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Smiley returns home for Hall of Fame induction
2001 CHS grad starred in girls basketball, track & field
Reshundra Smiley flew from Alabama to California earlier this month to reunite with former coaches and teammates at the 2018 Ceres High School Hall of Fame ceremony. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Reshundra Smiley traveled from Alabama to California this past month to be inducted into the Ceres High School Hall of Fame.

The ceremony was staged at the River Oaks Golf Course Event Center on Feb. 17.

Smiley (class of 2001) and nine other Bulldog female athletes were enshrined, including Karen Jordan (1979), Delise Young (1999), Omaira Estremera (2003), Natalie Alvarez (2004), Meghan Franksen (2005), Jennifer Arnold (2006), Jessica Mazza (2006), Heather Jones (2007) and Kristen McClure (2007).

"It's a huge honor," Reshundra said. "It's one of the biggest milestones in my life."

Smiley enjoyed reconnecting with people from her past, including coaches and teammates.

"I hadn't been back in 17 years," said Reshundra, a 2001 Ceres High grad. "I had to plan for the trip. I have a job and kids."

Smiley praised former Bulldog coaches Shawna Nunes, Phil de la Porte, Glenn Driskell and Drew Brown.

"It was like having a second set of parents," she said. "They were going to do everything possible to make sure I achieved my goals. I'll be forever grateful for that. They mean the world to me. I'd let them coach my kids."

Smiley impressed Nunes and de la Porte while attending the Ceres High School Basketball Camp before entering the ninth grade.

"As soon as we saw her, we knew she could play varsity," said Shawna, who along with Phil, coached Reshundra for four seasons. "She was a natural athlete. She was coordinated. She was quick. She worked hard at what she was doing."

Smiley was a sophomore point guard on Ceres High's 1998-99 team, which amassed a 30-3 overall record, finished second in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I playoff tournament and claimed the Central California Conference with a perfect 18-0 mark. Reshundra earned second-team, all-CCC honors.

Smiley was a first-team, all-league pick as a junior.

She was voted CCC Most Valuable Player her senior year.

Reshundra's teams won three conference titles and made deep runs in the playoffs all four years.

"I knew she'd be a great player because of all the time she put into it," said Shannon Donnelly, one of Smiley's former teammates and a fellow Ceres High School Hall of Fame member. "She was always practicing. She wanted to get better. She had an amazing career."

"I remember practicing with her (Smiley) when I was a kid," said Heather Mazza, who helped lead Ceres High's 2004-05 varsity girls basketball team to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II crown. "I had to guard her in summer league. She was so good. But she was humble about it. She was nice to everyone."

Smiley was even more dominant in track and field.

She won six section titles, including three in the 100, two in the 200 and one in the 4x100 relay.

Reshundra captured six league championships.

She was coached by Driskell and Brown.

"She ran the 400 one time and broke my school record," Nunes said. "That's talent. She would have been successful in any sport she did. She's one of the best athletes we've ever had come through here."

Smiley continued her basketball career at Central Arizona Community College. She earned a scholarship to Marshall University.