By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Fregoso, Espinoza named Central Valleys top
Oso Fregoso earned six varsity letters during his prep athletic career at Central Valley. Fregosos main sport was football. He was voted the Western Athletic Conferences Outstanding Player this past fall. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Oso Fregoso and Blanca Espinoza were recognized as Central Valley High School's top male and female athletes, respectively, this past month.

The 2017 grads were both presented Golden Hawk Athlete Awards.

A point system taking into account athletic and academic achievement, and community involvement determined the winners.

"Throughout high school, I was always striving to be the best on and off the field," said Oso, who posted a cumulative grade-point average of 3.9 and was named a Sacramento Valley Chapter of National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete.

"It's an honor being recognized by the school," said Blanca, who had a cumulative GPA of 3.3. "It was kind of a shocker. My coaches helped me become the player I am today."

The names of Golden Hawk Athlete Award recipients are displayed on a banner inside Central Valley's gymnasium.

Past winners include Moses Ghiorso (2016), Mikayla Mabie (2016), Jaron Dickson (2015), Heaven Simon (2015), 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).

"For my name to be placed on the banner in the gym is a real blessing," Fregoso said. "At the beginning of high school, it wasn't a goal for myself. Junior year, I actually realized I had a good chance at competing for it. When they called my name, I was shocked. It was a humbling experience."

"Seeing that banner and all of the names, that made me want to try harder and be the best," Espinoza said. "I didn't want to fail. I'm really competitive. I've always been that way. It comes from my parents. Anything is achievable if you work together, have a work ethic and set your mind to it."

Fregoso earned six varsity letters during his prep athletic career, including three in football, two in basketball and one in track and field.

I'm pretty proud of what I accomplished," he said. "I put a lot of hard work and dedication into everything I did. Every day I went to school ready to learn. Balancing sports and academics was a challenging effort."

Oso's main sport was football.

Fregoso was named the Western Athletic Conference's Outstanding Defensive Player this past fall.

He garnered first-team all-league recognition as well.

Oso racked up 72 tackles, 10 sacks, four forced fumbles, two pass deflections and one fumble recovery at defensive end.

Central Valley (9-2) reached new heights in 2016 by winning its first-ever conference title, setting a program record for victories in a season and participating in the playoffs for the second time in three years.

"He (head coach Scott Edwards) had a huge impact on me," Fregoso said. "He pushed each and every one of us to become the best. We accomplished most of our goals."

Espinoza earned eight varsity letters, including three in volleyball, two in basketball and soccer, and one in track and field.

"I always tried my best in every sport I played," she said. "I exceeded my expectations in everything."

Blanca was voted WAC Defensive Player of the Year in volleyball.

She led the Hawks with 366 digs.

Espinoza also collected 60 kills and 35 aces.

Central Valley compiled a 7-8 record en route to a third-place finish in the WAC standings.

The Hawks secured their third consecutive playoff berth.

Blanca earned first-team all-WAC honors for her outstanding play in basketball.

She led Central Valley in scoring (11.9 ppg), assists (2.2 apg) and steals (2.0 spg).

She averaged 3.1 rebounds per game.

Espinoza also drained 15 3-pointers.

The Hawks placed second in the WAC (7-3) and secured their third straight postseason berth.

Fregoso and Espinoza were also named WAC Scholar-Athletes for the 2016-17 school year.

Oso will continue his football career at Occidental College.

Blanca will focus on academics at Fresno State.

"I exceeded my expectations," Fregoso said. "I didn't think I'd accomplish this much. I'm really excited for the next chapter."