School: Clayton Valley Charter High School
Manuel Serna has had a lot to tackle on and off the football field and he’s been rewarded for his efforts. As a kid, Serna played on several basketball and baseball teams, learning fundamental principles of being a team athlete. By the age of six, he began his football career playing for the Concord Cobras all while his father was fighting heart disease and beating kidney cancer.
Eventually, Serna began his high school career on the freshmen team at Clayton Valley Charter and by his sophomore year he was an offensive tackle on varsity. In addition, Serna trained with Stag Elite linemen challenges and worked during his off season to perfect his technique, helping him earn the CVCHS junior of the year award.
Coach Nick Tisa had a lot to say about his 6-5, 300-pound lineman. “His work ethic is contagious and he’s a commander of the program. Off the field, he has such a kind and warm heart. . .The world is a better place with people like Manny Serna in it.”
Serna’s journey to where he is now has been a challenge through family struggles with his father currently fighting pancreatic cancer and waiting for a heart transplant, and his grandmother battling breast cancer. All of these experiences have culminated in this senior season, where he and his teammates are aiming for a state championship.
Despite all of these challenges, Serna is ready for his senior season and already committed to play for San Jose State next year. He chose the Spartans over a half dozen other interested college programs around the country.
CVCHS student journalist Corinne Jeandheur wrote this Spotlight.
The Pioneer congratulates Manny and thanks Athlete Spotlight sponsors Dr. Laura Lacey & Dr. Christopher Ruzicka who have been serving the Clayton and Concord area for over three decades at Family Vision Care Optometry.
Do you know a young athlete who should be recognized? Perhaps he or she has shown exceptional sportsmanship, remarkable improvement or a great heart for the sport. Email your nomination for the Pioneer Athlete Spotlight today.
Corinne Jeandheur is a junior at Clayton Valley Charter High School. She runs on the CVCHS cross country team in the fall as well as competing on the track and field team in the spring. She also plays the piano and bakes in her free time. Jeandheur is a member of the CVCHS Engineering and Design Academy and concluded her sophomore year with a 4.33 GPA. She is serving as co-president of the California Scholarship Federation at Clayton Valley Charter this school year and continuing her academic and community involvement in the National Honor Society. She is very pleased to be writing the monthly Athlete Spotlight for the Pioneer.