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Garcia leads CHS boys to 4th place cross country finish
An exhausted Alejandro Garcia collapsed to the ground after crossing the finish line at the Valley Oak League Cross Country Championships on Wednesday in Angels Camp.

The Ceres High junior placed second in the varsity boys race with a personal-best time of 16 minutes, 42 seconds on the 2.95-mile Frogtown course.

The top 10 individuals received medals.

"My hands were numb," Garcia said. "My legs were weak. I couldn't walk by myself. It took me 15-20 minutes to recover."

Weston Ranch senior Roberto Alvarez bested Garcia by 2 seconds. He passed Alejandro with 20 yards remaining.

Alejandro took first at the VOL's two cluster meets during the regular season.

"I'm satisfied with my place," Garcia said. "I gave it my all. Last year, I wasn't even close to him (Roberto)."

Ceres High's boys finished fourth in the team standings behind Sonora, Sierra and Weston Ranch.

The Bulldogs managed to beat fifth-place Oakdale, a team they lost to twice earlier in the year.

"That's very satisfying," Ceres High coach Natalie Alvarez said. "We trained a little harder. We went out to Turlock Reservoir. There were hills."

The Bulldogs finished ahead of the Mustangs, East Union Lancers, Central Valley Hawks and Manteca Buffaloes.

Garcia, Gabriel Sanchez (23rd, 19:50), Keegan Overbey (28th, 20:48), Mathew Mey (30th, 21:08) and Alex Morales (37th, 21:57) all scored points for Ceres High.

Bulldog teammates Edward Lopez (47th, 23:42) and Michael Johnson (53rd, 29:18) also competed.

Juan Martinez (24th, 20:05) paced Central Valley's boys team.

Oscar Tovar (26th, 20:35), Rigel Smart (29th, 20:49), Jonathan Burgos (43rd, 23:11), Will Berryhill (44th, 23:11), Rudy Campusano (45th, 23:13) and Ross Henry (49th, 25:01) rounded out the Hawks' lineup.

The Bulldogs had just two runners compete in the varsity girls race.

Senior Jennifer Perez missed medaling by four spots. She passed two competitors on the last hill en route to a 14th-place finish (23:42).

Fellow veteran Mayra Abreo placed 18th (24:12).

"I'm satisfied," Perez said. "I was horrible last year."

Central Valley's girls also fielded a thin lineup. The Hawks were led by a trio of runners, including Jasveen Brar (28th, 26:44), Gabriela Diaz (29th, 26:52) and Kassandra Contreras (38th, 31:05).

Ceres High's Luis Ochoa, whose main sport is tennis, captured a second-place medal at the VOL junior-varsity boys championships.

He led most of the way on the 2.95-mile course, which he completed in 21 minutes, 41 seconds.

"I had no idea what he was capable of because it was his first race," Alvarez said.

The Bulldogs and Hawks will return to Frogtown this Saturday for the sub-section meet.

"My goal is to beat Roberto," said Garcia, who claimed section and sub-section titles at the sophomore level last year."