Pelham High star Jake Vaiknoras belongs to two clubs which may be more exclusive than Augusta National.
One is the three-sport Eagle-Tribune All-Star club. And that’s three very different sports (golf, basketball, baseball).
That club is a rarity.
But Vaiknoras is a member of an even more exclusive club. He’s a three-sport captain as a junior.
He’s likely the first athlete in area history to achieve both of those milestones simultaneously.
His father, Joe Vaiknoras, is the Pythons’ golf coach and speaks admiringly of his son, the male winner of the Max Bishop Award as the top three-sport athlete among the 23 schools in the Eagle-Tribune circulation area.
“I’ve seen him play in a summer basketball league and he’ll take 5-6 charges,” said Joe. “It’s that type of leadership by example. He was always the kid the other boys looked up to.”
Except when he looked up to the other boys. Like when he was 5 years old hanging around his oldest brother Joey (PHS ‘03) at baseball practice.
“He was taking ground balls with the high school baseball team,” said his father. “I knew he was something special when he was very young.”
Father knew best. This year Jake led the Pythons to a 22-0 regular season in golf and fired a 79-78—157 to finish second at Division 3 States. He averaged 16.1 points a game in basketball, which was eighth highest in the area. This spring he batted .365 and was 15 of 16 on steals and scored 17 runs.
“He competes and wins at everything he does,” said baseball coach Billy Beauchesne.
Competition and winning are the two elements of sports closest to Vaiknoras’ heart.
“It’s just my will to win,” said Jake. “If I’m going to make a two-hour trip to Keene, I might as well go all out. I can’t stand when people don’t give the effort.”