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CHS players receive conference accolades
Garcia, Crain both first-team all-WAC picks
Austin Crain (1) and Wyatt Ogden (2) filled key roles while leading Ceres Highs first-ever varsity boys volleyball team to a fourth-place finish in the WAC standings. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Cristian Garcia, Austin Crain, Wyatt Ogden and Juan Palafox all filled key roles while leading Ceres High's inaugural varsity boys volleyball team to a fourth-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference this spring.

Garcia, Crain, Ogden and Palafox were recognized in a vote by the WAC's head coaches on May 11 at Los Banos High School.

"They were crucial parts of our team," Bulldogs head coach Darlene Tobler said.

Garcia and Crain were both selected to the WAC First Team.

Cristian led Ceres High in kills (131) and blocks (51).

He collected 34 digs and 15 assists as well.

Garcia averaged 13.0 points and 8.1 rebounds on his way to earning second-team all-conference honors for his outstanding play in basketball during the winter sports season.

"He's young," Tobler said. "He's only a sophomore. He's extremely athletic. He has a lot of drive. He puts his whole heart into what he's doing. He loves the sport."

Austin ranked first on the team in digs (241), and second in aces (37) and third in kills (58).

The junior also had six assists.

"He was a solid, all-round player," Tobler said.

Ogden was named to the WAC Second Team.

The junior ranked first in assists (156), second in blocks (22), third in aces (25) and fourth in kills (42).

"He played every position," Tobler said.

Palafox, a senior, earned honorable-mention accolades.
Juan ranked first in aces (39), second in digs (230), kills (65) and assists (28), and third in blocks (11).

He just missed earning second-team all-conference honors.

"He did receive votes," Tobler said. "Juan really brought our team together. That made a difference in our team play."

Austin, Wyatt and Juan were team captains for the Bulldogs, who posted an 8-6 record while finishing behind Stoneridge Christian (13-1), Patterson (12-2) and El Capitan (10-4) in the WAC standings.

Ceres High lost 3-2 (25-11, 23-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-11) and 3-1 (25-22, 18-25, 25-23, 25-22) to WAC champion/Sac-Joaquin Section playoff qualifier Stoneridge Christian.

Ceres High split with postseason-participant El Capitan.

The Bulldogs defeated the Gauchos 3-0 (25-22, 25-23, 25-18) on April 18 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.

Ceres High also beat Livingston, Central Valley and Los Banos twice, and Pacheco once.

The Bulldogs earned bragging rights against the crosstown Hawks.

Ceres High bested Central Valley 3-0 (26-24, 25-12, 25-21) and 3-2 (25-11, 23-25, 25-21, 24-26, 15-11).

"They exceeded my expectations," Tobler said.

Garcia, Crain and Ogden will try to lead the Bulldogs to their first playoff appearance next spring.

"I'm really excited about where our team can go," Tobler said. "We have a ton of potential."