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Hawks have new cross country leader
CHS grad Moreno replaces Reynolds as head coach of CVs cross country program
Ben Saldana earned first-team all-conference honors while starring on Central Valleys varsity boys cross country team during his junior year. Saldana will be one of the top runners in the WAC once again. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Veronica Moreno helped coach Central Valley High School's track and field team last year.

Moreno, 30, will direct the Hawks' cross country program this fall.

She replaced Mike Reynolds, who stepped down shortly after being named Ceres Unified School District's energy manager in June.

"It's a good move for our program," said Reynolds, who took over Central Valley's cross country program during its second year of existence in 2006-07 and filled the position for eight seasons. "I definitely felt comfortable with her taking it over. She's going to do a lot of good things. She's passionate about running and fitness. She's real knowledgeable in training. The future of the program looks good."

Moreno graduated from Ceres High School in 2002.

She competed for current Bulldog head coach Glenn Driskell for three seasons.

Veronica still utilizes running techniques she learned from Driskell to this day.

She also just started coaching with the Teens Run in Modesto program.

"I'm really thankful for the opportunity," said Moreno, who also teaches English at Central Valley. "Everybody has been really supportive. I do have big shoes to fill. The kids love Mike Reynolds. He has a great program. I have a lot of outlets I can go to for help."

Moreno inherits a program with a roster size of more than 55. "We have a lot of new runners this year," Moreno said. "This is my first year coaching. I'm learning, too. I've been running my whole life. I have a lot of experience."

Ben Saldana (Sr.) will lead Central Valley's boys team, which tied for fourth place in the 2013 Western Athletic Conference standings (5-7) with crosstown-rival Ceres High. Jose Bastidas (Jr.) and Inayat Sahota (Sr.) returned to the team as well. Saldana placed sixth at the WAC Championships.

Central Valley's top returners on the girls side are Daisy Ochoa (Sr.), Jasmine Diaz (Sr.) and Alexis Marin (Sr.). Jessica Alvarez (Jr.), Laureth Orozco (So.) and Adriana Gomez (So.) will be counted upon, too.

The Hawks finished sixth overall in the WAC (2-10) last season.

"With running, it's a different kind of sport," Moreno said. "Everybody is encouraging and motivating. There's never hostility. Hopefully, we'll see a great deal of improvement by the end of the season."