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Ray Green had a monster senior year for Ceres High's track and field team. Central Valley's baseball team played the role of spoiler to perfection against playoff-hopeful Ceres High. Former Bulldog Mikal Sandberg returned to coaching his alma mater after a New Year's morning stabbing left him partially paralyzed.

Those were just three of the top sports stories of 2007. In today's Courier, we present the complete list.

Peak Performers

1. Ray Green brought home a medal from the CIF State Track and Field Championships after taking fourth in the long jump (46-10). Green shattered his own school record when he soared 49 feet, one-half inch en route to a first-place finish at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet. Ray took first at the Division III and Valley Oak League competitions as well. A standout hurdler, Green ran the 300 in a school-record 39.67 seconds at the Masters Trials. He placed first in the 110 hurdles at the league championships.

2. Latrisha Jordan's first season of running for the Central Valley High School's track and field team was memorable. She became the Hawks' first-ever Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet champion when she won the 300-meter hurdles as a junior in a school-record time of 44.64 seconds. Jordan's effort earned her a berth in the CIF State Meet, where she placed 19th in a field of 29 in the trials. Latrisha also claimed Valley Oak League titles in the 300 hurdles, 100 hurdles, 200 and 100.

3. In just her second year of competition, Kristen McClure blossomed into the all-time greatest thrower in the Ceres High girls track and field program's history. She qualified for state with a school-record toss of 41 feet, 5 inches in the shot put at the section meet, which was good enough for runner-up honors. Kristen placed first in the shot and fourth in the discus at the Division III championships. She was the VOL champ in both events as well.

4. A year after suffering a devastating loss in the finals of the Valley Oak League girls tennis singles tournament, Ceres High's McKenzy Harden rebounded with an undefeated sophomore campaign. She won all 32 of her conference matches en route to earning VOL Most Valuable Player honors. Harden posted a 34-2 overall record on the year, losing twice in the playoffs to section champion Ariel Lewis of Vanden.

5. Ceres High graduate Krystle Brown accepted a partial scholarship to continue her basketball career and education at San Francisco State University. The 6-foot-tall center had a phenomenal career at Modesto Junior College. Prior to her arrival, the Pirates went 28-93 in a six-year plan. Modesto JC won 37 times with Brown in the lineup. She averaged 11.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.8 blocks per game. The two-time all-Central Valley Conference selection was even better in league (13.0 ppg, 8.0 rpg, 2.8 bpg). Krystle amassed a school-record 68 blocks during her sophomore campaign.

6. Ceres High slugger Robert Cope claimed the Valley Oak League's Offensive Player of the Year Award in baseball. The sophomore catcher was the main reason the Bulldogs contended for a playoff berth. He ranked first in the conference in batting average (.559), home runs (3), slugging percentage (1.000) and on-base percentage (.659). He also ranked second in RBIs (18) and triples (2), third in runs (17) and fifth in doubles (2).

7. Central Valley High School's Eddie Villa won two of three matches on his way to a second-place finish in the light bantamweight division at the 2007 USA Boxing Junior Olympic National Championships. The 114-pounder represented Bad to the Bonz Boxing Club, which was co-founded by Ceres' Joey Garcia.

Best Team Effort

1. Ceres High grads Omaira Estremera, Meghan Franksen and Jennifer Arnold played significant roles in leading the Cal State Stanislaus softball team to its first-ever NCAA Division II World Series appearance, West Region title and 50-win season.

2. Led by Luis Ochoa, Jose Magana, Mike Hundal, Rodrigo Cortes, Tony Casal, Calvin Kong and Aaron Salazar, the Ceres High boys tennis team finished second in the Valley Oak League standings with a 12-2 record, losing to the undefeated Manteca Buffaloes twice. The Bulldogs, who were coached by Brian de la Porte, secured their first postseason berth since 1991. Ceres upset Metropolitan Conference champion McClatchy 5-4 on the road in the opening round of Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Team Playoffs.

3. The Central Valley High School boys soccer team stayed focused on the task at hand after forfeiting its first three conference games for inadvertently using an ineligible player. Under first-year coach Omar Leon's direction, the Hawks secured a playoff berth in just their second year of existence thanks to a nine-game unbeaten streak. Central Valley placed third in the Valley Oak League.

4. The Ceres High wrestling program posted its first winning record since 2001. The Bulldogs placed fourth in the Valley Oak League at 4-3. Ceres had five grapplers qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV tournament, including Zach Van Wagoner, Steven Chavez, Jacob Lopez, William Horton and Tony Chavez. Van Wagoner and Steven Chavez took first at 160 and 171 pounds, respectively, at the conference championships. Lopez (130), Horton (145) and Tony Chavez (152) finished in second place.

5. Ceres High's girls tennis team qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II playoffs. The Bulldogs managed to place second in the VOL standings (11-3) despite being hit hard by graduation. Ceres was led by McKenzy Harden, Logan Harden, Angie Prak, Tiffany Ornells, Sydney Featherstone, Natalie Flores and Christina Villavong.

6. The Ceres High softball program secured its 21st straight postseason berth under first-year head coach Donnie Donaldson's leadership. The third-seeded Bulldogs (14-9-2) stunned Capital Valley League champion Foothill 4-0 in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Playoffs at Stockton's Arnaiz Stadium. Valley Oak League Pitcher of the Year Kristen Ghimenti tossed a three-hitter with six strikeouts and no walks in seven innings. She received a scholarship from Bethany University.

7. Ceres High's girls basketball team, led by Kristen McClure and Heather Jones, advanced to the playoffs for the 14th straight season under coach Shawna Nunes' guidance. The Bulldogs (18-9) won their final four regular season games and earned the No. 14 seed.

8. It didn't take long for the Ceres Seahawks youth football program to make a name for itself in the Cen-Cal league. Two of its four teams had productive first seasons. The varsity squad claimed the NFC regular season title, fell one victory shy of the Super Bowl and finished the year with a 10-5 record. The rookie team went undefeated (11-0) during the regular season and finished in second place (1-1) at the National Youth Football American Division Championships in Las Vegas.

Most Memorable Games

1. The unexpected happened when Central Valley High School's baseball team rallied for a 3-2 upset victory over crosstown rival and visiting Ceres High School in the Valley Oak League season finale for both programs. The heavily-favored Bulldogs needed to win to secure a playoff berth. Hawk pitcher Martin Gomez turned in his finest performance of the season, striking out nine batters and allowing just four hits over seven innings. The stunning victory came less than 48 hours after the Bulldogs defeated the Hawks by the 10-run slaughter rule (14-4) at Art McRae Field.

2. Ceres High beat crosstown rival Central Valley twice in volleyball in 2006. The Hawks rallied from a two games to none deficit to defeat the Bulldogs 3-2 (23-25, 19-25, 25-19, 25-19, 15-13) in the first meeting between the two programs in 2007 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium. The victory sparked a wild celebration as Central Valley earned its first-ever league victory in its two-year history, snapping a 19-match losing streak. Sophomore all-league honoree Kaela Causey had nine kills, five digs and four aces for the Hawks.

3. The second-ever meeting between Central Valley's and Ceres High's football programs went down to the wire. The Hawks avoided the upset by posting a thrilling 25-20 victory over the Bulldogs. Senior all-purpose player Gerald Garcia returned the opening kickoff 95 yards for a score, caught a 9-yard touchdown pass from Trevor Mew and broke up a potential TD in the end zone. Ceres was led by linebacker/running back Hadon Lopez, who put off surgery on his fractured right pinkie to play in the Ceres Classic. The freshman phenom tallied two touchdowns. His 24-yard interception return knotted the score at 7-all early in the second quarter. His 6-yard TD scamper brought the Bulldogs within five points midway through the fourth quarter. He also accumulated a season-high 17 tackles.

Other notable stories

1. Ceres High varsity head football coach Brett Johnson spent part of his summer assisting with the construction of a worship center during a goodwill mission trip in South Africa. The facility was built in the township of Soshanguve, where low-income families live in 100- to 150-square foot shacks.

2. Mikal Sanderg, a 2003 Ceres High graduate, heard his car alarm go off and went out to the front of his house with his girlfriend to investigate early New Year's morning. They were confronted by alleged gang members who had been partying next door and began fighting in Sandberg's driveway. A man from the group struck Sandberg's girlfriend in the head, causing her to lose consciousness. When Mikal rushed to her aid, he was attacked by six to seven guys and knocked to the ground. Then someone, who has yet to be identified, stabbed him with a butcher-knife. Sandberg was rushed to Doctors Medical Center, where he stayed for 10 days. The attack left him partially paralyzed from the waist down. He eventually gained feeling back in his lower extremities except for part of his right leg, ankle and foot. Confined to a motorized wheelchair, Sandberg served as an assistant coach for the Bulldogs' JV baseball team for the second season.

3. Former Ceres High wrestling coach Frank Cheek was honored before the finals of the 42nd annual Ceres Invitational at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium. The ceremony was designed to pay homage to the man who guided the Bulldogs to three section titles in a five-year span (1967-69). Cheek was joined by his wife Mary Joe and their daughter and grandson. Twelve of his former wrestlers also attended the event.