By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
CHS coaches reward multi-sport athletes Pata, Gibson
Julia a standout in three sports, Seth in two
Senior Seth Gibson was named Ceres Highs Male Athlete of the Year. Gibson starred in track and field and football. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Senior Seth Gibson and junior Julia Pata were both pulled out of their fifth-period classes during the last day of school.

Ceres High Athletic Director Shawna Nunes presented Bulldog Male and Female Athlete of the Year awards to the multi-sport standouts on June 1.

"It means a lot to me," Pata said. "It really wasn't a goal of mine. When it happened, I was really shocked. Nicole Bates goes to the same school as me. And she's got it two years in a row. She's a great athlete. She's a great person. I look up to her."

"It feels good to get recognized for something I've worked for the last four years," Gibson said. "I definitely exceeded my expectations. I give credit to coach Brett Johnson. He pushed me to be successful in both sports."

Gibson earned five varsity letters during his prep athletic career, including three in track and field and two in football.

Seth finished 15th in the 110 hurdles (15.51) at the 2016 Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Track & Field Championships.

He placed fourth at the Division IV-V meet (15.26) and first at the Western Athletic Conference finals (15.24) in the same event.

Gibson also anchored Ceres High's winning 4x100 relay team at the WAC competition.

"It was not easy," Seth said while talking about the process of developing into a star hurdler. "I went through hours of YouTube videos. I read countless articles. I practiced a lot. I wish I could have gone further this year. I peaked too early in the season and got inside my own head."

Gibson was named the WAC's Most Outstanding Special Teams Player in football this past fall.

He totaled 776 yards and two touchdowns on 26 kickoff returns. Seth averaged 29.8 yards per touch.

"It was scary seeing 11 dudes running full speed at you," said Gibson, who also caught 26 passes for 410 yards and one TD.

Gibson racked up 1,274 all-purpose yards and seven touchdowns.

Pata earned seven varsity letters during her first three years at Ceres High, including three in both swimming and water polo, and one in track and field.

"I'm a very competitive person," Julia said. "But I don't like to show it. It has a lot to do with my parents, and how they raised me, and my coaches."

Pata did two sports this spring-swimming for the third year in a row and track and field for the first time.

"It added a whole lot more stress to my life," she said. "But I was able to manage my time very well."

Pata placed 16th in the 100 free (55.21) and 24th in the 200 free (2:00.72) at the Sac-Joaquin Section Swimming Championships. She set personal records in both events.

Julia swept the 200 free (2:04.23) and 100 breast (1:14.84) at the WAC finals. She finished first in the 50 free and 100 free her sophomore and freshman years.

"When I'm on the blocks, all I'm thinking about is what I need to be doing as a swimmer," Pata said. "I'm not worried who's next to me."

A newcomer to the sport of track and field, Pata advanced to the Masters Championships.

She placed 22nd in the shot put (31-13/4).

Julia finished fifth (33-111/4) at Divisionals.

Pata took second in the shot put (33-6) and third in the discus (97-1) at the WAC finals.

Julia shocked just about everybody in attendance when she uncorked a throw of 39 feet, two inches to win the shot put at the Modesto Junior College Invitational.

Pata obliterated the old meet record of 35-7, which was set in 2011.

"It was a really great experience," said Pata, who was in junior high when she last competed in track and field. "I wasn't expecting to be good at it."

A standout in water polo last fall, Pata was selected to the WAC First Team.

She helped lead the Bulldogs past Pacheco twice and Livingston once.

Pata totaled 14 goals despite being hounded by multiple defenders.

"My goal is to do two sports again next spring," she said. "I want to better my times in swimming. I don't know how much faster I can get. I'm hoping to represent Ceres High at the state competition in track and field."

Seth will enroll at Cal State Stanislaus.

He's considering joining the Warriors' track and field program as a walk-on.

Gibson will be rooting for younger brother Andrew, who will be a junior at Ceres High this fall. Andrew excelled in football and track and field at the junior-varsity level as a sophomore.

"I see him at home every day," Seth said. "I have to be a role model for him. I want him to be better than me. I think Andrew can be great. I'd like to see him get the same award."