Male Athlete of the Year: Christian Pulusian

Balboa senior Christian Pulusian, Male Athlete of the Year. (Photo by Eric Soracco)

Balboa senior Christian Pulusian, Male Athlete of the Year. (Photo by Eric Soracco)

By Bonta Hill

When thinking about the best prep male athlete in San Francisco, names like University’s Noah Springwater, St. Ignatius’s Johnny Mrlik and Washington’s Jeremy Jetton pop up immediately.

Balboa senior Christian Pulusian walking off the field during the Bucs' game against Burton on Nov. 12. (Photo by AJ Canaria)

While those respective student athletes had excellent seasons for their schools, the impressive senior season of Balboa High School’s Christian Pulusian exceeded them all, as the three-sport star has earned the accolade of Male Athlete of the Year.

“It’s an honor, but I have to give thanks to the coaches [and] my teammates for everything,” Pulusian said. “We came up a little short in getting championships for Balboa, but it was a great year anyway.”

Although his numbers on the hardwood were modest, averaging seven points per game, Pulusian’s excellence on the football field and baseball diamond were more than memorable, forever keeping his name mentioned on the Cayuga Street campus.

In football, he was named the Academic Athletic Association Player of the Year and helped lead Balboa to its first Turkey Bowl appearance since 1984 2005.

Pulusian was as versatile as they come, playing running back, tight end, linebacker, safety and kick returner. Offensively, he amassed 206 yards rushing, 603 receiving yards and 594 return yards with 11 total touchdowns, showing his all-around talent.

On defense, Pulusian was all over the field, accumulating 139 tackles and three sacks from his numerous positions. In a league that gets little notice from college recruiters, Pulusian’s play was so noteworthy that the likes of Oregon State and Nevada were interested in him.

Balboa senior Christian Pulusian on second base during the AAA championship game against Washington on May 12 at AT&T Park. (Photo by Doug Ko)

“I’ve seen this kid grow and he has been nothing but a model student,” said Balboa football coach Alvaro Carvajal. “Although I felt he got slighted in terms of getting a scholarship [to a Division I school], he’ll be in good hands at the College of San Mateo and he’ll do good things there.”

Balboa endured a rough basketball season, missing out on the AAA playoffs. Although Pulusian had ordinary numbers on the basketball court, he was still awarded honorable mention on the All-AAA team for his defense and work ethic.

Balboa senior forward Christian Pulusian drives past a Piedmont defender in the Cardinal Classic on Dec. 9 at Lowell High School. (Photo by Devin Chen)

Pulusian finished his tenure at Balboa with an All-City performance in a baseball uniform. The center fielder was named first-team AAA and second-team All-City, batting .397 with three home runs and 15 RBIs.

In helping lead Balboa to its first baseball championship game appearance since 1992, Pontino heaped nothing but praise on Pulusian.

“[He’s] one of the finest young men I ever coached and he is going to be a leader in the future,” Pontino said. “On our team this season, he was supposed to be our No. 3, 4 hitter, but we needed a leadoff hitter in every way — power, speed, average — and he never complained about that. He told me, ‘Coach, whatever you need, I’ll do.’ I’m really going to miss the young man.”

The 3.8-GPA student is holding his head up high as he is attending the College of San Mateo to play football for one of the best programs in California.

“I feel everything happens for a reason, so I’m not dwelling on what didn’t happen, but I’m excited about being a Bulldog,” Pulusian said. “We grew at Balboa in my four years and I’ll always be a Buccaneer.”

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(Photo Illustration by Josh Jalil)

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8 Comments on " Male Athlete of the Year: Christian Pulusian"

  1. Congrats! This was well deserved!

  2. Alumni Ric | July 3, 2011 at 1:07 AM |

    He’s a true Buccaneer in every way. Well deserved Chris! I’m so proud of you.

  3. Brian Cabulagan | July 3, 2011 at 10:00 AM |

    I remember Christian I’U, when he was about 7-8 yrs old visiting down in So Cal attending his cousin’s Phil Vaifanua and buddy Corey’s High School football practices.Watching Christian running around,throwing the football full of energy,his natural RAW ability showed at an early age. And such a well mannered fun loving kid. Wow to see him flourish into a fine young man. I am proud to be associated with him even in a small way. Big things Will happen to Christian.God has the master plan for his bright future. All the Best to Him.

  4. Good stuff man..wish em the best

  5. Justa Fan | July 6, 2011 at 9:00 AM |

    Christian is a great kid. Congrats! Well deserved

  6. Levaleai Faleafine | July 7, 2011 at 11:16 AM |

    I’m so proud of my nephew. His parents have been so supportive of all he does with academic as well as sports. God be the glory that he has made it this far. Congrats I’u, I’m so very proud of you. Keep up the good because this is only the beginning for you. Go for the Gold. Love you.

  7. Best Homie | July 22, 2011 at 9:13 PM |

    Damn bro, hella proud of you!!!! Couldnt be happier! you know what it is! Love you bro!

  8. Sean Moler | August 1, 2011 at 3:53 PM |

    I had the pleasure of coaching Christian on the basketball court way back in his middle school days at Denman. One of the nicest and hard working kids a coach will ever come across – congrats Christian and good luck in college and beyond!

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