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CHS boys soccer team finishes third in WAC due to standout performers
Victor Hurtado and Hugo Mercado
Five members of Ceres High’s varsity boys soccer program earned Western Athletic Conference accolades for their stellar play this spring, including Victor Hurtado and Hugo Mercado. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High varsity boys soccer team finished in third place in the Western Athletic Conference this season thanks in large part to the play of Antonio Medina, Victor Hurtado, Hassiel Ruiz, Matthew Sanchez and Hugo Mercado.

Medina, Hurtado, Ruiz, Sanchez and Mercado all earned special recognition during the WAC’s year-end coaches’ meeting on Feb. 17 at Pacheco High School.

“I’m happy,” Bulldogs’ first-year leader Gilbert Zamora said. “The other coaches respect my players. They know how good they are.”

Medina, Ruiz and Hurtado were all named to the WAC First Team.

Sanchez and Mercado both received second-team all-league honors.

Medina, a sophomore forward, tallied 14 goals and two assists.

He was sidelined for several games after having nose surgery to improve his breathing.

“There was a possibility he could miss the whole season,” Zamora said. “He got a release from his doctor. He came in at a perfect time. We were having issues scoring. He made our offense stronger. Whenever you have a player like Antonio, it makes it easier on the other players. He’s the type of player that needs to be double-covered otherwise he’ll do some damage. He gives defenders a lot of problems. He’s really technical, very quick and good with the ball.”

Ruiz (senior), Hurtado (Sr.) and Sanchez (So.) excelled on defense.

The Bulldogs posted five shutouts and allowed 18 goals in 14 conference games.

“They made a big difference,” Zamora said. “They made the team better.”

Mercado, a senior attacking midfielder, contributed four goals and four assists. 

“He was our second-leading scorer,” Zamora said. “He’s a really good offensive player one-on-one. He wins a lot of matchups.”

Ceres High amassed an 8-2-4 record against WAC competition.