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Central Valleys, Ceres Highs varsity track and field athletes expect to do well
Gykisha Smith should have another stellar season for Ceres Highs girls track and field team. She finished 20th in the 100 hurdles (16.07) at Sac-Joaquin Section Championships last year. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley's and Ceres High's varsity boys track and field teams tied for third place in the Western Athletic Conference dual-meet standings last year.

The crosstown rivals posted identical 3-3 records.

The Hawks and Bulldogs will be striving for improvement in 2014.

Ja'Quan Gardner (Sr.), Jose Uribe (Sr.), Cristian Romo (Sr.), Kenneth Padilla (Sr.), Ozzie Ramos (Sr.), Ben Saldana (Jr.) and Angelo Bermudez (Jr.) will lead Central Valley's boys squad.

Gardner placed 18th in the 100 (11.40) at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet in 2013. Ja'Quan took fifth at Divisionals (11.38). He finished second in the 100 (11.17) and sixth in the 200 (23.75) at the Western Athletic Conference finals.

Padilla placed second in the pole vault (11-0) and tied for third in the high jump (5-4) at the WAC Championships. Kenneth set a persona l record while taking ninth in the pole vault (12-1) at Divisionals.

Uribe placed third in the discus (120-10) and ninth in the shot put (36-11) at the conference meet.

Bermudez placed fourth in the 100 (11.44) and 10th in the 200 (24.31).

Saldana was awarded an all-WAC patch during the cross country season. Ben took sixth at the league finals. He finished 53rd at Divisionals.

A newcomer to track and field, Ramos will compete in the 400 and 200. He will also be a member of Central Valley's 4x400 relay team (Ramos, Inayat Sahota, Ben Saldana, Daniel Lepe). Ozzie's main sport is soccer. He earned a scholarship to San Diego State.

"We don't have a lot of depth but we have a lot of talent," Hawks leader Mike Reynolds said. "That will carry us throughout the season. This is probably the best boys team I've ever coached."

Judas Chavarin (Sr.), Jacob Edwards (Sr.), Tomas Rocha (Sr.), Manuel Baez (Jr.), Luis Calderon (Jr.), Tristan Dray (Jr.), Kevin Moita (Jr.), Ricky Valenzuela (Jr.), Ulises Diaz (So.), Seth Gibson (So.) and Austin Stiles (So.) will lead Ceres High's boys team.

Dray placed first in the 110 hurdles (15.81) and third in the 300 hurdles (44.83) at the 2013 WAC Championships.

Edwards placed third in the long jump (18-41/4) and triple jump (38-51/2).

Chavarin placed third in the 1,600 (4:55.10).

Stiles, a transfer from Modesto Christian, will compete in the high jump, triple jump and 200.

Austin will also team up with Moita, Chavarin and Dray in the 4x400 relay.

He suit up for Ceres High's varsity boys basketball team during the winter.

Heaven Simon (Jr.), Sherlyn Hernandez (Sr.), Emerald Gutierrez (So.), Kristie Del Valle (Fr.) and Karina Miranda (Sr.) will lead Central Valley's girls team, which finished fifth in the WAC dual-meet standings (2-4) a year ago.

"We're going to be competitive," Reynolds said. "We're not going to get walked over."
Simon had a sensational sophomore season with the Hawks. She won the 400 (1:03.45) and finished second in both the 200 (26.60) and 300 hurdles (51.56) at the WAC Championships. She set personal records while placing third in the 400 (59.59) and fourth in the 300 hurdles (47.24) at Divisionals. She took 16th in the 300 hurdles (47.51) at Masters.

Hernandez placed third in the 100 (13.11) at the conference finals.

Simon, Gutierrez, Hernandez and Del Valle make up the Hawks' 4x100 relay team.

Transfers Else Smith (Hughson) and Mikayla Mabie (Turlock) will be eligible to compete this month.
Gykisha Smith (Sr.), Kyla Bassard (Sr.), Lisette Carretero, Jr.; Kyndal Chapman (Jr.), Nichole Parker (Jr.), Claudia Ruiz (Jr.), Jeanette Torrez (Jr.), Azia Brewster, Fr.; Mallynda Benjamin (Fr.) and Claudia Jimenez (Fr.) will lead Ceres High's girls.

The Bulldogs compiled a near-perfect 5-1 record on their way to a runner-up finish during the 2013 WAC dual-meet season.

Smith, a newcomer last season, took 20th in the 100 hurdles (16.07) at the Masters meet.
Gykisha took fifth in the 100 hurdles (16.11) at Divisionals.

She placed second in the 100 hurdles (16.17) and fourth in the 100 (13.39) at the conference finals.

Parker placed fourth in the shot put (28-2) during the league championships.

"We have a great group of kids," Ceres High coach Brett Johnson said. "They're working hard."