Ceres High’s Shania Evans and Central Valley’s Guadalupe Becerra have been named the Courier’s co-Female Athletes of the Year for the 2018 fall sports campaign.
Evans and Becerra both experienced individual and team success during their final seasons of varsity girls tennis.
“I’m super proud of her (Evans),” Bulldogs’ head coach Brandon Moring said. “She’s an awesome young lady. She won a lot of matches because she was a better athlete. I can’t say enough good things about her.”
“She (Becerra) had a strong year,” Hawks’ head coach Mike Rodriguez stated. “She got herself into great shape before the season started. She did that on her own. We never talked about it. That’s pretty impressive. She was self-motivated.”
“Sports are my life. Any recognition I can get for it, I’m super grateful.”Shania Evans
“Sports are my life,” Evans added. “Any recognition I can get for it, I’m super grateful.”
Shania and Guadalupe ranked among the top 16 players in Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II tennis and finished second at their respective conference singles tournaments.
Becerra compiled a 17-7 overall record while starring at No. 1 singles.
“She was dedicated,” Rodriguez said. “She hit during the offseason whenever she could. She was willing to put in the extra work. You don’t get a player like that too often. I’m proud of her.”
Guadalupe won 14 of 18 matches against Central California Conference competition.
She posted a 3-1 record on her way to a runner-up finish at the CCC Championships.
Becerra topped St. Mary’s Ali Gabbard 6-3, 6-4 in the first round Division team playoffs.
She garnered first-team all-league accolades for the second straight season.
Central Valley (12-2) finished second overall in the CCC standings.
Guadalupe lost 25 pounds during the off season.
“I wanted to be in better shape for sports,. I didn’t like being slow. I changed my eating habits. I also worked out.”Guadalupe Becerra
“I wanted to be in better shape for sports,” she said. “I didn’t like being slow. I changed my eating habits. I also worked out.”
Evans amassed a 15-2 record while playing the majority of her matches at No. 1 singles during the Western Athletic Conference season.
She won three of four matches en route to a runner-up finish at the WAC Singles Championships.
She earned first-team all-conference honors for the first time.
Ceres High (11-3) had the second-best team in the WAC.
“She was the No. 1 player on our team for a reason,” Moring said. “She was super competitive. She was determined to win. We did a lot of things strategically based on her athletic ability. That was a huge factor in the success of her season.”
Evans’ improved fitness led to desired results.
“It made me faster and stronger,” said Shania, who works out with a trainer three times a week. “I had better stamina. I had more to give at the very end of matches. It helped me in a tremendous amount of ways.”
A four-year starter, Guadalupe will be remembered as one of Central Valley’s greatest players.
“A lot of growth going from No. 3 doubles to No. 1 singles,” Rodriguez said.
Added Becerra: “I never expected this.”
Becerra won a Western Athletic Conference doubles title in 2016 and was runner-up in 2017.
She advanced to the section doubles tournament twice and singles event once.
She had a combined record of 27-12 against league competition from 2016-18.
Guadalupe helped lead Central Valley to team playoffs her senior, junior and sophomore years.
“It will be hard to top what she’s done,” Rodriguez said.
Evans was a four-year starter as well.
She amassed a near-perfect 14-1 record at No. 6 singles in 2016.
She played doubles as a freshman.
Ceres High qualified for team playoffs during Evans’ senior and sophomore years.
“I took tennis more seriously and became more motivated,” Evans said. “I love the sport. There was added pressure every match. It made me rise to the occasion. I exceeded my expectations. It just goes to show if you work hard enough, you’ll get whatever you want.”
“It’s definitely going to be a challenge to replace somebody like her,” Moring added. “She was a positive leader who was successful individually and went above and beyond to make the team better. That’s special.”