Spring Sports Super Stars


Julian Jenkins and his mom, posing with the medal Julian won for winning the 2022 TCAL tennis championship.

Spring has been a wonderful season for Pinole Valley athletics with Softball and Boys Volleyball both having great seasons. Kailani Tatro and Jaheim Hill both won League MVP in their respective sports however, these haven’t been our only top athletes this season. Cornell Davis, Julian Jenkins, and Tyler Momono have all had outstanding seasons and have somehow managed to fly under everyone’s radar. All of these great athletes found a love for their sport at a young age and had plenty of support along the way, but the journeys they’ve traveled to get where they are are vastly different.

Cornell Davis began running track at the age of six and immediately fell in love. Throughout his entire career, Cornell has had the same coach in both club and high school track, that being Coach Sam Burns. Coach Burns has had a very significant impact on his life outside of track and over time their relationship has evolved and become something only a mentor and his student could understand, “He’s pushed me hard and he’s a really good coach… me and him are really close and got a good relationship going… It’s all love.” However, his coach hasn’t been his only motivator as his family has played a significant role in pushing him to the best of his ability. “Mainly it’s been my mom and my brother who have pushed me to fulfill my potential and race guys that are as fast or faster than me.” Above all Cornell puts his faith and his thanks in God, “I’m not doing any of this, it’s God’s work.” But his dream isn’t stopping here, after winning TCAL and guaranteeing himself a spot at state on May 27th (which is coincidentally his birthday) with a 10.62 100m Cornell is more than eager for the challenges ahead. His main goals as of right now are to run in college and succeed there the same way he is now but against the best of the best. Cornell told me he wants to be, “challenged throughout this whole track career till I die. Whether it be 100m trials or 100m finals, I wanna be challenged.”

Much like Cornell, Tyler Momono started playing at a very young which for him was eight. After starting with baseball and transitioning to golf at Tilden Park due to his grandfather, he’s been in love with the sport ever since. At the age of 10, he stopped playing baseball for golf and began competing in competitive tournaments Then at the ages of 11 and 12 he “became super serious about playing.” While his grandfather is the one who introduced him his mother and father are the ones who pushed him throughout his career. Another one of his biggest supporters is his Coach who has helped him with not only his technique but the mental side of golf as well. Tyler tells me when he was younger he, “used to get really made after I hit a bad shot,” and that his coach helped him with that mental aspect of the game. While winning TCAL this year and competing at NCS were significant achievements Tyler is looking to continue playing golf after high school with the hopes of making the San Diego State golf team after having prior dreams derailed due to prevalent battles with wrist injuries. Despite this, Tyler’s love for the sport will continue even after he’s done playing competitively as he tells me, “it’s something I’ll always do for fun.”

And last but most certainly not least, Julian Jenkins who after watching a Serena Williams game on television at the age of 10 has become the first TCAL champ in boys tennis in over a decade. Julian began playing tennis at the age of 10 in Berkeley after witnessing a Serena Williams match on television and telling his mom he’d like to give it a try. And while Serena may have inspired him initially, it is his mother who has continued to push him to the best of his ability. She enrolled him in the Berkeley Tennis Association and that is where he met his first Coach, Coach Greg. Julian tells me that he hasn’t been able to gauge his performance this season against previous ones as his freshman year was cut short due to COVID and while in his sophomore year he was able to practice and play scrimmage games there were no TCAL or NCS meets. However, this year things turned around. Julian went into TCAL with the #1 seed, won the whole tournament, and competed at NCS. He tells me his whole goal with tennis is to get a scholarship to help pay for college and on top of maintaining a 5.0 GPA and being an IB Diploma candidate, Julian has a great shot. And while Julian may not have been willing to give me all too much information about his personal life, his connection with his mother is evident. “After putting in 6-7 years of work it felt good to win. There was an official that gave me a medal and everything. I got to hug my mom and it was a nice feeling.”

These three student-athletes are incredible not only at their sports but demonstrate a great understanding of the importance of family and connection. After all, none of them seem to think they could’ve gotten where they are now if it weren’t for their family member pushing them along the way.