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CVHS standout athletes leave behind impressive legacies
Dickson, Simon win Golden Hawk awards
Jaron Dickson elevated his level of play each season with Central Valleys boys basketball program. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Jaron Dickson started playing basketball at the age of two.
Heaven Simon was introduced to the sport of track and field when she was a teenager.

Dickson and Simon have been recognized as Central Valley High School's top athletes.
Jaron and Heaven were presented Golden Hawk trophies in front of family and friends during Senior Awards Night last month.

A point system taking into account athletic and academic achievement, and community involvement for the past four years determined male and female winners.

"I was speechless when they called my name," Simon said. "I had a feeling of joy. I didn't know what the Golden Hawk Award was until my sophomore year. That was one of my goals. I worked hard for it."

"It's a great feeling knowing that they recognized me out of everyone," Dickson said. "There were other people that were deserving of it. I really didn't expect to get it. But I earned it."
Simon earned seven varsity letters during her prep athletic career-four in track and field, two in girls basketball and one in cross country.

She had a cumulative grade-point average of 3.3.

"My favorite sport is track and field," Heaven said. "I'm looking forward to seeing where I go. Right now, I'm undecided. I'm talking to a lot of coaches."

Simon joined Central Valley's varsity track and field program her freshman year.

"I never knew track existed in junior high," Simon said. "I'm really glad I tried out for the sport in high school. It was a great experience."

Simon took fourth overall in the 300 hurdles in a personal-best time of 44.07 seconds at the 2015 Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet at Elk Grove High School. The three-time Masters qualifier set PRs while successfully defending her 300-hurdles title (45.77 seconds) and finishing first in the 400 (58.11) at the Division IV-V competition.

Simon captured four individual titles at the Western Athletic Conference Championships this spring.

She swept the 100 (13.09 seconds), 200 (27.05), 400 (59.59) and 300 hurdles (46.85).

Latrisha Jordan, former Central Valley and Fresno State track and field standout, helped coach Simon for the past two seasons.

"She played the biggest role in motivating me," Heaven said. "If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have tried hurdles. It's one of my best events."

A defensive standout on the Hawks' basketball team her senior year, Simon averaged a conference-leading 4.0 steals per game to go along with 3.8 points and 3.4 rebounds.

Central Valley compiled an 18-8 overall record, finished second in the Western Athletic Conference (10-2) and returned to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs following a two-year absence.

Simon was awarded a $100 scholarship as part of the National team, which defeated the American squad 49-42, in the First Annual Central Valley Senior Showcase at Turlock High. Heaven scored seven of her nine points in the second half. "I played my best in the all-star game," Simon said. "I got MVP. I'm going to miss basketball."

Dickson made history by becoming the first player in Central Valley varsity boys basketball history to receive the highest honor in conference play. A four-year starter with the Hawks, Dickson was voted WAC MVP his senior year.

Jaron averaged 23.9 points, 9.2 rebounds and 7.6 assists per game as Central Valley posted a 22-4 overall record, placed first in the WAC standings (12-0) for the first-time ever and secured its second consecutive playoff berth. "I'm glad he chose to come to Central Valley," Hawks leader Darryl Dickson said. When your dad's the coach, it's never easy. He's had a lot of pressure on him every year. I'm proud of everything he's done."

Dickson was selected to participate in a pair of all-star games.

Jaron earned MVP honors while lifting the Red All-Stars to a 95-88 win over the Blue squad during the 20th Annual Six County All-Star Classic at Enochs High School. He totaled 16 points and buried four treys in the final period.

Dickson had seven points during the American team's 54-51 win in the Central Valley Senior Showcase.

"I got to play with other great players," Jaron said.

Dickson tallied a school-record 43 points and nine treys in an 84-81 victory against Tracy in overtime his junior year.

Dickson had a cumulative GPA of 3.3.

"I played basketball 11 months out of the year for the past six years," he said. "I just love the game. I have a solid plan for after high school. I know what I'm going to do the next four to five years. I'm relieved."

The names of Golden Hawk Athlete Award recipients are displayed on a banner inside Central Valley's gymnasium. Past winners include Ja'Quan Gardner (2014), Lexy Cordova (2014), Abraham Navarro (2013), Malynda Lomeli (2013), Daniel Ochoa (2012), Drucella Miranda (2012), Tyree Jones (2011), Alyssa Long (2011), Vince Lopez (2010), Amanda Lopez (2010), Trevor Mew (2009), Julie Calderon (2009), Mike Tubera (2008) and Latrisha Jordan (2008).

"It's an honor to have my name up there," Simon said. "I'm thankful."

"It brought a tear to my eye to see him get that award," Darryl said. "I'll see his name up there when I walk out and teach P.E. and coach basketball. I'm really happy for him."