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Preparation for upcoming fall sports season begins
Ethan Letras and his Ceres High varsity boys water polo teammates scrimmaged during last Wednesdays practice. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Student-athletes from Ceres High and Central Valley attended practices and/or tryouts this past week.

The fall sports lineup will include football, water polo, cross country, girls volleyball, girls golf and girls tennis.

On Wednesday at Ceres High, Bulldog water polo players practiced for several hours after school.

Ceres High's girls team had a banner year last season.

The Bulldogs participated in the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for just the second time in school history.

Ceres High compiled a program-best 16-3 overall record, placed second in the Western Athletic Conference (7-2) and captured the Fourth Annual McNair Tournament title.

The Bulldogs won their first 13 matches of the 2016 season.

Ceres High's boys team just missed securing a berth to the playoffs.

The top two teams in the WAC advanced to the postseason.

Los Banos (4-5) edged out third-place Ceres High (4-5) for the final spot.

The Bulldogs lost the tiebreaker because of their 1-2 head-to-head record versus the Tigers.

"We've been practicing for a couple of weeks," Ceres High boys water polo head coach Bill Campbell said. "We've done some walk-throughs. This is our first day of full scrimmage."

Inside Phil de la Porte Gymnasium, Ceres High volleyball coaches Darlene Tobler and Meliesa Stiles evaluated talent during tryouts.

Bulldog players worked on individual skills after completing conditioning drills.

Ceres High experienced a major turnaround last year by placing second in the WAC (9-6) and returning to the playoffs following a five-year absence.

Ceres High's football team trained in full gear for the second straight week.

Bulldogs players did gassers - sprints - at the end of practice to improve their conditioning.

Ceres High showed marked improvement by doubling its overall win total from 2015 last year.

The Bulldogs posted a 4-6 record and finished fourth in the WAC (2-3).

Ceres High fell two victories shy of qualifying for the playoffs.

On Thursday at Central Valley, Hawk volleyball players trained under the watchful eyes of first-year head coach Regina Selfridge.

Selfridge takes over a program that placed third in the WAC (7-8) and qualified for the playoffs for the third year in a row last season. The Hawks had an overall record of 8-11.

Outside, Central Valley girls tennis players dedicated time to hitting and serving under long-time head coach Mike Rodriguez's guidance.

The Hawks compiled an 7-8 record on their way to a fourth-place finish in the WAC.

Ceres High (8-7) edged out Central Valley for the conference's third and final playoff berth with a 5-4 victory.

The Hawks won the previous two meetings by identical 5-4 scores.

Led by veteran runners Andres Rojo and Dana Miranda, Central Valley's cross country program wrapped up its practice with stretching exercises.

Central Valley's girls team placed third at the WAC Championships. The Hawks finished fifth during conference dual-meet competition.

Central Valley's boys took fifth at the league finals, sixth in the regular season.

Repetition was the focus as members of the Hawks' football program worked on executing offensive and defensive plays before concluding practice with gassers.

The 2016 Hawks made history by posting a program-best 9-2 record and capturing their first conference title under head coach Scott Edwards' direction.

Central Valley won all five of its WAC games.

The Hawks participated in the playoffs for the third time in four years.

Central Valley had its team-record eight-game winning streak snapped in the first round of the playoffs.

Central Valley's and Ceres High's football teams will open the 2017 season this Friday.

The Hawks will play host to the Atwater Falcons at Bulldog Stadium.

The Bulldogs will compete against the Western Ranch Cougars on the road.

Both games will begin at 7 p.m.