Ceres High’s Gary Condit and Azar Harrison have been named the Courier’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year for the 2019 spring sports season.
Condit and Harrison starred in boys golf and girls track and field, respectively.
“I’m proud of everything I’ve done the past three years,” Harrison said. “The support from the coaches (Brett Johnson and Katie Thiele) pushed me the most. They had me doing harder workouts to improve my endurance. I’m definitely going to miss them and the teammates I had.”
“My dream was to be a college basketball player,” said Condit, a repeat winner. “It changed after I fell in love with golf (in the ninth grade). It takes not having a social life to get really good.”
Condit cemented his legacy as arguably Ceres High’s greatest golfer by claiming his third consecutive Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player award and finishing first at the conference year-end tournament for the fourth year in a row.
“To me, it’s just another award,” he said. “I always tried to put the team first.”
Condit carded a 3-over-par 75 en route to placing first at the WAC Year-End Tournament on April 29 at Diablo Grande.
He birdied three of the course’s four par-5 holes.
Condit shot a career-best 74 while taking first at the WAC Mid-Season Tournament for the third year in a row on April 5 at Diablo Grande.
He was undefeated against conference dual competition his senior, sophomore and freshman years.
His two losses in 2018 were to Ceres High teammate Jayden Panyanouvong, a four-time first-team all-WAC selection.
“Growing up, I played basketball from second grade to freshman year,” Condit said. “I knew if I wanted to be great in golf, I had to give it (basketball) up. My friends would invite me to pickup games. I’d have to tell them no. I couldn’t risk getting injured. I put golf in front of a lot of things. I practiced on Super Bowl Sunday, Christmas and Easter. All the holidays you can think of. It was that important.”
Condit and the Bulldogs had their streak of winning consecutive WAC titles snapped at three seasons in 2019.
Ceres High bounced back in a big way by making program history as it claimed its first section title—the Division-IV banner—at Elkhorn Golf Club on May 6 in Stockton.
“That trumps any individual award,” he said. “It’s still shocking. I’m very proud of my teammates. Everybody stepped up.”
Condit followed in the footsteps of 2002 Ceres High grad Ryan Thornberry by becoming an all-time great.
Thornberry was a three-time winner of the Central California Conference MVP award. He placed first twice at the conference championships. Thornberry helped lead the Bulldogs to a perfect 18-0 record in the CCC regular-season standings his senior year.
“I got my work ethic from my dad (Chad),” Condit said. “He (Thornberry) helped me develop all aspects of my game.”
Condit works part-time for Thornberry’s family business, River Oaks Golf Course in Ceres.
“My game wouldn’t be where it’s at today without Ryan Thornberry,” Condit said. “He’s more than a coach. He’s a friend. It’s beyond special. I can call or text him whenever I need to. He’s always there to work with me. I’m very lucky.”
Condit will enroll at Stanislaus State this fall.
Thornberry enjoyed a success-filled career with the Warriors.
“My practice schedule is going to increase this summer,” said Condit, who plans on joining the men’s college team as a walk-on player.
Harrison had a breakout year while competing in the 800 for the first time during her final season with the Bulldogs.
She made program history at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Championship on May 8 at Cesar Chavez High School in Stockton.
Harrison finished first in a school-record time of 2:21.19.
The previous record of 2:22.90 was set by Diljeet Dosanjh Taylor 24 years ago.
“It was shocking,” she said. “I never thought I’d break that record. I was 12 seconds off at the beginning of the season.”
“When I’m running the 800, the last 300 is my favorite part,” Harrison added. “You switch from a stride to a sprint.”
Harrison placed 16th overall (2:22.29) during the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters meet at Davis Sr. High School.
She took first in the 800 (2:27.69) and third in the 400 (1:00.86) at the Western Athletic Conference Championships. She also teamed up with Destiny Suarez, Bella Curry and Bianca De Los Reyes to win the 4x400 relay.
Harrison filled a major role as Ceres High finished second overall in the WAC dual standings (6-1).
Harrison improved her 800 time by 14 seconds during the course of the season.
“I didn’t think I’d improve that much,” she said. “I’m proud of myself.”
Harrison joined the track and field program as a sophomore to meet friends.
She attended high school in Seattle her freshman year.
“I usually stayed at home when I lived in Washington,” she said. “I’d draw, paint or read. I’d go to my friend’s house and eat junk food. I didn’t have something to work for. I didn’t care much about school. I just wanted to have fun.”
Harrison will focus on the 800 in college, possibly at Modesto JC or Stanislaus State.
“I’m undecided where I’m going,” she said. “I plan on continuing my track and field career. It’s a great way to stay in shape, meet new people, and set new goals and break them.”