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CHS boys, girls water polo optimistic about season
Dawgs will begin WAC campaign this week
Timothy Campbell will fill a major role on Ceres Highs varsity boys water polo team for the second year in a row. Campbell scored 12 goals last season. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High School's varsity boys water polo team lost three standout players to graduation, including two-time Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player Zachary Jones, Sean Carr and Erik Weststeyn.

Senior Cole Silva will be sidelined for the majority of the season while recovering from a back injury sustained in a dirt-bike accident earlier this month.

"That's a huge loss for us," Bulldogs head coach Tracy Bull said. "Cole was our hole-set defender. He would have been our second-leading scorer. The earliest he could return would be the last game of the season."

Bull believes this year's team will thrive despite having to deal with key losses.

"We'll be competitive," Bull said. "We have a lot of weapons. We'll figure out a way to get into the playoffs."

Timothy Campbell (Sr.), Bobby Baranski (Sr.) and Fernando Olmos (Jr.), Ceres High's three team captains, will lead the way.

"They got a lot of game experience," Bull said.

Campbell earned second-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors as a junior.

Timothy scored 12 goals in four games.

He missed part of the season with an elbow injury.

Olmos and Baranski were honorable-mention picks.

Fernando ranked first on the team in assists (29). He also had 11 goals and 21 steals.
Baranski chipped in with eight goals.

"Tim will be the most dominant player in league as far as physicality," Bull said. "He's a strong kid. He'll have the greenlight to shoot whenever he wants. I've never seen a guy shoot the ball harder. It's scary."

Logan Kier (Jr.), Xavier Camarillo (Jr.), Noah Rantz (Jr.) and Caleb Bishop (Jr.), Blake Borba (Sr.), Tristan Freitas-Scott (Jr.), Ethan Letras (So.), Joseph Rodriguez (So.) and Nicholas Webb (So.) will be counted upon as well.

Borba, Letras, Rodriguez and Webb are newcomers.

Borba will replace Carr.

"I like what I see in them," Bull said. "Blake is pretty fearless."

Ceres High posted an 8-3 overall record, finished second in the WAC standings (6-2) and qualified for the playoffs last fall.

The Bulldogs will look to extend their streak of consecutive postseason appearances to four seasons this year.

The top two teams in conference play will be awarded playoff berths.

"We want to be one of those teams," Bull said. "We certainly can be."

Ceres High's varsity girls water polo team struggled to a 1-7 record on its way to a last-place finish in the WAC standings in 2014.

The Bulldogs will strive for improvement this year.

Ceres High will rely heavily on veteran players Julia Pata (Jr.) and Annie Connors (Sr.).

Kaitlyn Foster (Jr.), Lindsey Reedy (Jr.) and Ashley Schmidt (Sr.), Noelia de Leon (So.) and Camryn Silva (Fr.) will also contribute.

Reedy and de Leon competed at the junior-varsity level last season.

Pata and Connors were both selected to the WAC Second Team last fall.

Julia scored 12 goals in league play her sophomore year.
She earned first-team all-conference honors as a freshman.

Foster and Moore were honorable-mention selections a season ago.

Ceres High compiled a 2-1 record at the 2015 WAC Jamboree.

The Bulldogs collected wins against Pacheco and Livingston. Ceres High lost to Los Banos.

The top two teams in the WAC qualify for the postseason. Ceres High made history in 2012 by securing its first-ever playoff berth.