Senior Aryanna Jimenez has been named Central Valley High School’s top female athlete.
Unable to be recognized on campus at the annual awards banquet due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic, Jimenez picked up the 2020 Golden Hawk Award from the front office on May 6.
She was honored for her athletic prowess over the past four years.
“I’m really proud of myself,” she said. “It was a goal I set freshmen year. I worked really hard for it. I wanted to repay my mom.”
Jimenez’s mother Judy played a major role in helping her reach her goal.
“I’m extremely blessed to have her in my life,” Aryanna said. “She’s such a supportive person. She’d drive me back and forth to practices. She’d take me to the gym. She monitored what I ate. I wouldn’t have received the award if it wasn’t for her. This is an accomplishment for her, too.”
Jimenez earned 11 varsity letters, including four in both swimming and cross country, and three in wrestling.
“I loved all three sports in different ways. But swimming has been my most dominant sport. I’ve been doing it since I was eight.”Aryanna Jimenez
“I loved all three sports in different ways,” she said. “But swimming has been my most dominant sport. I’ve been doing it since I was eight.”
Jimenez made a name for herself in swimming sophomore year.
She was a double-winner at the Western Athletic Conference Championships.
She set personal records while sweeping both the 100 free and 50 free.
Jimenez placed fourth in the 50 free and fifth in the 100 free at the Central California Conference Championships as a junior. She PR’d in both events.
Jimenez just missed qualifying for sections in the 50 free.
She had a near-perfect 11-1 dual record versus CCC opponents.
She was undefeated (6-0) in the 50 free.
She had a 5-1 mark in the 100 free.
Jimenez’s senior season of swimming was cut short due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
“It was devastating,” she said. “Swimming has been a part of my life since I was eight. That’s where my work ethic comes from.”
Jimenez enjoyed individual and team success in wrestling.
She claimed her third consecutive league title this past winter. The 116-pound grappler compiled a perfect 8-0 record against Central California Conference competition.
Jimenez also helped lead Central Valley to back-to-back conference team championships (2019, 2018).
“Wrestling is a difficult sport,” she said. “Long hours of practicing and you have to watch what you eat. When I first started, I wanted to quit. I wasn’t good at first until I earned my first medal at league sophomore year.”
Jimenez joined Central Valley’s cross country team in the ninth grade to stay in shape for swimming.
“I didn’t take it serious at first,” she said. “I became more of a leader because of that sport.”
Jimenez has been a model student-athlete at Central Valley. She currently has a cumulative grade-point average of 3.8. “It’s definitely not easy,” she said. “It’s extremely exhausting. There have been days where I contemplated giving up a sport. But if I did that, I wouldn’t have won this award. I kept pushing.”
Jimenez followed in the footsteps of former Hawk teammates Brianna Quiroz (class of 2019) and Nayeli Pelayo (class of 2018).
Jimenez’s name will be displayed on a banner inside Central Valley’s gymnasium, along with Quiroz (2019), Pelayo (2018), Blanca Espinoza (2017), Mikayla Mabie (2016), Heaven Simon (2015), Lexy Cordova (2014), Malynda Lomeli (2013), Drucella Miranda (2012), Alyssa Long (2011), Amanda Lopez (2010), Julie Calderon (2009) and Latrisha Jordan (2008).
“Seeing Nayeli and Brianna win the award made me work even harder,” she said. “There were a lot of good athletes that applied. I wasn’t sure if I wasn’t going to get it. But I felt confident. I’m pretty satisfied. All my hard work paid off.”
Jimenez will attend Stanislaus State this fall.
She’ll major in kinesiology.
“I’m contemplating on whether I should do cross country there or focus on academics,” she said. “If my athletic career ends, I’m proud of myself. I’ve accomplished a lot in such a short time. It’s important to do your best and keep improving.”