Ceres High’s Gary Condit and Central Valley’s Aryanna Jimenez have been named the Courier’s Male and Female Athletes of the Year, respectively, for the 2018 spring sports season.
Condit (boys golf) and Jimenez (girls swimming) both enjoyed success-filled campaigns.
Just a sophomore, Jimenez made a name for herself in the pool.
She was a double-winner at the Western Athletic Conference Championships on April 28 at Los Banos’ Pacheco High School.
Aryanna swept the 100 free and 50 free.
She set personal records in both events.
She was seeded third in the 100 free and fifth in the 50 free.
“I really surprised myself with how far I went. It took a lot of hard work.”Aryanna Jimenez
“I really surprised myself with how far I went,” Jimenez said. “It took a lot of hard work.”
Aryanna led from start to finish while taking first in the 50 free.
She edged out Hawk senior Leilani Ortiz for the title.
Jimenez finished behind Ortiz four times during the WAC dual season.
“Even though we were rivals, we wanted the best for each other,” Aryanna said. “We gave each other advice. We cheered each other on. We definitely helped each other improve.”
Jimenez improved her time by a second in the 100 free.
She took second in the 100 free and did not place in the 50 free at the 2017 WAC Finals.
“I was definitely motivated,” Aryanna said. “I wanted to improve. I wanted to win a league title. I thought I’d place in the 100 free but not first. I felt like I had a better shot at winning the 50 free. I was confident.”
Jimenez benefited from competing in another sport during the wintertime.
“My freshman year, I wasn’t as dedicated,” she said. “I wasn’t in the best shape. Wrestling improved my endurance. I was 10 pounds lighter. That really helped.”
Aryanna joined elite company this spring.
Past individual conference champions from Central Valley include Taylor Rogers (class of 2011) and Cierra Alvear (2011).
“I’m really happy with how I did,” Jimenez said. “There’s definitely going to be more pressure next year. But I feel confident. We’re going into a bigger league so I’m going to work even harder. It’s going to make me a stronger swimmer. I definitely see myself going to sections. I was really close this year.”
Condit, a junior, dominated on the links again.
“Gary leads by example,” Ceres High coach Scott Smith said. “He’s not a rah-rah guy. He works hard. He doesn’t let one bad shot get in his head. He’s mentally tough. He doesn’t run his mouth. He lets his play do the talking for him. He also wants his team to succeed. Not just himself. That’s big coming from the No. 1 player. That shows the character he has.”
Gary added to his already-impressive résumé by earning low-medalist honors at the WAC Year-End Championships for the third year in a row. He carded a 9-over-par 81 on April 30 at Rancho Del Rey Golf Course.
Condit also led the Bulldog to their third consecutive WAC overall championship.
He was named the league’s Most Valuable Player for the second straight year.
Gary finished in sixth place (78) at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Tournament, staged on May 7 at Merced Golf & Country Club.
He carded a 7-over-par 79 at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships on May 11 at The Reserve at Spanos Park. He fell six strokes short of securing a berth to NorCals.
“I had a great season,” Condit said. “My hard work paid off.”
Gary plays golf year-round.
“I have a very strict game plan,” he said. “I hit 200 balls a day. I work on my putting and chipping on the practice green. I always try to play 18 holes once a week. My work ethic comes from my dad.”
“Golf is such a hard sport,” Condit added. “You have to have tunnel vision, forget about bad shots and move on. I’ve always tried to have a killer instinct and desire to win.”
Gary works at River Oaks Golf Course in Ceres.
Co-owner Ryan Thornberry is Ceres High’s all-time greatest golfer.
He helped lead the Bulldogs to a perfect 18-0 record in the Central California Conference regular-season standings during his senior year. Ryan was named the CCC’s Most Valuable Player three times. He placed first twice at the conference championships.
“I’ve always looked up to Ryan,” Condit said. “He’s my boss and friend. We’re actually related. We’re sixth cousins. I’m really fortunate to have him in my life.”
Gary will face tougher competition in the new-look WAC next spring.
The league will feature Ceres High, Los Banos, Pacheco, Beyer, Grace Davis, Johansen, Lathrop and Mountain House.
Gary will try to place first at the conference year-end tournament for the fourth straight year and claim his third consecutive WAC MVP award.
“I’ve had pressure on me from the moment I was born because of my name,” Condit said. “I have thick skin.”
“He’s worked so hard on his game,” Smith said. “He can go to college and play golf. I’m trying to get his name out to schools.”