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Bulldogs drop pair of water polo matches to Spartans
• Ceres High girls place fifth, boys finish last in Western Athletic Conference
CHS girls water polo team  fifth WAC
Ceres High’s girls water polo team finished in fifth place in the Western Athletic Conference standings with a 6-7-1 record. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Ceres High’s water polo program faced the visiting Grace Davis Spartans during the final week of the Western Athletic Conference season.

Ceres High’s girls team lost 15-5 to Grace Davis on Senior Day on Oct. 24. 

“It was a pretty emotional night,” said Coach Stephen Dias. “When you coach a kid for three to four years, it’s hard to say goodbye.”

Nine upperclassmen suited up for the Bulldogs for the final time, including Evelin Aguirre, Lilian Blevins, Mikaela Canchola, Kimberly Flores, Haley Gaskill, Makynzie Hale, Amber Hopwood, Isla Hore and Arleth Sanchez.

“We’re losing a big chunk of our players. They created a good environment and dynamic in the pool. They were committed. They were a fun group to work with.”

The Bulldogs compiled a 6-7-1 record enroute to placing fifth overall in the WAC standings.

Ceres High finished ahead of Mountain House (4-10), Pacheco (2-12) and Lathrop (0-14).

Beyer (14-0), Grace Davis (12-2), Johansen (10-4) and Los Banos (7-6-1) took first, second, third and fourth, respectively.

“They didn’t get to where they wanted to be,” said Dias, whose team missed the playoffs for the third year in a row. “I’m still proud of them. I told them how much I care about them.”

Amber Hopwood scored a team-high two goals during Ceres High’s season-finale loss.

Gaskill, Lilian Blevins and Jessie Blevins all contributed one goal.

“The kids played a really solid game. We didn’t hand the game to them. They earned it.”

Jessie Blevins and Kaylee Clindaniel will both fill even bigger roles on next year’s team.

“We still have a handful of kids that are really good."

Ceres High’s boys team lost 21-11 to Grace Davis.

“I think it was one of the best games we’ve played even though it didn’t result in the outcome we wanted,” said Angelique Huerta, first-year head coach of the Bulldogs. “The boys had more drive.”

“It’s a totally different team from the beginning of the season until now,” she added. “Their communication got so much better. They grew into a family. I’m proud of them.”

Upperclassmen Jesus Valdovinos, Jesus Madrigal and Shawn Janis represented the Bulldogs one last time.

Valdovinos and Madrigal were both leaders.

“They worked hard at practice and encouraged everybody on the team,” Huerta said.

The Bulldogs placed last in the WAC standings with a 0-12 record.

Beyer (12-0), Grace Davis (10-2), Pacheco (8-4), Johansen (5-7), Mountain House (4-8) and Los Banos (3-9) took first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Lathrop didn’t field a team this season.

“I think it’s a good starting season for me,” Huerta said. “I got to know everybody and their skill level. The biggest challenge this year was teaching everybody how to swim correctly and play the game. They did show improvement in everything during the second half (of league).”

Ceres High could welcome back as many as 12 players from this year’s team next fall, including Miles Cabling, Isaac Camorlinga, Eli Farinha, Mateo Gonzalez, Julian Hernandez, Jackson Kidd, Jesus Sanchez Olea, Rowan Ramirez, Elijah Rodriguez, Abel Samaniego and Von Tigner.

“I’ll have a whole returning team and some newcomers,” Huerta said. “Hopefully, we can build the team up from there.”