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Journal’s male prep athlete of 2016-17: David Cormier

We’ve been fawning over his gifts for months.

Now, as David Cormier shuffles out of this little corner of the world and readies for a move north, a higher form of admiration becomes part of the menu.

To that end, the testimonies of the men who worked most closely with Cormier make it almost seem like he’d hardly ever worn a uniform at all.

“David,” Volcano Vista football coach Chad Wallin said, “is just the most humble and self-aware kid I’ve ever been around.”

“The best combination of student, athlete and person that you could ever ask for,” Hawks boys basketball coach Greg Brown said.

“He is this big, strong, athletic, talented young man,” Volcano Vista track coach Shane Cleveland said, “who also is the most down to earth, kind, sweet, lovable young man.”

The 6-foot-3 Cormier, a future Air Force Academy cadet and Falcons football player — and possibly the state’s most gifted three-sport athlete — is today named by the Journal as its 2016-17 boys Metro Athlete of the Year.

“You dream of … being the guy everyone looks up to,” the always-amiable Cormier said after he authored a banner senior year.

He was a first-team All-State selection at wide receiver for the Hawks football team. He didn’t even play football as a freshman at Volcano Vista as he focused on basketball.

“He comes out as a sophomore,” Wallin said. “He’s 6-1, his first JV game … he’s the best athlete on the field.”

He was a first-team All-State selection as a forward for Volcano Vista’s state championship basketball team.

“He’s one of a kind,” Brown said. “Here’s an example: He has a single focus about his work, and he uses that to his advantage. For instance, when it’s football season, he doesn’t touch a basketball.”

Of course, the story has been told several times, about how Cormier was going to skip basketball to concentrate on football at Air Force.

Had he sat out the basketball season, Volcano Vista probably would have had a hard time qualifying for the playoffs, let alone winning a blue trophy.

In track, Cormier also leaves as a state champion. He ran on Volcano Vista’s 4×100-meter championship relay team and also excelled as a sprinter, a long jumper and triple jumper.

“The second time he jumped (the triple), he qualified for state,” an admiring Cleveland said. “The third time, he broke the school record. He didn’t come out to run, he came out to jump.”

Cormier doesn’t need reminding. He joined track before his junior season, largely at the urging of Wallin.

“His talents are super wide and well known, but he wanted to know what he needed to do to get better at football,” Wallin said. “I said, ‘Run track.’ ”

“I thought track was awful,” Cormier said. He laughed.

Today? “Track was one of the best decisions I made,” he said. He is, he added, noticeably faster than he was two years ago.

Of course, getting from A to B was rather simple. When the Hawk coaches noticed Cormier’s explosiveness down the runway, they were quick to connect the dots, and it wasn’t long before he was sprinting. This year, he qualified for state in the 100, long jump and triple jump, and ran a leg on two sprint relays.

On the hardwood, Cormier averaged 17 points and eight rebounds during the Hawks’ amazing run to a title in March. He was clearly the best player in the building that week.

But it’s football in which Cormier has set his sights. Coming off a 59-catch, 878-yard, 12-touchdown season last fall, Cormier signed with Air Force. His grandfather served in the military.

“I did want to be in the military,” said Cormier, who also visited Navy. “I think it’s cool to serve for something bigger than yourself, doing something for others. And it will set me up for the rest of my life, to go wherever I want and do whatever I want.”

Cormier said he’ll be part of the AFA’s prep team next fall, which will play some games, including one against New Mexico Military Institute. The Falcons just graduated a terrific receiver, Jalen Robinette.

“My hope,” Cormier said, “is to replace him.”

That Cormier plays much taller than his height surely will be a luxury for Air Force like it was for Volcano Vista and Hawks quarterback Dillon Gassoway.

Gassoway, as others before him, spotlighted what made Cormier a special teammate.

“He’d do anything for you,” said Gassoway, who next will play for New Mexico Highlands. “Same goes for the football field, too.”

Cormier already is looking forward to a couple of visits to Albuquerque during his Falcons career.

On Wednesday of this week, he was asked about his summer itinerary. Training mostly, he said. But clearly, he is cognizant of what awaits him.

“A month and 23 days,” Cormier said.

“Then I leave.”


About David

Age: 18

School: Volcano Vista

Birthplace: Albuquerque

Mother: Angie Cormier

College choice: Air Force

Personal background: Cormier, who has lived with his grandparents for many years, was raised by a single mother; his father was not part of his upbringing.

But his mother is one of his most ardent, and vocal, supporters.

“She always takes off for my games,” he said. “You can hear her screaming. I can always hear her voice.”

Going solo: Cormier says he prefers to work out alone, and when he’s in season, especially football or basketball, he doesn’t multi-task with workouts in more than one sport.

“I’ve always been independent,” he said.

What REALLY changed his mind? He had said in October that he wouldn’t play basketball for the Hawks. Many people, he said, thought Volcano coach Greg Brown turned him. Not true.

On Nov. 22, Cormier was inside the Atrisco Heritage gym, watching Volcano Vista play its season opener. A game the Hawks lost big.

“I was like, ‘Wow,’ ” he said. “I felt like I needed to be out there.”

Little-known fact: Cormier was into martial arts as a very young boy.

“I was the karate kid when I was little,” he said.

 

Volcano Vista High School’s David Cormier, left, poses with Cleveland High School’s Amanda Mayoral, the Journal’s pick for female metro-area athlete of the year in 2016-17, at John Robert Dam on Wednesday May 24, 2017. (Adolphe Pierre-Louis/Journal)

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