For the second year in a row, Central Valley's varsity girls cross country program finished in third place at the Western Athletic Conference Championships.
"I'm very proud of them," said Veronica Moreno, fourth-year head coach of the Hawks. "They're definitely moving in the right direction."
The Hawks had a team score of 77 at the 2017 WAC finals last Wednesday at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park.
Los Banos (36) won the team title.
Livingston (45), Ceres High (113), Pacheco (116) and Patterson (126) placed second, fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively.
"They exceeded my expectations," Moreno said. "They grew mentally and physically. They never gave up."
Hawk Ramandeep Kaur placed 10th at the WAC Championships.
The top eight individuals took home medals.
Kaur completed the 3.1-mile race in 23 minutes, 19 seconds.
Vanessa Contreras (23:53), Kimberly Haley (24:020, Rosa Vazquez (23:31), Emily Curiel (25:19), Melissa Ceja (25:38), Dana Miranda (26:54), Rubi Gonzalez (29:10), Aryanna Jimenez (30:05), Cynthia Robles (30:44), Brittney Smith (33:44), Johana Valdavinos (36:08), Alexis Eproson (36:56) and Melanie Jaime (37:47) took 12th, 13th, 20th, 22nd, 23rd, 31st, 42nd, 46th, 50th, 57th, 59th, 60th and 61st, respectively.
"They ran their hearts out," Moreno said.
Central Valley finished in third place in the WAC overall standings.
The Hawks went 2-3 during the conference dual campaign.
"We're making progress," Moreno said. "There were some years when we didn't have enough girls (to score at meets). The team is growing. The culture is building."
Ceres High's varsity boys and girls cross country programs turned in similar performances at the Western Athletic Conference Championships last Wednesday at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park.
"They all ran their best," Bulldogs head coach Katie Timmermans said.
Ceres High's boys squad posted a team score of 116 while finishing in fourth place. "They didn't do as well as they wanted to do," Timmermans said. "They were a little disappointed they didn't finish higher."
Aaron Alarcon paced the Bulldogs.
Alarcon finished 11th with a time of 19 minutes, 12 seconds on the 3.1-mile course.
The top eight individuals were awarded medals.
"Aaron's very competitive," Timmermans said. "He was not happy with his performance. He's been battling a knee injury all season. I had him sit out two weeks ago and take some time off."
Ceres High teammates Joseph Gutierrez (19:58), Dominick Nicastro (20:33), Colton Johnson (21:20), Kendrick Perata (21:38), Rafael Ortiz (21:43), Clemente Zavala (22:09), Jose Arroyo (24:39), Carlos Fee (25:57) and Kolton Vaughn (25:58) placed 22nd, 30th, 45th, 47th, 49th, 52nd, 63rd, 69th and 70th, respectively.
Gutierrez fell to the ground at the beginning of the WAC competition.
"They had to restart the race," Timmermans said. "He scuffed up his knee. You lose your momentum when something like that happens."
Ceres High's girls squad also placed fourth at the WAC Championships.
"I'm very happy they were able to get fourth place," Timmermans said. "A lot of them ran pretty aggressively. We have a young team. I definitely think our team will get better."
Destiny Suarez led the Bulldogs (113 points).
She finished 14th with a time of 24 minutes, 12 seconds on the 3.1-mile course.
"She sets a good example by going after what she wants," Timmermans said.
Ceres High teammates Cynthia Renteria (24:29), Jacqueline Rodriguez (25:41), Deborah Vasquez (25:57), Joanna Torrez (27:03), Alondra Carranza (27:16), Maria Diaz (29:17), Annabelle Verduzco (30:13), Marissa Prestia (30:21) and Adriana Ramos (30:30) placed 18th, 24th, 26th, 32nd, 34th, 43rd, 47th, 48th and 49th, respectively.
Renteria set a personal record. "Cynthia was right behind Destiny," Timmermans said.
Gutierrez, Nicastro, Perata, Ortiz, Zavala, Arroyo and Diaz, Ceres High's seven senior runners, competed on their home course for the final time.
"They always gave 100 percent and did their best every day," Timmermans said.
Ceres High's boys tied for fourth place with Los Banos in the WAC overall standings.
Ceres High's girls tied for fourth with Patterson.
Both teams compiled identical 1-4 records during the conference dual season. The Bulldogs' lone victories came against the Pacheco Panthers.
Ceres High's 2017 roster featured just 24 runners.
"We're hoping to build our team next year," Timmermans said.