Central Valley High School sophomore Christian Balderas was the fourth-best runner during the 2018 Central California Conference varsity boys cross country season.
“It means a lot,” he said. “I wouldn’t be able to do this without support from my family, coaches and teammates. I want to thank everyone that’s pushed me.”
Added Hawks’ head coach Veronica Moreno: “I’m very proud of him. He’s come a long way. I knew with his dedication to the sport and team, he’d excel.”
Balderas took third while leading Central Valley to a fifth-place finish in the team standings at the CCC’s #3 cluster meet, staged on Oct. 24 at Buhach Colony High School.
The Hawks totaled 143 points.
Central Valley topped Patterson (158) and El Capitan (180).
Merced (31), Buhach Colony (32), Atwater (70) and Golden Valley (130) took first, second, third and fourth, respectively.
Hawk senior standout Chase Bogart was slowed by a nagging shin injury.
“He’s one of our top runners,” Moreno said. “I don’t know if we would have been first or second, but we would have had a chance to place higher if he was healthy.”
Added Balderas: “We did the best we could.”
Balderas topped 51 other runners at the CCC’s final cluster meet.
He completed the 3-mile course in 16 minutes, 10 seconds.
Christian placed 10th at the conference’s second cluster meet.
“I was motivated to do well,” he said. “My goal was to beat certain people out there. I was prepared for it. I ran smart. I didn’t go out too fast.”Christian Balderas
“I was motivated to do well,” he said. “My goal was to beat certain people out there. I was prepared for it. I ran smart. I didn’t go out too fast.”
Balderas earned a measure of redemption.
He finished 12th at the 2017 Western Athletic Conference Championships.
“I wasn’t able to turn in my best performance last year,” he said. “I had pneumonia but I was able to push through it.”
Hawk teammates Eric Andrade (18:13), Chase Bogart (18:29), Hector Arvizu (18:35), Javier Cuevas Sanchez (18:44), Enrique Martinez (18:53), Antonio Castillo (19:08), Sabino Urrutia (19:18) and Alejandro Gonzalez (19:19) placed 34th, 37th, 40th, 41st, 42nd, 44th, 45th and 46th, respectively, at the CCC’s #3 cluster meet.
“We had to train harder as a team this year because we were in a harder division,” Balderas said. “There was a lot more faster runners in the CCC. I’m really proud of my team. Almost every guy improved.”
“We knew it was going to be difficult this season,” Moreno said. “It’s a new league. It’s different competition.”
Balderas and the Hawks will compete at the Sac-Joaquin Sub-Section Meet this Saturday at Frogtown near Angels Camp.
“We want to end the season strong,” he said.