Sophomore Luis Yepez has been named the Courier’s Male Athlete of the Year for the 2018 fall sports season.
A newcomer to the sport of cross country, Yepez made a name for himself by qualifying for the Sac-Joaquin Section Varsity Boys Championships and claiming a medal at the Western Athletic Conference Finals.
“I did cross country because I wanted to get in better shape for soccer,” he said. “I wanted to be able to run a lot more without getting tired. After the first race, my mindset changed. I wanted to be one of the top runners.”
Luis said part of his success could be attributed to the guidance he received from head coach Katie Thiele and teammates Aaron Alarcon and Daniel Yepez.
Daniel is Luis’ older brother.
“They believed in me a lot,” Yepez stated. “That made me want to try harder. I didn’t want to let them down.”
Luis finished seventh at the WAC Championships on Oct. 24 at Ceres River Bluff Regional Park.
He completed the 3-mile course in 18 minutes, 20 seconds.
Yepez placed 41st (18:07) in a field of 183 at the Sac-Joaquin Division-III Sub-Section Championships on Nov. 3 at Frogtown.
He took 42nd (18:38) at the section finals on Nov. 17 at Willow Hill Reservoir Community Park in Folsom. The race featured 74 participants.
“It was a fun experience. I never expected to get this far because it’s my first year. I definitely exceeded my expectations.”Luis Yepez
“It was a fun experience,” Luis said. “I never expected to get this far because it’s my first year. I definitely exceeded my expectations.”
“He’s the first boys runner from Ceres High to make it to sections in nine years,” Thiele said. “He’s very talented. He’s athletic. He plays soccer. I didn’t have to waste time getting him in shape.”
Yepez and the Bulldogs plan to do even better next year.
“I’m going to try to push the underclassmen,” he said. “I want to have a chance at winning league as a team. My individual expectation is to reach sections again and finish higher than I did this year.”