In today’s Courier, we present Part One of the best of 2018 list.
1. Nayeli Pelayo accomplished a first by becoming the Central Valley varsity girls wrestling program’s first state medalist. She posted a 4-3 record en route to a sixth-place finish in the 189-pound bracket at the CIF State Championships in February. Pelayo qualified for state three times and captured back-to-back Western Athletic Conference individual titles during her grappling career with the Hawks. She was also a standout varsity softball player. Pelayo was selected to the WAC Second Team for the fourth time. She batted .300 with two doubles, four RBIs, one run and one stolen base.
2. Central Valley’s Brianna Quiroz excelled in three sports. She made her first-ever appearance at the CIF Varsity Girls State Wrestling Meet as a junior. She won three of four matches on her way to a runner-up showing in the 150-pound weight class at the Sac-Joaquin Section South Regional Tournament. She placed fourth at Masters and first at the Western Athletic Conference finals. Quiroz earned first-team all-WAC accolades in varsity softball. She batted .485 with three doubles, two RBIs, seven runs and one stolen base. Quiroz received second-team all-league honors in varsity girls volleyball for the second year in a row. She ranked first on the team in kills (92), second in digs (103), aces (25) and assists (5), and third in blocks (19).
3. Jaden Cooper’s final season with Ceres High’s varsity boys wrestling program was his most productive. He claimed the 145-pound title at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Championships. He placed first at the Western Athletic Conference finals. Cooper also made history by becoming the Bulldogs’ first individual champion at the Mike Tamana Invitational.
4. Central Valley’s Aryanna Jimenez made a name for herself in varsity girls swimming as a sophomore. She was a double-winner at the Western Athletic Conference Championships. She swept the 100 free and 50 free. Jimenez set personal records in both events.
5. Ceres High’s Gary Condit enjoyed another success-filled season with Ceres High’s varsity boys golf team. He earned low-medalist honors at the Western Athletic Conference Year-End Championships for the third year in a row. He carded a 9-over-par 81. He was named the league’s Most Valuable Player for the second straight year. Condit finished in sixth place (78) at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Tournament. He carded a 7-over-par 79 at the Masters Championships. He fell six strokes short of securing a berth to NorCals.
6. Central Valley varsity girls soccer standout forward Jocelyn Lopez piled up 22 goals and five assists on her way to being named Most Valuable Player of the Western Athletic Conference. She ranked first in conference play in points (49) and goals, and was third in assists. Lopez collected 33 goals and nine assists on the year.
7. Ceres High’s Christian Murry was voted Defensive Player of the Year during the 2018 Western Athletic Conference varsity boys volleyball campaign. Murry collected 227 digs, 150 kills, 68 blocks, 34 aces and seven assists.
8. Ceres High varsity boys soccer standout Saul Ruiz was voted co-Defender of the Year during the Western Athletic Conference year-end coaches’ meeting. Ruiz, a junior center defender, was recognized for his fearless play on the pitch.
9. Ceres High’s Shania Evans starred in two sports. Evans soared 33 feet, 41/2 inches while finishing fourth overall in the triple jump at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Varsity Girls Track & Field Championships. She finished second at the WAC finals. A four-year member of Ceres High’s varsity girls tennis program, Evans qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II singles tournament for the first time. She won three of four matches en route to a second-place finish at the WAC Championships. Evans garnered first-team all-league recognition. She compiled a 15-2 record against conference opponents.
10. Ceres High’s Elliott Lewis starred in varsity boys swimming and water polo. Lewis successfully defended his 100-breaststroke title and finished first in the 200 individual medley at the Western Athletic Conference Championships. He set personal records in both events. Lewis received second-team all-league honors for his outstanding play in water polo. He missed earning first-team accolades by just one vote. Lewis scored 60 goals and dished out 25 assists.
11. A four-year starter on Central Valley’s varsity girls tennis team, Guadalupe Becerra experienced her best season to date as an individual player by finishing second overall at the Central California Conference Singles Championships. Becerra won three of four matches at the CCC tournament. She earned first-team all-league honors and advanced to the Sac-Joaquin Section individual tournament for the second year in a row. Becerra compiled a 17-7 overall record. She won 14 of 18 conference matches.
12. Sophomore Amelia Daoheung boosted her reputation in the fall by earning first-team all-league honors for the second year in a row. She finished fifth in the Central California Conference’s individual standings. She shot a 105, including a 47 on the front nine, at the conference’s end-of-year-tournament at Merced Golf & Country Club. She qualified for Divisionals for the second consecutive season.
13. Central Valley’s Chase Bogart set school records in both the 800 and 1,600 during the Western Athletic Conference varsity boys track and field dual season. He had a perfect 5-0 record in the 800. Bogart won the 800-meter WAC title. He placed second in the 1,600 and fifth in the 3,200 at the conference finals. Bogart claimed a fourth-place medal in the 800 at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Championships. He was ninth in the 1,600.
14. Chetna Kumar enjoyed a memorable final year with Central Valley’s varsity girls track and field team. She qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Sections Masters Meet. She placed second with a personal-record vault of 17 feet, 21/4 inches in the long jump at the Division-IV Championships. She captured second-place medals in both the long jump and 100 at the Western Athletic Conference finals.
15. Central Valley sophomore Christian Balderas was the fourth-best runner during the 2018 Central California Conference varsity boys cross country season. Balderas took third at the CCC’s #3 cluster meet. He finished sixth overall in a field of 139 at the Hughson SuperCross Invitational. He was 11th at the Kim Duyst Invitational. Balderas placed first in the 3,200 and fourth in the 1,600 at the WAC Varsity Boys Track & Field Championships. He set personal records while placing sixth in both the 1,600 and 3,200 at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV competition.
16. Ceres High ophomore Luis Yepez qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Varsity Boys Cross Country Championships and claimed a medal at the Western Athletic Conference Finals during his first season of varsity boys cross country. He was the seventh-best runner in the WAC. He placed 41st in a field of 183 at sub-sections and 42nd at the section meet.
17. Aaron Alarcon was a model of consistency while starring on Ceres High’s varsity boys cross country team during the 2018 Western Athletic Conference dual season. The fourth-year runner brought home a fifth-place medal from the WAC Championships.
18. Ceres High freshman Karina Baez claimed a seventh-place medal while competing at the Western Athletic Conference Varsity Girls Cross Country Championships.
19. Ceres High’s Inder Sandhu earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors during his final season with Ceres High’s varsity boys basketball team. The 6-foot-6 shooting guard/small forward ranked second in scoring and fifth in rebounding in the WAC. He averaged 15.7 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Sandhu shot 83 percent (19 of 23) from the free-throw line. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at the age of six, Sandhu wore an insulin pump while competing for the Bulldogs. The device was attached to his wrist.
20. Josh Pernetti filled the stat sheet during his first full season of varsity baseball with Ceres High. Just a sophomore, Pernetti ranked first in the Western Athletic Conference in homers (2), triples (1), doubles (5), RBIs (13) and slugging percentage (.821), second in walks (7), third in hits (10), runs (8) and on-base percentage (.500), and fifth in batting average (.357). He struck out just three times. Pernetti was selected to the WAC Second Team.