The Courier presents the first of two parts highlighting the best in sports of 2019.
1. Central Valley’s Brianna Quiroz wrapped up her prep grappling career with a top-18 finish in the 150-pound weight bracket at the CIF State Girls Wrestling Championships. She won one of three matches at the state tournament. Quiroz’s senior season was filled with individual and team success. She posted a 26-9 overall record. She qualified for state for the second year in a row. She placed second at Masters. She finished first at South Regionals. She captured her second consecutive conference title. Quiroz helped propel the Hawks to back-to-back league championships.
2. Central Valley’s Michael Miller made program history by becoming the first Hawk grappler to win two matches at the CIF State Boys Wrestling Championships. The Grace Davis transfer amassed a 2-2 record on his way to finishing in the top 24 in the 140-pound weight class. He was two matches away from placing. Miller compiled a 23-8 overall record. He took sixth at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships. He finished second at the Central California Conference Tournament.
3. Azar Harrison had a breakout year while competing in the 800 for the first time during her final season with Ceres High’s girls track and field team. She made program history at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Championships on May 8 at Cesar Chavez High School in Stockton. Harrison finished first in a school-record time of 2:21.19. The previous record of 2:22.90 was set by Diljeet Dosanjh Taylor 24 years ago. Harrison placed 16th overall (2:22.29) during the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet at Davis Sr. High School. She took first in the 800 (2:27.69) and third in the 400 (1:00.86) at the Western Athletic Conference Championships. She also teamed up with Destiny Suarez, Bella Curry and Bianca De Los Reyes to win the 4x400 relay. Harrison filled a major role as Ceres High finished second overall in the WAC dual standings (6-1). Harrison improved her 800 time by 14 seconds during the course of the season.
4. Argel Arroyo came oh-so close to qualifying for the CIF State Boys Wrestling Championships during his final season at Ceres High. The second-year grappler placed eighth in the 220-pound weight bracket at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament. The top six finishers advanced to state. Arroyo won four of his seven matches. He became just the fifth grappler from Ceres High to place at Masters since 2010. He posted a 30-8 overall record during his final season with the Bulldogs. He claimed titles at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV, Western Athletic Conference, Mike Tamana and Ceres High tournaments. Arroyo also raised his grade-point average from 1.8 to 3.4.
5. Gary Condit cemented his legacy as arguably Ceres High’s greatest male golfer by claiming his third consecutive Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player award and finishing first at the conference year-end tournament for the fourth year in a row. He was undefeated against conference dual competition his senior, sophomore and freshman years. His two losses in 2018 were to Ceres High teammate Jayden Panyanouvong, a four-time first-team all-WAC selection.
6. Amelia Daoheung made program history this fall by becoming just the second Central Valley High School female golfer to earn league Most Valuable Player honors. She follows in the footsteps of Janita Vongphoumy, who was named Western Athletic Conference MVP her junior and senior years. Daoheung claimed the 2019 Central California Conference MVP award. She turned in a career-best performance while taking first at the CCC End-Of-Season Tournament. She shot a 93 at Rancho Del Rey Golf Course. Daoheung won the conference title by eight strokes. She also qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division Tournament for the third year in a row.
7. Jocelyn Lopez won her second consecutive league Most Valuable Player award. A four-year standout on Central Valley’s girls soccer team, Lopez was voted MVP of the Central California Conference. She scored a program-record 96 goals and dished out 45 assists during her prep career. She had 33 goals and 11 assists her senior season.
8. Saul Ruiz was voted the Western Athletic Conference’s Most Valuable Player during his final season with the Ceres High’s boys soccer team. He was named the league’s co-Defender of the Year as a junior. Ruiz’s main position was defender but he also contributed at forward. He led Ceres High in scoring with 18 goals and dished out two assists.
9. Freshman Brooklyn Heffernan was named co-Most Valuable Player of the WAC during her first season with Ceres High’s softball team. She batted .388 from the plate with two homers, two triples, nine doubles, 24 RBIs and 24 runs on the year. She had slugging and on-base percentages of .625 and .451, respectively. Heffernan drove in the game-winning run with a two-out double during Ceres High’s 3-2 WAC title-clinching victory over Los Banos. She started in centerfield when she wasn’t pitching. Heffernan posted an 8-2 record at pitcher with a 1.58 ERA and 70 strikeouts in 71 innings. She tossed a no-hitter against Lathrop. She struck out seven batters. Heffernan made no errors on defense this season.
10. Striker Gerardo Flores had a productive final season while starring on Central Valley’s boys soccer team. He was voted Central California Conference Offensive Player of the Year. Flores led the Hawks on both goals scored (28) and assists (8).
11. Already considered Ceres High’s greatest boys volleyball player, Christian Murry added to his resume by winning the Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player award his senior year. He collected 248 digs, 164 kills, 37 blocks, 27 aces and 10 assists. Murry was voted WAC Defensive Player of the Year as a junior. He garnered first-team all-conference recognition his sophomore year.
12. Elliott Lewis continued his run of dominance by finishing first in the 100 breast for the third consecutive year at the Western Athletic Conference Boys Swim Championships. He ended up winning a total of five individual WAC titles in a four-year span at Ceres High, including three in the breast, and one in the 50 free and 200 IM.
13. Abigail Martinez’s final season with Central Valley’s girls soccer team was her most productive. She was named Central California Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Martinez anchored the Hawks’ defense, which allowed just eight goals in 12 league games. She also contributed on offense with six goals and three assists.
14. Elias Saldana enjoyed a major turnaround during his junior campaign with Ceres High’s boys wrestling team. He amassed a 28-11 overall record while competing in the 285-pound weight division. Saldana won two of four matches at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament. He placed at six different events. Saldana took third at the Division-IV Championships and second at the Western Athletic Conference Finals. He claimed a title at the Mike Tamana Tournament, and finished second at the Ceres Invitational, and seventh at both the Tim Brown Memorial and Pat Lovell Classic.
15. Central Valley girls wrestler Samantha Espinoza compiled a 20-10 record while competing at 170 pounds for most of her sophomore season. She advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament. She won three of five matches en route to a seventh-place finish at South Regionals. Espinoza claimed a title at the Central California Conference Championships with a perfect 2-0 mark.
16. Central Valley softball standout Scarlett Lloyd won a major award by being voted Central California Conference Offensive Player of the Year. She batted .556 with one homer, three doubles, 20 hits, five RBIs and five runs. She had slugging and on-base percentages of .722 and .590, respectively. She ranked second in conference play in batting average, hits and on-base percentage. Lloyd also earned first-team all-league honors for the third year in a row.
17. Forward Jacqueline Ruiz tripled her goal total during her sophomore season with Ceres High’s girls soccer program. She totaled a team-high 18 goals in 25 games. Ruiz was selected to the WAC Second Team. She tallied just six goals and two assists her freshman year.
18. Isaiah Hidalgo racked up 1,844 all-purpose yards and 16 touchdowns during his second season with Central Valley’s football team. He earned CCC honorable-mention recognition. A standout running back, Hidalgo gained 983 yards and tallied 12 TDs, both career-highs, on 205 carries. He caught 26 passes for 163 yards and one score. Hidalgo totaled 537 yards and two touchdowns on 20 kickoff returns. He had 161 yards and one TD on seven punt returns. Two of Hidalgo’s most-productive games came against Sac-Joaquin Section champs Ripon and Sierra during the preseason. He carried the ball 19 times for 136 yards and two touchdowns against Ripon. He ran for 129 yards and one TD versus Sierra. Hidalgo also helped Central Valley improve its all-time record versus crosstown-rival Ceres High to 12-2 with a 55-13 victory. He rumbled for 205 yards and two touchdowns on 19 carries. Hidalgo returned a punt 66 yards for a TD.