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CHS, CV conclude volleyball season
Jessie Villalobos coach Heese
Five members of Ceres High’s boys volleyball program were recognized before playing their final home match on Senior Night at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium on April 27. Pictured: Jessie Villalobos, Rajneel Singh, Yair Munoz, coach Kelly Heese, Bryce Piatt and Miguel Rivera.

Central Valley’s and Ceres High’s boys volleyball programs placed sixth and last in their respective leagues this spring.

The Hawks compiled a program-best 10-10 overall record and finished 4-8 in the Central California Conference.

Merced (12-0) won the CCC title.

El Capitan (10-2) and Golden Valley (10-2) took second and third, respectively.

Buhach Colony (5-7) and Patterson (5-7) tied for fourth.

Atwater (0-12) was last.

Central Valley topped Atwater twice and Buhach Colony and Golden Valley once in conference play.

“I had a good group of kids,” Hawks’ first-year head coach Donald Dudley said. “We didn’t have any behavorial issues. The kids competed hard every night. They can hold their heads up high.”

Central Valley closed out the season with a 3-1 victory over Atwater on Senior Night on April 26.

“The full team was there for the first time in weeks,” Dudley said. “Nobody had to play out of position. They kids were comfortable.”

Guillermo Garibay, Bernardo Pulido, Yoshi Kumar, Gerardo Pantoja, Gage Mastropierro, Andrew Dong and Elias Vasquez helped the Hawks snap a six-match losing streak.

“They had fun,” Dudley said. “They played stress-free.”

Garibay had 29 assists, 15 digs, two aces and one kill.

Pulido had 25 digs, three kills and three assists.

Kumar had 23 kills, 21 digs, three aces, two assists and one block.

Pantoja had 11 kills, eight digs, six assists, two aces and two blocks.

Mastropierro had seven digs, three kills and two blocks.

Dong had seven blocks and two kills.

Vasquez had six digs, two aces, one kill and one block.

Garibay, Pulido, Kumar, Vasquez and Osvaldo Pelayo will be lost to graduation.

Kumar was a four-year varsity standout.

“It’s going to be hard to replace a kid like that,” Dudley said. “He was motivated. He was very vocal. He was an on-court coach. He was a positive presence.”

Pantoja, Mastropierro and Dong will be counted up more next season.

The Bulldogs went 2-17 and 1-14 in the Western Athletic Conference.

Lathrop (15-0), Mountain House (11-4), Pacheco (10-5), Los Banos (4-11) and Grace Davis (4-11) took first, second, third, fourth and fifth, respectively.

Ceres High collected its lone victory against Los Banos.

“I felt like there was progress throughout the season,” Bulldogs’ first-year head coach Kelly Heese said. “There was a lot of improvement in all areas. They competed. They improved mentally and fundamentally.”

Ceres High closed out the WAC season with back-to-back losses.

The Bulldogs dropped their final eight matches.

Ceres High lost 3-0 to visiting Pacheco on Senior Night at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium on April 27.

Ceres High fell 3-1 at Mountain House on April 25.

Ceres High will lose five players to graduation, including Yair Munoz, Bryce Piatt, Miguel Rivera, Rajneel Singh and Jessie Villalobos.

Isaiah De La Torre, David Flores, Ethan Oiteraong, Andre Pina and Isaiah Rodriguez will fill bigger roles on the team next year.

“I hope they put in work during the offseason to better themselves,” Heese said. “You can’t sit idle from one season to the next if you expect to compete.”

“I’m willing to bring in new athletes and build the program from scratch,” she added.


Ceres High’s swim program closed out the 2022 season at the Western Athletic Conference Championships this past month at Mountain House High School.

The Bulldogs competed with a depleted roster.

“Our finals were set up during spring break,” Bulldogs’ head coach Kayla Himmist said. “A lot of students weren’t able to make it because they were on vacation.”

Ceres High’s varsity girls team totaled 136 points en route to a seventh-place finish at the WAC Championships.

Beyer (408), Los Banos (329), Mountain House (284), Grace Davis (260), Pacheco (223) and Lathrop (186) took first, second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.

Johnasen (98) was last.

Amber Hopwood and Reagan Hensley led the Bulldogs.

Hopwood, a sophomore, placed fifth in the 100 breast and ninth in the 100 free.

“It was her first year on the team,” Himmist said. “She pushed herself to get competitive. That showed up during some of her final races.

Hensley, a sophomore, placed fifth in the 100 back and ninth in the 500 free.

“She’s very competitive and dedicated to improving,” Himmist said. “She’s following in her older sister Katie’s footsteps.”

Elise Cannella, a senior, placed 13th in the 50 free.

Makayla Hair, a junior, placed 13th in the 100 back and 15th in the 50 free.

Maci Farinha, a sophomore, placed 15th in the 100 fly.

Ceres High’s junior-varsity girls posted a team score of 177 on their way to a fourth-place showing at the WAC Finals.

Haley Gaskill placed fifth in the 50 breast and sixth in the 50 fly.

Alana Inahara placed fifth in the 100 IM and seventh in the 50 breast.

Megan Sather placed sixth in the 100 IM and 100 back.

Camilla Orellano placed eighth in the 100 free and 10th in the 50 free.

Evelin Aguirre placed ninth in the 100 free and 14th in the 50 free.

“This year was a building year,” Himmist said. “We didn’t have too many returners. The progress they were able to make from first day to finals was really amazing.”