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A look back at the 2004 sports season
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A multitude of memories were generated in the sports world in 2004. Cereans succeeded in the professional and collegiate ranks. The majority of programs at Ceres High made history. Ceres products also flourished at Central Catholic.

With that in mind, it's time to travel back in time and recap last year's high points.

Here are 2004's Top 25 stories:

1. The last time the Ceres High football team won a league title was in 1985, when Bret Durossette started at quarterback. In November, Durossette, Ceres' head coach since 2000, and the Bulldogs won a share of the Modesto Metro Conference championship with a 26-24 victory over Downey. The Knights led 17-7 at halftime.

The victory also helped Ceres secure a berth in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division I playoffs for the second year in a row.

Durossette was named the MMC Co-Coach of the Year. Approximately 13 of his players earned all-league honors, including Cruz Flores, A.J. Ball, Luis Malagon, Brian Borges, Brandon Gresham, Derrick Goblirsch, Ray Robles, Rafael Valencia, Adam Kent, Nick Eudy, Zack Wiedenbeck, Daniel Smith and Ryan Leazer.

2. Ryan Thornberry completed his sophomore season at Cal State Stanislaus in May, where he had 13 top-10 finishes, including three firsts, and a second at the NCAA Division II Men's Golf Championship. The 2002 Ceres High graduate set a team record in scoring average en route to claiming first-team, all-America honors.

3. For the first time in school history, the Ceres High boys water polo team placed first in the league standings. The Bulldogs and the Beyer Patriots shared the Modesto Metro Conference championship. Junior Joey Rossi and senior Eric Scudder, first-team, all-MMC selections, both tallied more than 100 goals on the season. Rossi scored a school-record 125 goals. Scudder had 102 goals.

4. Ceres High swimming coach Sue Garcia wanted to restart the school's diving program, so she called Glen Simonds.

Simonds assembled the team several weeks before the start of the season.

Two of Ceres' divers, James Carswell and Bailey MacArthur, excelled despite no previous experience.

Carswell won the varsity boys league championship and placed second in the section. MacArthur won the varsity girls diving title and was runner-up at the JV section competition.

5. Three seniors, Elisha Ferguson, Meghan Franksen and Krystle Brown, helped lead the Ceres High volleyball team to a fourth-place finish in the MMC and into the playoffs for the first time since 1998. The trio played varsity volleyball all four years. They suited up for the 5-13 and 3-15 Bulldogs in 2001 and 2002, respectively. The 2003 squad went 9-9 in league.

The 2004 Bulldogs went 7-8 in conference play and 12-15 overall. They upset Benicia, the Monticello Empire League champion, in the first round of the playoffs. During the regular season, Ceres beat Beyer, the MMC champion. Benicia and Beyer were both undefeated prior to playing Ceres.

6. Brianne Ferguson, a 2001 Ceres High graduate, had a remarkable year at Sacramento State. The junior pitcher had a team-best 16-11 record with a 1.58 ERA, 98 strikeouts and nine shutouts for the Hornets, who tied for third in the Pacific Coast Softball Conference at 10-10 and went 32-28 overall. Ferguson was a first-team, all-PCSC selection. She won seven of nine games in league play.

7. Caleb Maher got demoted from Cedar Rapids, a Low-A affiliate of the Anaheim Angels, to Provo, a rookie-level club, in June. Maher, a 2002 Ceres High graduate, and his teammates won the Pioneer League Championship Series on Sept. 13. Maher collected three RBIs in four games. He batted .316 with six homers, one triple, 12 doubles, 36 runs and 36 RBIs during a 50-game stint at Provo.

8. Jessica Campos, Omaira Estremera, Michelle Jara and Vanessa Huerta played softball together at Ceres High School. This past year, they helped the Modesto Junior College softball team secure a berth in the postseason for the first time in seven years. The Pirates finished second in the Central Valley Conference at 16-5 and went 22-11 overall.

9. Ozzie and Judith Estremera's two children succeeded in college.

Arce and the Cal State Hayward baseball team finished the 2004 campaign with a 29-11 record, their best showing since 1997, and advanced to the NCAA Division III playoffs for the second time in four years.

Arce was the team's starting first baseman. He batted .253 with eight homers, one triple, seven doubles and 31 RBIs. He also scored 34 runs.

Omaira earned first-team, all-CVC honors as a freshman pitcher at Modesto JC. The southpaw compiled a 12-2 record with a 1.90 earned run average and 83 strikeouts. She also hit .373 with two doubles, seven runs and 10 RBIs.

10. The Ceres High softball team failed to place first in the CCC for the first time in seven years. The Bulldogs placed second in the league standings behind Golden Valley at 14-4.

Ceres (20-8) did make an appearance in the playoffs for the 16th year in a row.

11. With Quantelle Daniels, Krystle Brown, Heater Mazza, Meghan Franksen and Kelsey Sayad leading the way, the Ceres High girls basketball team finished second in the CCC with a 10-3 record, advanced past the first round of the playoffs and finished the season with a 21-8 record.

The Bulldogs secured a berth in the postseason for the 11th year in a row under coach Shawna Nunes' guidance.

12. The Ceres High boys soccer team compiled a winning record in league for the third year in a row. The Bulldogs tied for third in the MMC with Modesto High (8-6-1). The top two teams, including Johansen, which Ceres defeated twice, and Beyer, made the playoffs. The Bulldogs closed out the regular season with a 2-1 victory over the Patriots. The win came less than 24 hours after coach Joe Byrne announced his retirement.

Ceres' top player, Victor Perez, earned first-team, all-league honors. The senior striker scored 25 of his 39 goals in conference play.

13. Ceres High sent a school-record 10 athletes to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II Cross Country Championships, including Karrah Brown, Andrew Chipponeri, Henry Shamoeil, Nicole Laranjo, Caitlin Cerny, Heather Jones, Vicki Morales, Katie Lutes, Melanie Casey and Nicole Caselli.

The frosh-soph girls team placed second at section and sub-section meets.

The varsity girls tied for second in the MMC with Davis (7-3).

14. The Ceres High girls tennis team compiled a winning record even though it lost the majority of its starters to graduation. The Bulldogs won their final four matches to secure a third-place finish in the league standings with an 8-7 record.

Seniors Amanda Guajardo and Ashlee Moring placed second at the MMC doubles tournament.

15. Ceres Falcons product Clint Haglund earned first-team, all-Bay Valley Conference honors for his outstanding play at Mendocino College. The 2004 Central Catholic graduate caught 58 passes for 594 yards and scored four touchdowns for the Eagles. The 5-foot-8, 150-pound freshman ranked first in the BVC and in the top 20 in the state in receiving.

16. Shannon Donnelly has appeared in uniform for several professional women's basketball teams since graduating from Cal State Stanislaus in 2003. The 1999 Ceres High graduate re-signed with Ullern, a pro club in Oslo, Norway on Aug. 10. Donnelly, a 6-foot-1 center, and Ullern finished second at the Norwegian Basketball Association Championships in 2003-04. She averaged 36.3 points, 15 rebounds and 2.5 steals per game.

17. Gordon Brogdon, a 2004 Ceres High graduate, had surgery on his right shoulder on March 30 and thought he would be sidelined for the remainder of the varsity boys swimming season. He got clearance the day before the section trials. On May 14, Brogdon tied for 18th in a field of 47 in the 100 backstroke in a personal-best time of 50.54 seconds.

During the summer, Brogdon decided to swim for Ceres Dolphins recreational team. He put his perfect record on the line at the Mid-Valley Swim Conference Championships in Turlock. And for the first time in two years, he lost. Brogdon won the 100 IM and 100 back but placed second in the 100 free.

18. Keyasha Brothern and the Central Arizona College women's basketball team placed third in a field of 16 at the 2004 National Junior College Athletic Association Division I National Championships in Kansas in March. The Vaqueras won three of four games en route to finishing the year with an impressive 33-3 record. Brothern played in all but three games. She averaged 7.8 points and 4.6 rebounds per game and shot 50 percent from the field.

When the school year ended, Brothern packed her bags and moved back to California. She's currently a member of the Merced College basketball team.

19. David Burris and Ryan Rodriguez concluded their high-school wrestling careers in February. The 2004 Ceres High graduates both placed sixth at the section championships. The top five advanced to the CIF State Meet.

Burris and Rodriguez managed to have outstanding years despite a major setback. Ceres' coaching staff, Jamie Guerra and three assistants, were put on administrative leave after allegations of hazing at practices surfaced.

20. Pharoah El-Haji, a 2003 Ceres High graduate, helped lead the Modesto JC baseball team to a second-place finish in the Central Valley Conference and into the California Community College Baseball Playoffs. He earned second-team, all-CVC honors. El-Haji was a designated hitter. He batted .329 with three homers, one triple, six doubles, and 14 RBIs in 73 at-bats during the regular season. He also scored 15 runs and had a .562 slugging percentage.

21. Quantelle Daniels and Derrick Goblirsch were named Ceres High's 2003-04 female and male athletes of the year, respectively, on May 24. Goblirsch starred in three sports, including football, basketball and baseball. Daniels was a standout in basketball and volleyball.

22. Competing for the first time since fellow student Jannet Valencia was killed in an automobile accident on Dec. 18, the Ceres High boys basketball team placed first at its home tournament. Charlie Cunha, the tourney's MVP, hit an 8-foot jumper with 6 seconds remaining to lift the Bulldogs to a 49-48 victory over Lodi in the championship game on Thursday. Rafael Valencia, Jannet's brother, added 10 points.

23. The Central Catholic football team won its fourth straight section title, seventh in eight years, by beating Le Grand 50-6 in Modesto on Dec. 3. When the game ended, a host of Cereans celebrated.

Thirteen of Central's players are from Ceres, including Austin Sanford, Blake Trinkler, Jared Lomeli, James Patterson, Jacob Orth, Wade Hurst, Mikial Martinez, Michael Varni, Anthony Karlegan, Joe Guitron, Robert Slyvester, Adrian Garcia and J.J. Flores.

Sanford, Trinkler, Lomeli, Patterson and Orth started. Sanford passed for 145 yards and three touchdowns against Le Grand. Trinkler caught a TD pass, registered seven tackles and recovered a fumble. Lomeli had five tackles and one fumble recovery. Patterson and Orth each had four tackles.

On May 31, Lomeli, Trinkler, Hurst, Sanford, Garcia and the Central Catholic baseball team defeated Valley Christian Academy 2-1 in the Division V title game.

Ceres' Drew and Trey Durossette also contributed.

Drew was one of the top pitchers in the Stanislaus District. He compiled a 12-2 record with a 1.13 ERA and 96 strikeouts in 105.1 innings.

Lomeli started at second base. He hit .459 with 25 runs and 30 RBIs. Lomeli compiled a 6-0 record as a pitcher. He had a 1.96 ERA and 25 strikeouts.

Trinkler played shortstop. He hit .404, scored 27 runs and had 20 RBIs.

Drew, Lomeli and Trinkler were first-team, all-league selections.

24. The JV boys soccer team went undefeated in league for the second year in a row. Ceres, which had just three returning players, went 13-0-2 in the MMC. The 2003 Bulldogs compiled a 16-0-2 record in conference play.

25. The Ceres High girls water polo team surpassed last year's win total. The Bulldogs finished fourth in the MMC with a 6-9 record and would have made the playoffs if they won their final game. Davis edged Ceres, 8-6.

The 2003 Bulldogs placed ninth in the league standings at 4-12.

Honorable Mention

First-year head coach Josh Leslie and the Ceres High freshman football team won the MMC title outright with a 5-0 record. The Bulldogs won their final seven games and finished the year with a 8-2 mark.

The Ceres AcroGymnastics team medaled in four events at the 2004 USA Gymnastics, Sports Acrobatics National Championships, in Palm Springs in July. Alison Cardenas, Holly Goodrum, Ariana Stevens, Ariel Davidson, Gisele Villegas, Erin Barret, Derek Chisamore and Steven Walker all claimed gold.

Ceres' Randy and Mike Ebenal, and Aaron Goodloe participated in the California State Trapshooting Championships in Kingsburg in June. They were members of a five-person team that finished second in the Senior-Novice Division.

The Ceres High boys basketball team snapped Turlock's 15-game winning streak during the 2003-04 season. Derrick Goblirsch made the game-winning shot. He spun past a defender and made a layup with three seconds to play to lift Ceres to a 54-52 win over visiting Turlock, one of the top teams in the section and CCC on Jan. 28. Ceres, which overcame a 10-point, halftime deficit, lost 58-30 to Turlock on Jan. 14. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier