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By Jeff Pack
Staff Writer 

Calhoun named FUHS male athlete of the year by HSSA


Last updated 5/21/2020 at 6:04am

Joel Calhoun was named High School Sports Association's male Athlete of the Year at Fallbrook Union High School for the 2019-2020 school year, according to Fallbrook High athletic director, Patrick Walker.

The four-year varsity letterman in basketball and baseball recently led his team to the semifinals in the CIF Division 5 Boys Basketball playoffs and had a promising senior season in baseball cut short by the coronavirus pandemic and school closures.

Calhoun said academics were always important to him and his family.

"It definitely started with my parents," he said. "They laid the groundwork for pretty much all of my academic success. They always made sure I was on top of my assignments growing up. And, you know, elementary school is not hard, but without some proper guidance, kids can always go the wrong way.

"My parents were always super involved in my education starting out," he said. "And then in the later years that kind of just translated to me doing everything myself. In the young stages is where I'm thankful for what my parents did for me. With that mindset, I got to do it on my own later on."

Calhoun said having discipline with his schoolwork helped him athletically.

"I think it did tie into the athletic career because in the classroom it translates almost exactly," he said. "You pretty much just do what the teacher asks you, you follow the directions and you should be all right. That's pretty much what it is in the sports world too. You listen to your coach and you do what he or she says and you should be all right, good to go. I think the classroom-like procedure, it does tie in with the sports a little bit."

During his four years at Fallbrook High, Calhoun played one year of football.

"I did football my freshman year too, just for fun," Calhoun said. "The guys were just awesome. It was a really fun year. We didn't do too well, but I still talk about it with those guys and it's hilarious. I definitely don't regret it."

He also played four years of varsity baseball, well, almost. The season, as we all know, was cut short due to the coronavirus outbreak.

"It is really difficult, especially for those guys who are full baseball," Calhoun said. "I had my basketball fun in December, so I have that to look back on. But basketball is my No. 1 sport. For those guys who have baseball as their No. 1 sport and they train 10, 11 months out of the year for it, to have it just canceled. It's definitely sad for them because I know some of them really needed it to get recruited this year."

He said the team was expected to make a deep run into the playoffs this season.

"We were expecting it to be a pretty good year," Calhoun said. "Myself, Zach Allegro, Joel French, we were the three guys from basketball. We came (to baseball) I think two games late, so we were right around .500 before this whole virus canceled everything. But this was supposed to be our deep run year."

He said he stepped right onto the field as a freshman, playing first base that first year. He said he enjoyed learning from the older players on the team and bonding with his coaches, Walker, Camacho and Baker.

"Baseball was really fun and it wasn't always perfect, but they took six freshmen under their wing when they didn't really have to either," Calhoun said. "And we made four good years out of that."

Of course, he thanked his basketball coach, Ryan Smith.

"Ryan Smith for sure," Calhoun said. "Basketball was really never easy until senior year and we both had to just get through those hard times before senior year."

He also praised some of the teachers that helped him throughout his four years.

"Teachers like (Kathy) Beal," Calhoun said. "I think Ms. Beale was one of the highlights of my senior year. She was one of the very few teachers that really excelled with kids. And I'm glad I got her before she retired. She was really special to me. She really put in the extra effort that a lot of these coaches do in the classroom.

"Actually, our principals were really cool this year. (Steve) Martinez and (Dr. Narciso) Iglesias, they were always really fun," he said. "They would always ask me about sports. Martinez would go to away games. Guys like that, the faculty really stepped up this year and made an effort to really make the kids feel like this is a special year for us."

Jeff Pack can be reached by email at [email protected]


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