21 Jul 19
Santa Cruz Sentinel
It’s rare to see two athletes from the same school achieve the level of success that both Hunter Matys and Marcos Reyes accomplished at Aptos High this past year. Together, the Mariners quarterback and running back, respectively, led the football team to a Central Coast Section Open Division III championship and the school’s first CIF State Division 4-A appearance. Then they went their separate ways to stand out as some of the best athletes on the basketball court, wrestling mat, lacrosse field and track.
Their combined list of accolades has garnered both Matys and Reyes the 2019 Sentinel Co-Boys Athlete of the Year award.
Matys and Reyes shared a unique relationship this year on the gridiron. They both dominated the backfield for the Mariners, rushing a combined 2,630 yards for 41 rushing touchdowns during the 2018 season. They were two of just 12 seniors on a team that turned in one of the most historic seasons in Aptos history thanks, and it was in large part because of them.
Aptos quarterback Hunter Matys runs for a first down against Sacred Heart Prep on Saturday, December 1, 2018, during the CCS Open Division III championship. (Brandon Vallance — Special to the Sentinel)
Matys, who started at quarterback both his junior and senior seasons, threw for 880 yards with seven touchdowns, completing 61.4 percent of his passes this year.
Initially, the three-sport athlete said he only intended to play basketball in high school.
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“My friends and coaches talked me into playing (football) freshman year,” Matys said. “I initially didn’t like it and planned on quitting after sophomore year. However, seeing the camaraderie from the senior class made me push to keep playing.”
That decision paid off for the star athlete who was voted to this year’s All-Pacific Coast Athletic League Gabilan Division second team for football. In basketball, he was voted to the All-Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League first team.
The 6-foot-1 small forward averaged 8.4 points, 2.0 assists, 4.5 rebounds, 2.2 steals and a block per game. He led the Mariners to an 18-12 overall record and an 8-2 league record, good for second place, last winter. The team also reached the CCS D-III championship and competed in the CIF D-IV state tournament. His versatile play also earned him a spot in the Central Coast All-Star Basketball Game.
Matys, who will be running track next year at Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo, completed one of the most historic track seasons in school history his senior year. He broke the Aptos school record in the long jump (23 feet, 3.75 inches), 100-meter dash (10.78 seconds) and as part of the 4 x 100 relay (43.53). He also landed on the podium in the long jump at the CIF State Track and Field Championships, making him the only athlete from Santa Cruz County to place at the state meet this year. He placed sixth overall with a leap of 22-10 3/4.
Aptos senior Hunter Matys makes a long jump attempt at the CIF State Track and Field Championships at Veterans Memorial Field at Buchanan High in Clovis on Saturday, May 25, 2019.Jeff Kuehl/contributed
He took his academics just as far, posting a 3.907 GPA. Matys said it took discipline.
“Free time is doing homework, getting assignments in before sports intervene with school,” he said. “And making sure you are keeping your grades up.”
Reyes, who was named the Most Valuable Player of the PCAL-Gabilan Division after running 1815 yards this year with 32 touchdowns. However, his wrestling and lacrosse accomplishments are also quite impressive.
Reyes, whose father wrestled in high school, began grappling at the suggestion of Mariners football coach, Randy Blakenship. The wrestling program benefited greatly from his presence. Reyes won the SCAAL championship in the 180-pound weight class and finished third at CCS.
Aptos running back Marcos Reyes scores the game-winning touchdown against Sacred Heart Prep on Saturday, December 1, 2018, at Westmont High School in Campbell. (Brandon Vallance — Special to the Sentinel)
Though he participated in track and field during his first three years at Aptos, Reyes said it didn’t suit him.
“I enjoy playing for the team and playing at an elite level for others,” he said.
So, he was glad his friends convinced him to play lacrosse in his final season of high school. Reyes won 35 faceoffs and fielded six ground balls in lone season.
“I still didn’t learn how to catch the ball, but I liked to hit people,” he said. “It was a cool experience because there was one big team and the freshmen were showing me the way. I was a beginner and learning from freshmen (which) made it a lot of fun. I had lots of friends on the team and regret not playing earlier in high school.”
Reyes also gave extra effort in the classroom holding a 4.0 GPA throughout high school. He even decided to play football at Chapman University, where he will be a running back, over programs like San Diego State because of its academics.
He said what he enjoyed most about sports were the friendships.
“My teammates are my family, and I am going to miss them,” he said. ” I got you for life if I play sports with you. I will always remember my teammates grinding with me every day for four years and waking up at 5 a.m. for weightlifting and working all day.”
Rather than fight over the spotlight, Matys and Reyes were happy to share it with each other.
Marcos Reyes, the standout running back on the Aptos High football team, moves to control his opponent on the wrestling mat Wednesday.
Reyes said Matys is “the most competitive guy I know. He is a competitor and is fully committed and wants to improve himself and better the team and wants everyone to succeed, and he is one of the nicest guys I know outside of football.”
Matys said Reyes made him better.
“Marcos was always pressuring me,” he said. “He is one of the hardest workers in the weight room. He was truly dedicated, worked hard (and is) a great teammate and overall person.”
Together, they proved too much for opponents to handle.
Ricardo Alvarado, Watsonville, Sr.: After leading his team to a Pacific Coast Athletic League Gabilan Division championship and the Central Coast Section Open Division semifinals, the soccer star was voted first-team all-league. The 5-foot-10 defender scored three goals this season and also led the Wildcatz to the CIF NorCal Division II championship, where they lost 2-1 to Marin Academy. Alvarado was also a phenomenal track and field athlete who won two triple jump events this year. He also finished sixth in the triple jump and seventh in long jump at the PCAL Mission Championship.
Chris Anderson, San Lorenzo Valley, Sr.: SLV’s Athlete of the Year ran cross country and track throughout his four years in high school. Tthe top-ranked runner in D-IV at CCS, according to athletic.net, won three straight SCCAL titles on the 2.93-mile Pinto Lake Park course, his best in 15 minutes, 34 seconds. After finishing second in the CCS championship for the 3,200 meter race this season, Anderson reached the CIF State Track and Field Championships in Clovis in the 3,200 meters, taking 15th with a 9:19.00 time.
Robert Bishop III, Santa Cruz, Sr.: The SCCAL basketball co-MVP averaged 17.8 points and eight rebounds per game for the Cardinals (21-9, 9-3). The 6-foot-3 small forward helped propel the Cardinals to an SCCAL title before losing to Carmel in the CCS D-IV Championship.
Brendan Bobo, Harbor, Jr.: The three-sport athlete rushed for 145 yards on 38 carriers and recorded 15 receptions for 366 yards with one touchdown for the Pirates’ football team. On the other side of the field, the 6-foot-3 athlete recorded 27 solo tackles and 64 tackles overall on the season. He also earned SCCAL honorable mention honors for basketball and was voted to the SCCAL first-team for his successful baseball season.
Chris Cabuag, Monte Vista Christian, So.: Caubag proved he is one of the top wrestlers in the state this year by claiming a CCS championship and nearly becoming the Mustangs’ first state champion. Cabuag competed at 113 pounds this year and was virtually unbeatable posting a 42-7 record and finishing in sixth place at state with a 4-3 record.
Glenallen Hill Jr., Santa Cruz, Sr.: Though he committed to play baseball at Arizona State University prior to his junior season, the career of the player better known as GJ will be taking a different path — he was drafted by the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fourth round of the 2019 MLB Draft. Hill led Santa Cruz to an undefeated league record and an invitation to CCS’s Open Division playoffs. He earned first-team all-SCCAL honors after batting .435 (27 for 88) with six doubles, three home runs, 13 RBIs and 23 runs scored. His season was a little limited due to a hamstring injury, but he still managed to have a 1.258 on-base-plus-slugging percentage and steal 12 bases.
Jared Kruse, Harbor, Sr.: One of Santa Cruz County’s most versatile athletes played three positions for the football team and was the captain of the basketball team. The mobile quarterback excelled for the Pirates by throwing for 327 yards and two touchdowns and running for 522 yards with six touchdowns. Kruse also played middle linebacker, recording 45 tackles, 2.5 sacks, three interceptions, and one forced fumble. There were no breaks for the 6-foot-5 athlete as he was also the Pirates’ punter, averaging 36.9 yards per punt and placing two punts inside the 20-yard line. He was also the captain of the basketball team and voted to the SCCAL second-team after leading his team to an 8-17 record overall and a 3-7 record in league.
Christian Quintero, Pajaro Valley, Jr.: The PCAL Cypress Division basketball MVP took Pajaro Valley to its first CCS quarterfinals berth in school history after leading the Grizzlies to a second-place finish in league. Quintero averaged 24.7 points, 6.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.7 steals per game as well as being second in scoring in CCS. Quintero also managed to be a star for the volleyball team despite have little experience. He ranked second in kills and blocks for a team that was a finalist in the PCAL Mission Division and was named to the league’s sportsmanship team.
Andrew Seymour, St. Francis, Sr.: The three-sport athlete helped the Sharks excel in football, basketball and golf this year. The future Linfield College star was named a first-team All-State Defensive Back after running for 579 yards on 66 carriers and recording eight touchdowns. He also had six receptions with two touchdowns. Seymour excelled on the basketball court as well, earning a first-team All-PCAL-Mission nod after leading the Sharks to the CCS D-V semifinals. The golf coaches also voted Seymour to the All-PCAL Cypress Division first team.