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Bulldogs, Hawks start preparing for new season
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Ceres High's and Central Valley's fall sports teams started training for their respective seasons this past week.

Central Valley's varsity girls basketball team will be vying for its third straight conference title and playoff berth.

The Hawks compiled a 19-6 overall record, placed first in the Western Athletic Conference (10-2) and secured the No. 14 seed in the Division-II bracket last season.

Central Valley's top returning players are Brittany Martinez and Mia Lorenzo.

Hawk starters Valerie Olide, Diana Carmona and Vivien Fermil graduated.

Martinez earned first-team, all-conference honors as a junior. The 6-foot-2 center averaged 11.0 points, 12.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game.

Lorenzo averaged 7.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, 3.3 steals and 2.5 assists per game

"We have a very energetic group," Central Valley leader/two-time WAC Coach of the Year Jesse Padilla said.

Central Valley's varsity boys basketball team posted a 9-18 record and finished in fourth place (4-8) in the WAC standings in 2011-12.

The Hawks will rely heavily on Miguel Rodriguez and sophomore Jaron Dickson this year.

Leading scorer Camron Thornton (16.7 ppg) graduated.

Rodriguez was named to the WAC Second Team a season ago.

He averaged 13.2 points, 7.0 rebounds and shot 34 percent from 3-point range.

Dickson, an honorable-mention pick, averaged 10.1 points and 2.0 points per game at the varsity level as a freshman. He made 39 percent of his 3-point attempts.

"We're going to do better this year," Rodriguez said.

Ceres High's varsity girls basketball team has missed the playoffs four out of the last five years.

The Bulldogs went 9-15 and 4-8 (fourth place) under new head-coach Vanessa Morris' guidance a season ago.

Ceres High swept Central Catholic, a Division-IV playoff qualifier.

Bryce Ford, a fourth-year varsity player, will lead the Bulldogs this season.

Ford, a first-team all-conference honoree, averaged 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game as a junior.

Second-year varsity members Dia Borden, Ryleigh Honberger and Kendal Chapman will also contribute.

Freshman Nicole Bates, a multi-sport standout, will be counted upon as well.

Ceres High's varsity boys basketball team placed first in the WAC in 2010-11.

The Bulldogs finished 9-18 overall and third in conference play (7-5) last winter.

First-team all-league honoree Binder Atwal (19.5 ppg, 6.0 apg and 4.0 rpg) was lost to graduation.

Ceres High's top returning players are Jimbo Pernetti, Caden Johnson and Harman Chung.

Pernetti (10.1 ppg, 8.0 rpg) was an honorable-mention pick.

Ceres High's varsity wrestling program tied for first place with Los Banos in the WAC dual-meet standings (5-1,) finished second at the conference finals and qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Team Dual Championships last season.

The Bulldogs should be just as competitive this year because of their experience.

Gabriel Balderas, Armando Morales, Ruben Sanchez and Nick Santibanez will lead the way.

Balderas will try to become Ceres Highs' first three-time state-meet qualifier.

Gabriel won the 115-pound WAC crown and posted a 44-13 record his junior year.

Morales, Sanchez and Santibanez advanced to Masters.

Nick Moran, Ceres High's second-best grappler a season ago, graduated. He fell one win short of qualifying for state. He was also a league champion.

Balderas and his Bulldogs teammates practiced Monday through Friday from 3-5:30 p.m.

"I worked them really hard and they all responded," Ceres High head coach Jon Nowicki said. "I like what I see so far. We have high expectations."

Central Valley's varsity wrestling team took fourth at the WAC Championships in February.

Top grappler Adrian Vizcaino won 180-pound league title his sophomore year.

Vizcaino (34-11) also qualified for Masters.

Hawk returnee Michael Manzur participated at Divisionals last season.

"Our goals don't change," Central Valley head coach Rob Beckhart said. "We want to be league champions."