SPORTS athletes of the year

At left is Adam Martinez, wearing two CIF championship football rings, one of 25 male nominees for the Ken Hubbs Award. At right is San G's Ashley Alvarado, who won the inaugural Keith Hubbs Award last week at Grand Terrace High School.

Ashley Alvarado might be preparing to sweep the hallways or take over as principal at San Gorgonio High School.

Since it seems like she did everything in between, whether it was in a swim meet, water polo match, in the classroom or on the school’s yearbook. Alvarado capped a great senior year last week.

The graduating San G senior left Grand Terrace High School with the inaugural Keith Hubbs Award last week, a momentous occasion which has spotlighted Keith’s celebrated brother, Ken Hubbs, a former National League Rookie of the Year (1962).

“I really was (surprised),” said Alvarado, a two-sport athlete who managed a 4.81 grade point average in Advanced Placement classes. “It was a perfect way to end the school year. I grew a lot this year.”

It was Ken Hubbs’ all-around athletic skills that led to the formation of an annual honor in his name. He died in an airplane crash early in 1964, two seasons into his major league baseball career.

A handful of years later, the Ken Hubbs Award was established, a males-only award for a few decades that spotlighted athletes who played multiple sports.

In recent years, the Hubbs Committee has expanded the honor.

For openers, it allows for one male and one female nominee from each school. A separate female winner joined the cast over a decade earlier.

Upon the death of Keith Hubbs, who spearheaded his brother’s memory for several years, an honor directed at Keith was established.

San G’s senior, Alvarado, had her choice of University of California schools off her 4.81-grade point average -- either Berkeley or Santa Barbara, or even nearby Redlands. She selected UCSB.

The Keith Hubbs honor isn’t necessarily designated for standout athletes, but dependable and trustworthy students -- male or female -- that has overcome adversity, plus performs service to the community. Throw in excellence in the classroom.

“She saved the yearbook,” said San G yearbook advisor Megan Reade, who was facing deadlines for a publication with much more written work that previous years’ annuals.

Meanwhile, Jayden Daniels, the record-setting Cajon High School quarterback, won the Ken Hubbs Award.

His female counterpart was Alycia Flores, a hitting-and-pitching dynamo from Grand Terrace High.

Alvarado, during her acceptance speech, said she’s never been around such accomplished athletes at one time.

“I’ve never been around this much greatness,” she said. “There were some very accomplished athletes there.”

The highly-anticipated award ceremony is one of this area’s top honor for graduating seniors.

Aquinas’ nominees included Preston Bonadiman, the boys’ selection, and basketball’s Naya Alkhouri from the girls’ side.

Citrus Valley’s male nominee was baseball-football player Perry Amador II, the female honor going to volleyball’s Danielle Lilley.

San Gorgonio male nominee was Adam Martinez, a blocking lineman for the Spartans’ CIF and Regional championship football team who also wrestled.

Some of this area’s top senior athletes, male and female, from all sports, showed up as nominees.

It was hard to look past Daniels, who led Cajon to a division football championship game last season, losing to Chatsworth Sierra Canyon in the finals. He threw for 4,515 yards and 60 TDs on a 12-2 Cowboys’ squad. He also rushed for 1,586 yards, scoring 16 TDs.

Flores, meanwhile, hit .468 with 13 HRs for a 25-4-1 Lady Titans’ squad, who lost in the opening round of this year’s playoffs.

Alvarado was San Andreas League water polo MVP during her junior season, winning her way into this year’s CIF Division 4 swimming preliminaries in the 50-yard freestyle, unable to qualify for the finals with a 27.16 clocking. She added the 100-butterfly in her senior year, “just to try something new.”

She didn’t play club polo, which “was intimidating to me … since everyone I went up against came from club. I was never able to play.”

Throw in the fact that Alvarado played two-meter offense for the Lady Spartans, “which was hard for me. The girls around me are much bigger, much stronger.”

Out of the pool, school officials were dazzled by her willingness to fill in for the school’s yearbook, lending her writing and editing skills to finish off the annual publication by deadline.

It was, said Alvarado, “last-minute.”

“I was getting panicky,” said Reade, an Advanced Placement teacher who balances yearbook advisor as part of her duties. “Ashley came to see me, hoping to pursue creative writing.”

It was perfect timing, said Reade. “I didn’t save her. She saved me. I knew her skills as a writer.”

San G academic counselor Steve Barkley noted the extent Alvarado went in participating in after-school athletes.

“We don’t have a seventh period P.E. class,” he said. “When she left school early for a match or a meet, she was leaving a very important (A.P.) class.”

As for the Keith Hubbs honor, Alvarado stood before a vast array of athletes, coaches and administrators, most of whom only hope for such an award.

“I thanked my dad, my uncle and all of my coaches -- and I’ve had a few,” she said. “This was validation for a lot of things. Like I said, I had a great senior year.”

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