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Senior Spotlight: Rojas-Mendoza excelled as four-sport varsity athlete at Calistoga
Senior Spotlight

Senior Spotlight: Rojas-Mendoza excelled as four-sport varsity athlete at Calistoga

From the Senior Spotlight: A celebration of Napa County student athletes series

With the cancellation of the spring season for high school sports, the Napa Valley Register will recognize senior athletes over the next few months who have had their careers come to a premature end due to the coronavirus pandemic. Today we focus on Calistoga High’s Jesus Rojas-Mendoza, a four-sport standout for the Wildcats. Over his prep career, no sport has been too difficult for Rojas-Mendoza to master.

Sports: Soccer, football, basketball and baseball.

Years on varsity: All four years in each sport.

By the numbers: Multiple-time all-league and all-county selection in every sport. As a senior, was an honorable mention selection to the North Central League II football all-defensive team; was a first-team selection to the NCL IV all-league basketball team; and was a finalist for Napa County boys basketball offensive player of the year.

What was your reaction to the spring season being canceled?

I was really upset and sad because it was my last year playing for Calistoga.

What had you hoped to accomplish in your sport this spring?

My hope was to bring a championship back to Calistoga for baseball because there hasn’t been one in a while. I felt this year we had a chance to win one but it didn’t happen. I also wanted to make more memories with my friends and teammates.

How has coronavirus changed your life?

The coronavirus has really change my life because it has shown me that you have to enjoy every second of your life. Also staying home is not the best to do school work. It’s harder than doing work at school because at school we have teachers that can help us and not at home.

Have you picked up any new hobbies during quarantine?

I picked two hobbies: fishing and hiking. I’m finding out how much hiking and and fishing relieves stress.

Best memory from high school sports?

My best memory from high school is winning two league championships for soccer and one for basketball. Man, there are so many more memories, but what I can say is enjoy your high school career as much as you can and play all the sports in high school. It’s worth it.

What you miss most about sports?

What I miss about sports is the bond that you have with your teammates. I also miss all the hours that my brothers and I put into training. Really, there’s a lot I miss about sports. I could write a book about all the things you’re going to miss about sports when you going to graduate from high school.

Summer plans:

My summer plans is to keep training for baseball because I’m gonna go to try out for the Sacramento State team when the pandemic stops. I’m also going to be working at the community pools and at Indian Springs Resort.

Fall plans:

I plan on attending Sacramento State where I will study construction management.

Coach Earl Dunckel says:

He’s so personally motivated. He’s the guys out there that you don’t have to tell to go run. He’s the guy there asking to take more reps on something. He’s really personally invested in improving himself and his skills. That’s a coach’s dream. I really think the main job of a coach is to motivate people and it’s really nice to have a guy or two on your team that you don’t have to do that with and Jesus is definitely that guy. He drives other players as well. When you get a leader like Jesus to buy in, it makes it easier for the other guys on the team.

I called him “The Baby Bull” because he’s so fiercely determined. If anything I had to temper him sometimes because he’s just so gung-ho but that’s a great problem for a coach to have. And the other thing is he’s always got a smile on his face. He has a great sense of humor. In the dugout he keeps things light and it’s a great combination to have a guy like that, who has that kind of attitude in the dugout and that kind of fierce competitiveness on the field.

Contact Gus via phone at 707-304-9372 or email at gmorris@napanews.com. Follow him on Twitter @JustGusMorris.

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Sports Reporter

Gus Morris covers St. Helena and Calistoga sports for the Napa Valley Register. Before joining the Register in 2018, he covered collegiate sports for the student publication at the University of Oregon.

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