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CV boys cross country team makes program history
Central Valleys varsity boys cross country team had good reason to celebrate this past week. The Hawks made program history by finishing in first place at the Western Athletic Conference Championships. Central Valley won the WAC overall title and all five of its dual meets. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Central Valley's varsity boys cross country team made program history this past week.

The Hawks placed first at the Western Athletic Conference Championships on Wednesday at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park.

Central Valley (19 points) topped Livingston (44), Patterson (76), Ceres High (116) and Los Banos (121).

"Nobody expected us to do this," senior standout Andres Rojo said. "It's a huge turnaround. We came in fourth place during the WAC Preseason Meet."

"It's been really rewarding to finally see them achieve their goal," said Veronica Moreno, fourth-year head coach of the Hawks. "Words can't describe how happy I am for them."

The Hawks had five runners medal at the WAC Championships, including Rojo, Isaiah Sanchez, Chase Bogart, Favio Gonzalez and Enrique Martinez.

Rojo captured the conference's individual title.

Andres placed first with a time of 18 minutes, 02 seconds on the 3.1-mile course.

Sanchez (18:18), Bogart (18:42), Gonzalez (18:57) and Martinez (19:01) took second, third, fifth and eighth, respectively.

The top eight finishers were rewarded.

Central Valley teammates Christian Balderas (19:19), Sebastian Pena (19:42), Javier Cuevas (19:51), Alejandro Orozco (20:07), Sabino Urrutia (20:25), Jair Pineda (20:44), Aaron Vander Wal (21:02), Carlos Prado (21:03), Patric Senesom (21:11), Ruben Sanchez (21:20), Alex Solis (21:51), Fidel Castillo (22:26), Ivan Villegas (22:48), Sergio Garcia (23:08), Samson Gonzalez (23:14), Estevan Leyva (24:36), Antonio Castillo (25:24), Sanvir Dhillon (29:45), Jared Sinlapaxay (31:38), and Pedro Cerrillos (31:58) placed 12th, 16th, 20th, 25th, 28th, 34th, 36th, 37th, 41st, 44th, 51st, 54th, 56th, 57th, 58th, 62nd, 68th, 78th, 79th and 80th, respectively.

"We're human," Rojo said. "We were nervous. "After the second mile, I felt pretty confident. We had it in the bag."

Central Valley won the 2017 WAC overall title by virtue of its first place finish at the conference finals and 5-0 record during the dual-meet season.

The Hawks took fifth at the WAC Championships and dropped all five of their duals last year.

"It's been a struggle the past three seasons," said Moreno, whose program failed to post a team score at the 2014 WAC Championships due to its thin roster. "They went from not winning anything to winning everything. I'm not surprised. These boys have worked so hard. They conquered more than the course. They gained a lot of respect from their peers."

"We were hungry," Rojo added. "We were committed."

Central Valley's run of dominance in the WAC this fall will be remembered forever.

"We'll have our own banner in the gym," Moreno said. "It's something they can see, hold and touch."

"They ordered it Thursday morning," Rojo said. "That banner is going to show our year. I still can't believe it. We're the first cross country team to do this in Central Valley history."