The life of a student-athlete can be overwhelming.
Classes. Practices. Games. Homework. Studying.
"It's a challenge," said Central Valley senior Oso Fregoso. "You just have to manage your time. Once you find balance, it becomes easy. My parents always told me to work hard in the classroom and it would pay off later in life."
Fregoso's academic achievement and athletic excellence earned him special recognition this past month.
The Sacramento Valley Chapter of the National Football Foundation presented Scholar-Athlete awards to Oso and 49 other students from Del Oro to Merced on March 9 at the Sacramento Elks Lodge.
"It's an honor to receive the award," Oso said. "It's very humbling. I've put a lot of time into academics and athletics. My parents and coaches pushed me do to my best on and off the field."
Fregoso took home a plaque from the ceremony.
His parents (Javier and Gabriela), sister (Valeria), grandmother, aunt, uncle and high-school football coach attended the event.
"We had a whole table there," Javier said. "Watching him get to this level, it's a proud moment. It's all attributed to his effort. He's always exceeded our expectations. We're blessed to have a kid like that."
Oso starred at defensive end on the Hawks' varsity football team, which made history this past fall by posting a program-best 9-2 overall record and capturing its first-ever league title. Central Valley won all five of its Western Athletic Conference games. The Hawks participated in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the third time in the past four seasons. Central Valley also beat Patterson for the first time in seven meetings.
Fregoso was named the Western Athletic Conference's Outstanding Defensive Player. He garnered first-team all-league recognition as well. Fregoso had 72 tackles, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles, two pass deflections and one fumble recovery in 11 games.
"My teammates pushed me to do my best every day," he said.
Oso spent parts of his summer and spring training at Bonsu Elite Athletics in Ceres.
"He (Les Bonsu) helped me become faster and a better athlete," Fregoso said.
Fregoso has a cumulative grade-point average of 3.9.
"He's accepted every challenge we've put before him," Javier said. "Academics have always been at the forefront. We put him in accelerated classes during the summer when he was growing up. He learned to read and picked up math very fast at an early age. His athleticism and ability to play football opened up opportunities for him."
Fregoso will play football at the next level.
He received more than a dozen scholarship offers.
Oso signed a national letter of intent with Occidental College in Los Angeles on April 4. He'll major in business. "When he leaves Ceres, we don't expect him to come back," Javier said. "It's not a knock on Ceres. He's a product of Ceres Unified School District. He has his own bigger dreams. We know what his potential is. We're expecting him to do great things."