April 08, 2005

Princeton-bound Hernandez also uses his Smarts on the Court

By John Philip Wyllie

Growing up in the Futbol-mad environment south of the border Javier Hernandez spent most of his early youth on the fields of Tijuana kicking a soccer ball. It wasn’t until later that he discovered volleyball and that probably would have never happened had he not attended Tijuana’s Escuela Publica 44.

“When I was in middle school, volleyball was the only thing that we played at lunchtime and before and after school. If you attended school there you couldn’t help but learn how to play, at least you would know the basics,” Hern-andez said.

When his family crossed the border two years ago, Hernandez, despite having some reservations about his lack of height, tried out for Bonita Vista High School’s volleyball team. His skills were good enough to overcome that disadvantage and he made the varsity squad as a sophomore. Now a senior and the captain of the 3-1 Barons, Hernandez is hoping to lead his team to a Mesa League championship and into the CIF San Diego Section playoffs. It won’t be easy with Eastlake the two-time defending league champions looking as solid as ever.

“Javier is one of just two seniors on our team and he has proven since day one to be a leader on the court,” said Baron first year coach, Dan Neiman. “He has demonstrated a lot of maturity and he takes a lot of responsibility for his own actions and for those of his teammates.”

Hernandez, an outside hitter, forms the nucleus of the team along with setter, Timothy Lee and middle blocker, William Turner. Other frequent starters include Chris Clabby, Daniel Aguilar and Joshua Murray. With most of the team well under six feet, the Barons could run into trouble when they face some of the area’s taller teams. But what they lack in height, they hope to make up for with skill and hustle.

That skill and hustle was exhibited on Wednesday when the Barons held on to edge South Bay rival Castle Park in five games 25-20, 20-25, 26-24, 24-26 and 18-16. Hernandez and Clabby led the offense with nine kills apiece and Lee had 37 assists.

High school athletics can be very time-consuming, but Hernandez has proven to be a master at budgeting his time. His stratospheric 4.5 G.P.A puts him near the top of a very competitive graduating class, one that will send students to Harvard, Yale, Columbia and of course his soon to be new home, Princeton.

Hernandez claims that school has always been easy for him. He has a simple secret for success.

“You can’t worry about what is going to happen next year or next month. You just have to get your priorities set and focus on what you have to do today. I just take one day at a time.”

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