Team: Concord High School, Grade: Senior, Sport: Volleyball.
Coach Jess Mays thought in September his Concord High girls varsity volleyball team would be in the midst of their 2020 season. Instead, he is like every other high school coach in the state, figuring out how he will get his Minuteman team ready for a two-month season that hopefully begins Jan. 12.
“Their leadership will dictate our success,” Mays says of senior captains Otaguro and Barron. “They have played key roles in CHS volleyball the last two years. They are both very hard workers with strong leadership skills. In a season where we may not have the opportunity to build much team chemistry in the preseason, their experience together will be incredibly helpful. Maci has been the starting setter the last two years and is definitely the leader of our team. Eleanor has been the most stable part of our offense and has become very strong as a blocker as well.”
Barron played freshman basketball and volleyball. But since then has concentrated on volleyball, a sport she has played for six years including with the Bay Area Volleyball Club. Her freshman year she won the Minuteman Award, was offensive MVP as a sophomore and last year received the Coaches Award. She keeps busy away from the volleyball court with CHSGreen, API, CSF and the Link Crew.
Barron has earned scholar athlete awards and is planning for college to get a business degree and perhaps play volleyball. Barron says, “Not being able to play volleyball and participate in senior events this year has made me realize how much volleyball means to me. Now that I am unable to engage in senior activities and see my friends at school, playing volleyball is not only a way to socialize but a way to relieve my stress and anxiety of how this year is going. I am looking forward to hopefully practicing in December and have hope that the school year will improve.”
During Otaguro’s first two years on varsity she has earned all-Diablo Athletic League honors as well as a number of team and scholar athlete awards. Volleyball is her only sport and she plays year-round with Bay Area Volleyball Club. She is also a Link Crew leader at Concord High. “COVID 19 has taught me to not take things for granted and that nothing is ever promised. I am thankful for the years I have been able to play but am hopeful that I will still get to play my senior year volleyball season.” Otaguro is hopeful she can continue her playing career in college next year.
The team is hoping to earn a place in the North Coast Section Division II playoffs that begin Mar. 2. Concord was most recently in the Section tournament in 2017 when Otaguro and Barron were freshmen. Coach Mays concluded by saying, “Both of these girls set great examples for the program and have it pointed in the right direction. I’m very lucky to have senior captains that are such great young women on and off the court. I can’t wait to see them play their final season at Concord. It’s a great day to be a Minuteman.”
The Pioneer congratulates Maci and Eleanor and thanks Athlete Spotlight sponsors Dr. Laura Lacey & Dr. Christopher Ruzicka who have been serving the Clayton and Concord area for 25 years at Family Vision Care Optometry. www.laceyandruzicka.com
Do you know a young athlete who should be recognized? Perhaps he or she has shown exceptional sportsmanship, remarkable improvement or great heart for the sport. Send your nomination for the Pioneer Athlete Spotlight today to firstname.lastname@example.org.