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Courier revisits sports highlights of 2014
Year in review, part one
Adrian Vizcaino had a memorable career with Central Valleys varsity wrestling program. Vizcaino qualified for the CIF State Championships his senior year. - photo by DALE BUTLER/Courier file photo

In today's Courier, we present the best of 2014 list.

Peak Performers
1. Adrian Vizcaino made history by becoming Central Valley High School's first-ever state-meet qualifier in varsity boys wrestling. The 182-pounder compiled an 0-2 record at the CIF State Championships. Vizcaino captured his third consecutive Western Athletic Conference title. He placed fourth at Masters and second at Divisionals. Adrian won 34 of 50 matches during his final season with the Hawks. He had a career record of 116-55.

2. Hawk grappler Lexy Cordova qualified for the CIF Girls State Wrestling Championships. Cordova won five of six matches while finishing in third place in the 121-pound weight division at Regionals. She compiled a 30-12 record during her final season with Central Valley. Lexy earned second-team all-WAC honors in softball. Cordova, Central Valley's ace pitcher, totaled 57 strikeouts.

3. Ceres High's Nolan McCaig brought home a second-place medal from the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II Varsity Boys Tennis Championships. Just a freshman, McCaig compiled a 3-1 record on his way to a runner-up finish. Nolan (30-1) lost just one match all year. He posted a perfect 13-0 record en route to capturing the WAC singles crown. McCaig and Bulldog teammate Julio Ochoa were voted WAC co-MVPs.

4. Competing at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Varsity Girls Track & Field Championships for the third year in a row, Central Valley's Heaven Simon placed 11th in the 300 hurdles (45.84). Simon and the Hawks' 4x100 relay team finished 23rd in a personal-record time (50.94). Heaven, a junior this past spring, set a PR while taking first in the 300 hurdles at Divisionals. Central Valley's 4x100 relay team was fifth. Simon won the 300 hurdles (48.53) and 400 (1:04.68) at the WAC Finals. She also ran a leg on the Hawks' winning 4x100 and 4x400 relay teams.

5. Janita Vongphoumy made history by becoming the first female golfer from Central Valley to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament and win the Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player award. The junior transfer from Rhode Island shot a 14-over-par 86 while finishing in the top 15 at Masters. Janita posted the fourth-best score (85) at Divisionals. She fired a 7-over-par 79 on her way to claiming the title at the WAC Year-End Championships. Vongphoumy posted a near-perfect 7-1 record during the conference dual season.

6. Emely Amaya surprised herself by ascending to the top singles spot during her four-year career with Central Valley's varsity girls tennis program. Amaya was voted WAC co-Most Valuable Player after winning 11 of 12 matches during the regular season. Emely became the first Hawk player, female or male, to advance to the WAC finals and Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Amaya finished in the top eight at the Division-II postseason tournament. She compiled a 16-3 overall record. Emely split playing time at No. 5 and 6 singles during her freshman year. Amaya started at No. 4 singles as a sophomore.

7. Ceres High varsity boys water polo star Zachary Jones was voted WAC Most Valuable Player for the second time in three years. Jones tallied 56 goals, 29 steals and 16 assists during his final season with the Bulldogs, who finished second in the WAC standings (6-2). Zachary scored a program-record 15 goals in a 21-4 win over Pacheco. Jones set the previous school-record of 13 in 2013. A four-year starter, Zachary collected 170-plus goals in WAC play. Jones also turned in a career-best performance while competing at the Sac-Joaquin Section Varsity Boys Swim Championships. Seeded 48th, Zachary placed 27th with a personal-best time of 22.68 seconds in the 50 free. He finished ahead of 44 other participants. He also took 27th in the 100 free (50.18).

8. Julia Pata swept the 50 free and 100 free at the WAC Varsity Girls Swim Finals. Just a freshman, Pata didn't lose an individual race while competing against upperclassmen during the conference season. Pata placed seventh in the 100 free and 17th in the 50 free at the Sac-Joaquin Section Frosh-Soph Championships. Pata earned second-team all-league accolades for her outstanding play in varsity girls water polo.

9. A role player on Ceres High's varsity baseball team as a junior, Alan Marquez elevated his level of play en route to claiming the WAC Most Valuable Player award during his final season with the Bulldogs. Marquez compiled a conference-best 5-0 record at pitcher. He ranked second in ERA (1.98) and third in strikeouts (25). He also led the WAC in batting average (.594), slugging percentage (.750) and on-base percentage (.698). Alan collected one triple, three doubles, eight RBIs and 11 runs.

10. Anthony Bonales had a productive four-year career with Central Valley's varsity boys golf team. He was the WAC's top player as a senior, sophomore and freshman. Bonales qualified for Divisionals four times and Masters twice. He almost advanced to NorCals as a freshman. Anthony tied for fourth at Masters. He lost in a five-man playoff for the final berth.

11. Lisette Carretero earned all-WAC honors for the third year in a row. Carretero was recognized after finishing among the top eight runners at the conference championships at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park. Lisette placed fourth (23:14) on the 3-mile course. Carretero's older sister Cecilia (class of 2013) placed second three times at the WAC finals.

12. Ceres High varsity softball standout Nicole Bates won the WAC's Most Valuable Player award her sophomore year. Bates, a shortstop, hit .511 with three homers, two triples, four doubles, 19 RBIs, 22 runs, five stolen bases and a .872 slugging percentage.

13. Ja'Quan Gardner, a senior at Central Valley last spring, captured the 100-meter title (11.01) at the WAC Varsity Boys Track & Field Championships. Gardner also ran a leg on the Hawks' winning 4x100-relay team (45.56). Gardner took second in the 100 (10.96) at the Division IV-V meet. He improved his school record while taking first in the event (10.83) during trials. Central Valley's 4x100 relay team set a school record (third place, 43.11). Ja'Quan placed 14th in the 100 (11.17 seconds) at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Track & Field Championships. CV's 4x100 relay team finished 15th (43.97). Ja'Quan was also a defensive standout on the Hawks' varsity boys basketball squad.

Most Memorable Games
1. Ceres High played the role of spoiler with a 24-7 win over crosstown-rival Central Valley in varsity football. The Bulldogs prevented the Hawks from securing their second straight playoff berth. Ceres High also snapped a seven-year losing streak against the Hawks.

2. Central Valley's varsity volleyball team kept its playoff hopes alive by earning a hard-fought 3-2 (22-25, 25-8, 25-17, 20-25, 15-6) victory against a scrappy Ceres High squad. The 1-10 Bulldogs nearly eliminated the 8-5 Hawks from playoff contention. Central Valley secured its first-ever postseason berth a week later, topping Patterson 3-1 in a tiebreaker match.

3. Ceres High's varsity baseball team bounced back in a big way following its 11-6 extra-inning home loss to defending WAC champion Central Catholic. The Bulldogs captured a share of the conference title with a 10-0 mercy-rule road victory over the Raiders.

4. Ceres High's varsity boys soccer team battled back from a two-goals-to-none halftime deficit and salvaged a 2-2 tie with crosstown-rival Central Valley at Bulldog Stadium. The two teams tied 1-1 earlier in the season.

5. Central Valley's varsity girls tennis team topped crosstown-rival Ceres High twice by identical 5-4 scores in WAC play. The Hawks improved their all-time record versus the Bulldogs to 3-15.

6. Nicole Bates buried a wide-open jumper from the free-throw line at the buzzer to lift visiting Ceres High's varsity girls basketball squad to a 48-47 win over crosstown-rival Central Valley on Jan. 23. Bates scored 10 of her game-high 18 points in the second quarter. The Bulldogs avenged a 42-34 loss and broke into the WAC win column. Ceres High dropped its first five league games.