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A fresh start for CV, CHS
Returning and prospective members of Central Valley's and Ceres High's fall sports teams started training for their respective seasons last week.

Central Valley's boys soccer program will be vying for its fourth consecutive league title and fifth straight playoff appearance.

The Hawks suffered back-to-back losses in the Sac-Joaquin Section finals the last two years. Vista del Lago overcame a 2-0 deficit and snapped the Hawks' 18-game unbeaten streak this past season.

"The kids understand the expectations," head coach Omar Leon said. "They know how demanding I can be."

Daniel Ochoa, Central Valley's top returning player, moved to the Los Angeles-area this past week to train with the Chivas USA Youth Soccer Academy's 18-and-under reserve team. Ochoa tallied a school-record 26 goals and 14 assists for the Hawks as a junior.

"It will be hard to find a replacement for him," Leon said. "The rest of the players look up to him. He motivates everyone."

Ceres High football players attended two-a-day practices under Bret Durossette's direction.

Durossette agreed to return for a second stint as varsity head coach.

The Bulldogs haven't had a winning campaign or qualified for the postseason in six years. Durossette led Ceres High to a share of the Modesto Metro Conference crown and a Division-I playoff appearance in 2004.

"I can confidently say it's going to be different this year," Bulldogs receiver/cornerback Nick Welsh said. "We're working hard and it should pay off."

Central Valley's football program would also like to make history.

Quarterback Abraham Navarro, lineman Cristian Chavez, receiver/defensive back Greg Tripp and all-purpose standout Ja'Quan Gardner will play key roles.

The Hawks compiled a 2-8 overall record and finished one-game ahead of last-place Ceres High in the Western Athletic Conference standings last season.

"This is an exciting time every year," Central Valley head coach Tim Garcia said. "We got a good group of kids."

Ceres High's water polo program also has a new leader.

Tracy Bull will be in charge of both the boys and girls teams.

Bull has lived in Ceres for 14 years.

He's been affiliated with the Ceres Dolphins and Ceres Hoopsters youth programs for seven and six years, respectively.

He coached with the Ceres Youth Soccer Organization for four seasons.

He directed Modesto High's junior-varsity baseball, Central Catholic's JV girls basketball and Grace Davis' freshman girls hoops teams for one season.

"This is my first actual varsity job," Bull said. "It's a dream come true because I get to coach at a high school I've supported for over 10 years."

Ceres High would have considered cutting water polo if Bull didn't step forward.

Tracy inherits a program that lost a wealth of experience to graduation, including Nick Serratos, Kenny Carroll, Victor Cruz, Kody Fliflet, Courtney Frampton and Courtney Craig.

"We'll find and develop talent," he said.

The Bulldogs will field football, volleyball, water polo, cross country, boys soccer, girls golf and girls tennis teams this fall.

The Hawks will compete in six sports, excluding water polo.

Ceres High's girls tennis team managed to place third in the Western Athletic Conference and qualify for the playoffs for the fourth year in a row in 2010 despite competing with an inexperienced lineup.

The Bulldogs' preseason schedule includes matches against Downey, Sierra, Oakdale, Central Catholic, Kimball, Gregori and Pitman.

"I'm not worried about winning," head coach Bryan Harden said. "I'm just trying to get them ready for league."