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Senior Profile: Corona following in brother's footsteps
With two Sacramento Valley League titles already secured, Andy Corona wasn't quite ready to hang up his Pierce High uniform.
He put on the blue and gold, which served him so well during the first two seasons of the school year, when the Bears began the track and field season on Friday at the Roy Crabtree Pirate Classic in Wheatland.
For most of his high school career Corona focused on football and basketball, but joined the track team for the first time as a senior. He plans on doing the long jump, triple jump and running in the relay.
Corona is a two time all-Sacramento Valley League recipient in basketball and was the co-offensive MVP in football after rushing for 1,362 yards and scoring a total of 20 touchdowns. He was also named to the all-league football team as a junior.
"We won the SVL 10-0 for football and that was the best feeling ever, we lost semifinals of football but that was really a game that everybody here feels we should have won," Corona said.
The Bears lost by a hair's breadth 3-0 to Willows in the semifinals, a team they beat just a few weeks earlier. In basketball, Pierce went 10-2 and shared the league championship with Live Oak High before losing in the second round of the playoffs to Mt. Shasta.
"We got almost all of our goals completed so it was a successful year," Corona said.
After high school, Corona would like to go to a junior college and play basketball with fellow Pierce senior Oscar Dorantes.
The two began playing basketball together in 4th grade and have been a dominant tandem ever since. Both players moved up to varsity as sophomores and were all-league selections that season. Both earned all-league status again this season, averaging nearly 15 points each for the 18-7 Bears.
"Oscar, his dad and me have been together always since 4th grade until now. His dad would drive us to games and I've played with (Oscar) every year, every step of the way," Corona said.
For his efforts on the basketball court, Corona was invited to play in the Lions All-Star basketball game, his older brother Martin Corona played in the football and basketball all-star games when he graduated in 2006.
"The steps I'm following in are (Martin's) right now, I'm trying to be better than him and seeing where that leads me," Corona said.
His brother, Martin, holds most of the school's receiving records in football and helped the basketball team to a 23-5 record. Andy Corona played fullback instead of receiver and was an absolute workhorse late in the season when the team needed him the most, carrying the ball at least 25 times in four of the team's final five games.
Corona is from a large family - he has three brothers and two sisters - with deep roots in the area, so he takes pride in carrying on Pierce's traditions and success. A long list of cousins have been instrumental in fostering his competitive drive and giving him pointers along the way.
"That 2004 year when they went undefeated 12-0, that's kind of the goal we were aiming for. I had so many relatives on that team. Manuel Cano, he's my first cousin and, oh man, he is so tough, he's big role model," Corona said.
To prepare for the sort of punishment a fullback takes, Corona worked with assistant coach John Allen doing plyometric workouts to strengthen his ankles and hips.
"Going into it I knew that defenses were probably going to be keying on that hand-off a lot more because they didn't think we had anyone to pitch it to, so I knew that my fakes, the way I ran it, had a great deal to do with how our offense was run," he said.
The agility, flexibility and footwork he developed working with Allen helped him to make it through the entire football season and basketball season healthy.
"After working out with him I felt I was quicker off the first step, that will help me with the relay and then all the extra coordination that goes with plyometrics will help me do the steps right in long jump and triple jump," Corona said.
CONTACT Kirk Barron at 458-2121 or firstname.lastname@example.org.