By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Looking back over a successful fall high school season
Ceres High varsity boys water polo standout Zachary Jones was voted Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player for the second time in three seasons. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Ceres High's Zachary Jones, and Central Valley's Emely Amaya and Janita Vongphoumy were the top players in their respective sports during Western Athletic Conference competition. Ceres High's varsity girls golf program accomplished several firsts. Central Valley's varsity volleyball team made history by making its first-ever playoff appearance. Ceres High's varsity football squad exacted revenge by upsetting Central Valley. The fall sports season was filled with many highlights. Now's the perfect time to recollect and celebrate.

Top male athlete-Ceres High varsity boys water polo star Zachary Jones was voted Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player for the second time in three years. Jones tallied 56 goals, 29 steals and 16 assists during his final season with the Bulldogs, who finished second in the WAC standings (6-2). Zachary scored a program-record 15 goals in a 21-4 win over Pacheco. Jones set the previous school-record of 13 last year. A four-year starter, Zachary totaled 248 goals in 48 games. He collected 170-plus goals in WAC play.

Top female athlete-Emely Amaya surprised herself by ascending to the top singles spot during her four-year career with Central Valley High School's varsity girls tennis program. Amaya was voted Western Athletic Conference co-Most Valuable Player after winning 11 of 12 matches during the regular season.

Emely became the first Hawk player, female or male, to advance to the WAC finals and Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs. Amaya finished in the top eight at the Division-II postseason tournament. She compiled a 16-3 overall record this year. Emely split playing time at No. 5 and 6 singles during her freshman year. Amaya started at No. 4 singles as a sophomore.

Male newcomer-Johnni Smith-Willis had a productive first season with Ceres High School's varsity football team. The junior running back gained 825 yards and scored nine touchdowns on 132 carries. Smith-Willis averaged 6.3 yards per attempt. Johnni had no fumbles. Smith-Willis was selected to the Western Athletic Conference Second Team.

Female newcomer-Janita Vongphoumy made history by becoming the first female golfer from Central Valley High School to qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament and win the Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player award. The junior transfer from Rhode Island shot a 14-over-par 86 while finishing in the top 15 at Masters. Janita posted the fourth-best score (85) at Divisionals. She fired a 7-over-par 79 on her way to claiming the title at the WAC Year-End Championships. Vongphoumy posted a near-perfect 7-1 record during the conference dual season.

Coach-Central Valley's varsity volleyball program accomplished several firsts under second-year head coach Kelly Heese's guidance. The Hawks qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs and compiled a winning record. Central Valley (8-5) placed third in the Western Athletic Conference standings.

Team-Ceres High's varsity girls golf team made history. The Bulldogs were undefeated in Western Athletic Conference play. Ceres High won all 12 of its dual matches. The Bulldogs placed first at the conference's mid-season and year-end events. Ceres High posted a team score of 513 on their way to a program-best runner-up finish at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Tournament. The Bulldogs finished 14th overall (534) while competing at Masters for the first time. Ceres High took third at the prestigious Merced Tournament. The Bulldogs participated in the playoffs for the fifth year in a row under fifth-year leader Randy Cerny's direction. Cerny was voted WAC Coach of the Year. Ceres High's roster consisted of Caitlin Pfaff, Erica Hogner, Abigail Nou, Brittany Turnbow, Hannah Smith, Monika Ramirez and Savannah Beltran.

Game-Ceres High's varsity football played the role of spoiler with a 24-7 win over crosstown-rival Central Valley. The Bulldogs prevented the Hawks from securing their second straight playoff berth. Ceres High also snapped a seven-year losing streak against the Hawks. Central Valley's varsity volleyball team kept its playoff hopes alive by earning a hard-fought 3-2 (22-25, 25-8, 25-17, 20-25, 15-6) victory against a scrappy Ceres High squad. The 1-10 Bulldogs nearly eliminated the 8-5 Hawks from playoff contention. Central Valley secured its first-ever postseason berth a week later, topping Patterson 3-1 in a tiebreaker match.

Honorable mention-Ceres High's Sean Carr (boys water polo), Cristopher Torres (boys soccer), Jose Benitez (boys soccer), Caleb McDade (football), Marcellus Boykins (football), Caitlin Pfaff (girls golf), Erica Hogner (girls golf), Lisette Carretero (girls cross country), Lacey Oliveira (girls cross country), Angelica Slater (girls tennis), Janet Jimenez (girls tennis) and Juliana Rosas (girls tennis), and Central Valley's Moses Ghiorso (football), Daniel Alvarado (football),Gurvak Dhami (football) Jesus Mendoza (boys soccer), Custodio Vasquez (boys soccer), Teresa Diaz (girls tennis) and Julia Ramsey (volleyball).