnson was named to the All-SJS first team for the second straight season. She was the Devils’ leading scorer with 85 goals, while adding 30 assists and 49 steals.
Johnson was the team MVP after her junior season and is the back-to-back winner of the Phil Koblik Cup, an award for the most outstanding Davis aquatic athlete.
“Heather has been huge for our program,” said Wright, who now hands off Johnson to his brother Jamey Wright at UC Davis.
“I could always count on her. She’s very even-keel, she never gets too up or too down. She’s not overly vocal — she’s someone who leads by example — but yet she does throw her two cents in. If Heather felt that we should go in a certain direction, that’s usually the direction we would go in.”
Next year, Doug says his brother will get a great all-around player joining the Aggies:
“She’s someone who could always hit the big shot. She’s fast on counterattack, a good defender and has a high IQ.”
That Heather is a smart player should come as no surprise since Doug says she comes from a “great family. Her parents, Jackie and Mike, are two outstanding people and they raised three outstanding kids.”
The first of those kids, Heather’s older sister Rachel, has a pretty high water polo IQ herself. Rachel Johnson was the DHS Female Athlete of the Year in 2012 and, after winning the SJS MVP her senior season, now plays at Stanford.
“I feel honored to receive this award because two years ago my sister had also gotten it and well … that’s pretty cool!” Heather Johnson said.
According to Wright, younger brother Jack is poised to follow in his sisters’ footsteps.
And while Johnson says her main hobbies outside of the pool including reading, watching movies, traveling and camping, Wright revealed one other passion — baking.
“She loves going to swim meets; she’s getting into open water swimming and is going to be a terrific triathlete someday,” Wright explained. “But she is just as happy at home baking. She is quite the cook and baker, but also someone who can go out and be the leading scorer in a section title game.”
Notes: Johnson on being honored by DHS: “Winning DHS Athlete of the Year means a great deal to me because I know I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I have without my coaches Doug Wright, Dakotah Sturla, Billy Doughty and Tracy Stapleton. But especially Doug. He has so much passion for the sport of water polo it rubs off on everyone he encounters. He taught me that without passion or hard work or perseverance there’s no such thing as achieving your goals.” … Senior Ted Riffle won the “Triple D” award, which honors the now rare three-sport varsity athlete. Riffle played wide receiver for the Blue Devil football team, center for the DHS basketball team, and was a relief pitcher for the baseball team. Riffle said his favorite basketball moment was laying in the 10th point on Davis’ Senior Night, which broke the “Silent Night” for the DHS student section, who waited until then to unleash their first cheers of the game. … Riffle will attend Sonoma State University next year.
— Reach Chris Saur at firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-747-8049.