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CHS boys, girls cross country to vie for continued excellence
Luis Yepez and Jackie Rodriguez
Ceres High’s cross country program returns several key runners from last year, including Luis Yepez and Jackie Rodriguez. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High’s varsity girls and boys cross country teams placed second and third, respectively, in the Western Athletic Conference overall standings last fall.

The Bulldogs will be vying for continued excellence in 2019. 

“Having a successful season to us means getting faster each week, having PRs and qualifying more individuals to section finals,” head coach Katie Thiele said. 

Jackie Rodriguez (Sr.), Gabby Soto (Jr.), Elizabeth Mercado (Jr.) and Wendi Lizola (Jr.) will lead Ceres High’s girls team this year.

“If we have the right mindset and determination, we can have a really good season,” Rodriguez said. 

Rodriguez, Soto and Mercado are returners.

Lizola is a newcomer.

Rodriguez, Mercado and Soto placed 17th, 29th and 42nd at the 2018 WAC Championships.

“It’s my last year so I want to make the most out of it,” Rodriguez said. “I want to be a great leader for my teammates. I feel I’ll be able to meet most of my goals. My mindset is a lot stronger because I put in a lot more preparation.”

Luis Yepez (Jr.), Bryan Erenas (Sr.), Fabian Amparo (Sr.), Gonzalo Rivera (Jr.) and Ronaldo Flores (So.) will lead Ceres High’s boys team.

 Yepez and Erenas are returners.

Amparo, Rivera and Flores are newcomers.

“We want to surpass what we did last year,” Yepez said. 

Yepez made a name for himself during his first season of cross country.

He claimed a seventh-place medal at the WAC finals.

Yepez finished 42nd at the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships and 41st at the Division-III competition.

Erenas took 24th at the league championships.

“I honestly did surprise myself last year,” Yepez said. “I didn’t think I’d be a major part of the team because it was my first year. Cross country is very challenging. You go through a lot of pain. Your legs start to tire out. The weather in unbearable.”

The Bulldogs will compete against the Los Banos Tigers, Pacheco Panthers, Beyer Patriots, Grace Davis Spartans, Johansen Vikings, Lathrop Spartans and Mountain House Mustangs during the WAC season.

Ceres High’s girls compiled a 6-1 record while finishing in second place during the 2018 conference dual campaign.

Ceres High’s boy won four of their seven league dual meets en route to a third-place finish.

“The passion she (Thiele) has for the sport rubs off on all of us,” Rodriguez said. “We have a drive in us from her.”