Ivan Arita and Shania Evans were named Ceres High’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year, respectively, in a vote by coaches during the final week of school.
The double-winners were presented Western Athletic Conference Scholar-Athlete of the Year awards on May 21.
“I’m very honored and thankful I got chosen for both,” Arita said. “I wasn’t expecting it.”
“I definitely exceeded my expectations getting both of the awards, keeping my grades up and playing all of the sports,” Evans said.
Arita earned six varsity letters, including three in volleyball, two in soccer and one in football.
“For the past three years, I saw other people that I looked up to win it (Ceres High Athlete of the Year) like Conner Johnson,” Arita said. “They were beasts on campus. I didn’t see myself that way. I just wanted to have fun and prove I could play. I had a positive attitude and good leadership attributes. It’s amazing to be recognized as one of the best. It means a lot to me.”
Arita received first-team all-WAC honors on defense as Ceres High’s boys soccer team complied a program-best 20-2-4 overall record, claimed the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III title and advanced to the Northern California Regional Championship Tournament for the first time this past winter.
“I’m really proud to say I was a part of the best soccer team in CHS history,” he said. “Our hard work paid off.”
Arita was also a first-team performer on the boys volleyball team, which compiled a 19-12 overall record, finished in second place in the WAC (9-3) and qualified for the playoffs for the second time in four years this spring.
“I wanted to be a better player when coach (Darlene Tobler) moved me to varsity as a sophomore,” he said. “She was with me every step of the way. If it wasn’t for her, I don’t think I’d appreciate the game of volleyball as much as I do. I really enjoyed playing the sport.”
Arita contributed at receiver during his first season playing football last fall.
“Being a senior, I really wanted that experience,” said Arita, who caught 14 passes for 178 yards. “I wish I would have listened to my friends and went out for the team my sophomore year. That’s something I really regret.”
Evans earned nine varsity letters, including four in tennis, three in track and field and two in softball.
Conner Johnson, Evans’ boyfriend for the past two and a half years, was voted Ceres High’s top male athlete in 2017.
“At the end of my sophomore year, I saw Conner win it,” she said. “It gave me motivation to win it. I tried extra hard my junior and senior years.”
A standout hitter and shortstop, Evans was a first-team pick in softball this spring. She filled a key role as the Bulldogs posted a 19-6 overall record, captured the WAC crown with a near-perfect 13-1 mark and qualified for the Division-III playoffs.
Evans batted .390 on the year with three homers, four triples, 13 doubles, 26 RBIs and 24 runs. She had slugging and on-base percentages of .756 and .474, respectively. She made just five errors on defense.
Evans took fifth in the triple jump at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Track & Field Championships.
She placed third in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump at the WAC finals.
Evans’ individual excellence translated into team success for Ceres High, which finished second overall in the WAC dual standings (5-1).
In the fall, Evans advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-I Singles Tennis Tournament.
She amassed a 15-2 record during the WAC campaign. Evans won three of four matches en route to a runner-up finish at the conference championships. She was a first-team all-league selection.
Evans helped lead Ceres High to a runner-up finish in the WAC standings (11-3).
“I definitely want to thank my coaches and teammates,” she said. “If they weren’t there to help me, I wouldn’t be as successful as I am and I wouldn’t want to play the sports.”
Arita posted a 3.9 cumulative GPA during his high-school career.
He’ll major in mechanical engineering at Sacramento State.
Arita’s considering trying out for the school’s soccer team.
Evans had a cumulative GPA of 4.1.
She earned a softball scholarship to Humboldt State.
Evans will major in liberal studies elementary education.
“I’m making my parents proud,” Arita said.