One month ago the Hayward and surrounding communities were devastated by the death of a 17 year old promising multi sport athlete Sam Nava 3rd. He was in line to graduate from Hayward High School this month in front of his friends and family, unfortunately attending his funeral instead. He played varsity baseball for his school and AAU varsity basketball for his church parish with some of his elementary and middle schoolmates from St. Clement School of Hayward coached by Larry Salas. "Participating in local tournaments over the past few months and developing a very close family team had us looking towards the future". Our St. Clements team was signed up and looking forward to playing in the AAU Reno memorial day tournament, "Jam On It" at the Reno/Sparks convention center. Its a very impressive venue with top talent from California, Nevada and Idaho.
"The devastating loss of our beloved team mate and friend has made time stop for all of us, with a very difficult grieving period that will never end". I had literally forgotten about the tournament, my son Larry Jr (Moreau Catholic) approached me and said, "Dad, I talked to the team and we are going to win the Reno tournament for Sam". With the very noble gesture and heavy hearts our team played with the intensity that Sam has given the team over and over again, we defeated Redding United (62-50), Valley Vipers (70-62), Ujima Jaguars (75-50) in a very physical game sending Joaquin Rabelo (Moreau Catholic) to the hospital with 6 stitches, we advanced to the championship game against the Siskiyou Slam. Roy Nelson (Leadership/Moreau Catholic) led the scoring with 19pts and 2 monster slam dunks, Treshawn Soriano (Lincoln High) hit an NBA 3 pointer with 6 seconds left to send the game into the 1st OT, Lenny Nieto (Cal High) hit a difficult 12 ft jump shot from the side in the 2nd (sudden death) OT to win (63-61) and the Varsity Boys AAU tournament Championship. It was a total team effort, very exciting, blood, sweat and tears were given by everyone. The love and respect we all have for Sam was very heartwarming and emotional in a moment of pure exhilaration and joy, emotions that we will all carry with us for the rest of our lives, Rest in paradise Sam Nava the 3rd we love you !
Your Coach and friend
We miss you Sam