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Condit, CHS boys golf expect to dominate competition
Crosstown-rival Central Valley face a rebuilding year
Ceres High returns a host of talent and experience from last years team in 2017, including WAC first-team honoree Gary Condit. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Gary Condit took a year off from basketball to focus on another sport.

"I had a chip on my shoulder not winning MVP and missing Masters by two strokes," said Condit, a sophomore standout on Ceres High's varsity boys golf team. "I know I could have played better. It's motivation for this season."

Condit and the Bulldogs have high expectations for the 2017 campaign.

Ceres High claimed its first-ever Western Athletic Conference overall championship and returned to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the sixth year in a row last spring. The Bulldogs placed first with an 11-1 record during the WAC dual season. Ceres High also bested all competitors at the conference's mid-season and year-end tournaments.

"We have the talent to win league again," Condit said.

The Bulldogs' battled-tested starting lineup features Condit, Jayden Panyanouvong (So.), Jake Nevarez (Jr.), Braden Hurst (So.), James Cervantez (Sr.) and Zac Chapman (Sr.).

Condit and Panyanouvong were both selected to the WAC First Team as freshmen.

Gary nearly claimed the conference MVP award. Condit ranked second in the conference's individual standings with a slope and rating average of 5.69.

"I got to move on and try my best again to win MVP," Condit said. "But that's not my main goal. I want to make it to Masters and help my team win league again. Golf is all mental. I worked on that (staying focused) all summer. Practice makes perfect."

Jayden (9.39) was the fourth-best player in the WAC.

Jake (11.64) earned second-team all-conference honors.

Nevarez ranked 10th in the WAC's individual standings.

Cervantez and Chapman were first-team all-conference selections their sophomore years.

"Everybody has improved," Condit said.

Ceres High's WAC schedule includes a total of eight tournaments, including mid-season and year-end events.

Teams play 18 holes of golf instead of nine.

The Bulldogs will face Central Valley, Livingston, Patterson, Pacheco and Los Banos.

The crosstown-rival Hawks posted a 4-8 record on their way to placing sixth in the WAC's overall standings in 2016. Central Valley will compete with a revamped roster this spring as five of its six starters are newcomers.

The Hawks' lone returnee is Efrain Garcia (Jr.).

"He's the only one with experience," Central Valley head coach Mike Holliday said.

Johnny Velazquez (Sr.), Jonathan Barragan (Sr.), Kadin Richardson (Fr.), Jacob Hendrix (Fr.) and Thomas Carrillo (Fr.) round out Central Valley's starting lineup.

"We're starting over this year," Holliday said. "We got a lot of underclassmen. I'd like to see them have fun and put up some good scores."

Velazquez and Barragan led the Hawks' varsity football team to new heights this past fall. Central Valley captured its first-ever conference title. The Hawks won all five of their WAC games. Central Valley also participated in the playoffs for the third time in four years.

"Both of them are competitive," Holliday said. "They have an inherent drive to get better. They expect to be successful. I wouldn't be surprised at all if they made it to Divisionals."