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Garcia hopes to add to resume
Ceres High's Alejandro Garcia got jumped by three hoodlums while walking home from school two days before the Valley Oak League cross country championships last fall.

Forced to sit out by his doctor, the sophomore returned to the Bulldogs' lineup a week later for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III competition.

"I didn't see no point to ending my season," said Garcia, who sustained a black eye during the attack.

Alejandro went on to claim section and sub-section titles at the boys sophomore level.

Garcia topped 36 runners en route to a first-place showing at the section meet in Folsom. He completed the two-mile Willow Hills Reservoir Course in 12 minutes, 8 seconds. Woodland's John McAnelly took second (12:27).

Alejandro dominated the sub-section competition at Frogtown in Angels Camp. Garcia (11:38) finished ahead of runner-up Matt Murphy of Woodland (12:02) by 24 seconds.

"I got a medal for each race," he said.

To prepare for his junior season, Alejandro decided to increase his training. Five miles a day, six times a week.

Garcia even attended a week-long camp at Mammoth Lakes with runners from Ceres High, Weston Ranch and Modesto Junior College in an effort to boost his endurance. Alejandro will be competing on three-mile courses this year.

"The top guy at Weston Ranch (senior Roberto Alvarez) is putting time into running," Garcia said. "I don't want to fall behind. Sometimes I only rest on Sundays."

Alvarez missed qualifying for the state meet by one place last year. He took fourth in league, sixth at divisionals and 10th at masters.

Garcia will also battle Sierra's John Bowers, and Sonora's Erik Segerstrom and John Glick.

Bowers, a junior, placed second in the VOL, 35th at divisionals and 38th at masters.

Segestrom (3rd/18th/9th) and Glick (4th/16th/12th), both seniors, also shined at the varsity level.

"I'm looking forward to the upcoming season," Garcia said. "If I make it all the way to masters, I'll be satisfied. Anything after that would be great."

When Garcia entered high school, he had a strong desire to play soccer. Alejandro suited up for Blaker-Kinser Jr. High School for two seasons.

"I tried out my freshman year and didn't make it, so I did track and field," he said. "Coach (Natalie Alvarez) convinced me to do cross country my sophomore year. It was something new."

Alejandro ended up exceeding his own expectations.

"It was my first year running so I didn't know what I was doing," Garcia said. "I was just going with the flow. I was surprised at how well I did."

When asked what he enjoyed most about the sport, Alejandro said: "When I run, I have time to think about stuff. I also like to stay in shape."