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CHS girls’ cross country first at WAC’s third cluster meet
Evelyn Alvarez
Evelyn Alvarez helped lead Ceres High’s girls cross country team to a first-place finish at the Western Athletic Conference’s third cluster meet on Oct. 12 at O’Neill Forebay. - photo by Photo courtesy of StanCo Distance

Ceres High School’s girls cross country team turned in a surprising performance during the Western Athletic Conference’s third cluster meet.

The Bulldogs totaled 54 points en route to a first-place showing at O’Neill Forebay on Oct. 12. 

Ceres High bested Mountain House (56), Los Banos (59), Lathrop (64) and Beyer (99).

“It shows they’re making progress,” Bulldogs’ head coach Owen Brown said. “They haven’t peaked yet.”

Ceres High took fourth during the WAC’s first two clusters. The Bulldogs missed taking third at both meets by a combined eight points.

“That’s why I was optimistic,” Brown said. “But I didn’t think they’d get first. It was very close.”

Brianna Luna, Jaden Stahl, Evelyn Alvarez, Stephanie Espinoza and Erica Vieira all contributed to the Bulldogs’ point total during the third cluster meet.

Luna (23:59), Stahl (24:01), Alvarez (24:16), Espinoza (27:32) and Vieira (28:52) placed fifth, sixth, seventh, 19th and 21st, respectively, on the 3-mile course.

Ceres High teammates Jelaine Esguerra (31:34) and Priscilla Ibarra (34:21) finished 29th and 37th.

Luna, Stahl, Alvarez and Vieira all set personal records.

Espinoza had a successful debut after being promoted from Ceres High’s junior-varsity team.

“I was hoping that was going to help us and it did,” Brown said.

Erick Valladares-Ponce, Cesar Bolanos-Aleman, Simon Pezzoni, Eduardo Garcia and Diego Ayala helped lead Ceres High’s boys cross country team to a fifth-place finish at the WAC’s third cluster meet.

Beyer (29), Mountain House (35), Lathrop (85), Pacheco (119), Johansen (190) and Los Banos 9209) took first, second, third, fourth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

The Bulldogs finished seventh during the previous two meets.

“They performed better,” Brown said. “I attribute it to their dedication in practice.”

Valladares-Ponce placed 22nd with a time of 19:27 on the 3-mile course.

He was also Ceres High’s top finisher the previous two meets.

“He’s consistent,” Brown said. “He’s put in the most effort and is getting the best results.”

Bolanos-Aleman (20:12), Pezzoni (20:46), Garcia (21:57), Ayala (21:59), Salvador Erenas-Rios (22:19), Reymundo Soto (22:26), Gabriel Sandoval (22:41), Paul Ruiz (23:34), Alejandro Plantillas-Rosas (26:47) and Javier Torres (27:16) finished 29th, 33rd, 41st, 43rd, 45th, 46th, 47th, 55th, 61st and 63rd, respectively.

The Bulldogs will compete at the WAC Championships on Oct. 27 at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park.