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Memorable season for CV, CHS
Athletes, teams excel in 2016
Central Valley senior football player Jonathan Barragan had a breakout season this past fall. Barragan racked up 1,731 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

The 2016 fall sports season was filled with many highlights. Now's the perfect time to recollect and celebrate.

Top male athlete-A standout offensive and defensive lineman on Central Valley's varsity football team, Erik Mejia made program history by being named Most Valuable Player of the Western Athletic Conference. Erik had 42 tackles, four sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery in 11 games. The Hawks piled up 2,843 yards and 40 touchdowns on the ground thanks in large part to Mejia's blocking.

Top female athlete-Senior Blanca Espinoza played every match like it was her last while filling a major role on Central Valley's varsity girls volleyball team. She was named Western Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Year. Espinoza led the Hawks with 366 digs. She also had 60 kills and 35 aces.

Male newcomer-Jonathan Barragan enjoyed a breakout season while starring on Central Valley's varsity football team. Barragan racked up 1,731 all-purpose yards and 14 touchdowns during his third and final year with the Hawks. He gained 1,148 yards and scored 13 TDs at running back. He caught 13 passes for 266 yards. Jonathan also returned a punt 56 yards for a score. Barragan was selected to the Western Athletic Conference First Team.

Female newcomer-Ceres High sophomores Camryn Silva (girls water polo) and Destiny Suarez (girls cross country) had productive first seasons with their respective varsity teams. Suarez placed fifth on her way to earning an all-league patch at the Western Athletic Conference Championships. Silva was selected to the WAC Second Team. She was the Bulldogs' second-leading scorer with 24 goals.

Coach-Ceres High's varsity girls volleyball team experienced a major turnaround under second-year head coach Darlene Tobler's guidance. The Bulldogs placed second in the Western Athletic Conference standings (9-6) and returned to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs following a five-year absence. Ceres High won just four matches in 2015.

Team-Central Valley's varsity football team had a banner year. The Hawks made history by posting a program-best 9-2 overall record and capturing their first-ever league title. Central Valley won all five of its Western Athletic Conference games. The Hawks participated in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the third time in the past four seasons. Central Valley had its team-record eight-game winning streak snapped in the first round of the playoffs. The Hawks totaled 33 sacks and surrendered just 11.8 points per game on defense. Central Valley averaged 258.5 yards rushing and 30.3 points per game on offense.

Game-Ceres High's varsity football team suffered a heart-breaking loss at Pacheco. The Bulldogs needed to beat the Panthers to keep their Sac-Joaquin Section playoff and Western Athletic Conference title hopes alive. Pacheco edged Ceres High by the slimmest of margins, 42-41, in Los Banos. Bulldog quarterback Chris Lubinsky connected with Ceres High receiver Marcellus Boykins on a 10-yard scoring play to cut the deficit to one with 10 seconds to play. Lubinsky's potential, game-winning 2-point conversion pass to junior running back Andrew Gibson fell short in the end zone. The two teams combined for 1,008 yards and 12 touchdowns on offense. Lubinsky tossed for a career-high 466 yards, to go along with three touchdowns, while completing 33 of 46 pass attempts. Boykins totaled 152 yards and one touchdown on 11 receptions. Conner Johnson hauled in eight passes for 142 yards and one TD. Gibson carried the ball 14 times for 50 yards and two touchdowns.

Honorable mention-Ceres High's Chris Lubinsky (football), Marcellus Boykins (football), Conner Johnson (football), Aiden Moore (football), Caleb Bishop (boys water polo), Logan Kier (boys water polo), Caleb Cannella (boys water polo), Ethan Letras (boys water polo), Julia Pata (girls water polo), Kaitlyn Foster (girls water polo), Camryn Elness (girls water polo), Camryn Silva (girls water polo), Noelia de Leon (girls water polo), Christian Linarez (boys cross country), Haaydn Martinez (boys cross country), Noah Holloway (boys cross country), Breanna Moreno (girls volleyball), Kendall Meyer (girls volleyball), Madison Nash (girls volleyball), Hannah Smith (girls golf), Monika Ramirez (girls golf) and Andria Esho (girls tennis), and Central Valley's Oso Fregoso (football), Gabriel Quezada (football), Angel Lopez (football), David Serrano (football), Estevan Barragan (football), Nasson Sanchez (football), Gerardo Solorzano (football), Chase Bogart (boys cross country), Dana Miranda (girls cross country), Mariana Garibay (girls volleyball), Adria Robinson (girls volleyball), Claudia Martinez (girls tennis) and Lupita Becerra (girls tennis).