Senior Thomas Carrillo has been named Central Valley High School’s top male athlete.
Unable to be recognized on campus at the annual awards banquet due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Carrillo picked up the 2020 Golden Hawk Award from the front office on May 6.
“I feel really happy,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting to win. It’s one of the best honors I’ve gotten. It’s a result of the four years of hard work I put in. My parents (Thomas Sr. and Michele) helped me a lot. They encouraged me to do sports and emphasized grades come first.”
Carrillo’s name will be displayed on a banner inside Central Valley’s gymnasium, along with previous winners Ryan Palecek (2019), Estevan Barragan (2018), Oso Fregoso (2017), Moses Ghiorso (2016), Jaron Dickson (2015), Ja’Quan Gardner (2014), Abraham Navarro (2013), Daniel Ochoa (2012), Tyree Jones (2011), Vince Lopez (2010), Trevor Mew (2009) and Mike Tubera (2008).
When Carrillo found out he won the Golden Hawk Award, the first person he texted was Palecek.
Carrillo and Palecek wrestled and played football together at Central Valley for a combined three seasons.
They’re also best friends.
“I sent him a picture of me with the award and said we did it,” Carrillo stated. “It means a lot. I wanted to get my name up there on the banner with him. I had to work hard to achieve that goal.”
Carrillo earned nine varsity letters during his prep athletic career, including four in golf, three in wrestling and two in football.
“I had fun doing every sport,” he said. “I really liked all of the coaches. They were always there for me whenever I needed anything. They pushed me to do better. They always had my back.”Thomas Carrillo
“I had fun doing every sport,” he said. “I really liked all of the coaches. They (Scott Edwards, Rob Beckhart and Jesse Vazquez) were always there for me whenever I needed anything. They pushed me to do better. They always had my back.”
“I’m satisfied with how I did as an individual,” Carrillo added. “I always put pressure on myself to do better. I always wanted to do well for my teams.”
Carrillo secured an individual berth to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Golf Tournament his sophomore year.
He also garnered second-team all-Western Athletic Conference accolades.
Carrillo’s final year with Central Valley’s wrestling program was his best.
The 195-pound grappler advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament.
Carrillo claimed an eighth-place medal at the Division-III championships.
He also medaled at the Central California Conference (third), Mike Tamana (third) and Ceres (second) tourneys.
“I enjoyed the season,” Carrillo said. “It was memorable.”
Carrillo anchored the Central Valley football team’s offensive line this past fall.
He earned second-team all-CCC honors for his outstanding play.
Carrillo was an honorable-mention pick as a junior.
He collected 32 tackles and one sack at defensive tackle.
“Football was my favorite sport,” he said. “All my teams were really close. I made some bonds that I’m really grateful for.”
Carrillo also excelled in the classroom. He currently has a cumulative grade-point average of 4.1.
He was named a salutatorian for Central Valley’s graduation.
“It’s tough to keep up your grades but you have to stay on top of everything,” he said. “Sports helped me. It created a set schedule for when I had to do my work.”
Carrillo will attend Long Beach State this fall.
He’ll major in microbiology.
“Knowing that chapter is over, it’s pretty saddening,” said Carrillo, who will focus on academics in college. “I might do some club sports.”