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Alvarez has no regrets
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Natalie Alvarez ran for the final time at the high-school level on Tuesday, May 18. Slowed by injury, the Ceres High senior placed 19th in a field of 23 in the 800 at the Sac-Joaquin Sub-Section track and field trials at Modesto Junior College Stadium. The top eight advanced to this week's section meet.

"This year, I expected to do well but it was difficult because of the injuries," Alvarez said. "I've had knee and hip injuries since my sophomore year."

Alvarez ran track and cross country all four years.

"She had a good career," said Ceres track and field coach Drew Brown. "She was one of our top point getters over the last four years."

Added Ceres cross country coach Glenn Driskell: "She's one of the top-two distance runners in the history of the school."

Alvarez won the frosh-soph league championship, earned first-team, all-conference honors her sophomore and junior years and was a third-team, all-league selection this past season in cross country. She also won the team's Most Valuable Player four times.

In track, she was named Most Improved her freshman year, broke the school's two-mile record and was named MVP her junior year. Alvarez garnered team captain honors the past two seasons.

"I love to run and that's why I continued to do it," Alvarez said.

Alvarez's older sisters also had a influence.

Sirena, a 2000 Ceres High graduate, and Lorena, a 1999 Ceres High graduate, both ran cross country. Sirena ran her sophomore, junior and senior years. Lorena competed during her senior year.

Natalie's younger sister, Nichole, is also a runner. The freshman was a member of the school's cross country team during the 2003-2004 school year.

Natalie plans to run cross country at the collegiate level.

South Western Oregon Community College offered her a $6,000 scholarship.

"That's something I'm very interested in," she said. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier