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Recapping a memorable spring season
Ceres High, Central Valley programs experience a great deal of success
The members of Ceres Highs varsity boys tennis program celebrated a lot this past season. The 27-0 Bulldogs reached record heights by winning their first-ever section title. - photo by DALE BUTLER/Courier file photo

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

Top male athlete: Ceres High sophomore Nolan McCaig brought home a runner-up medal from the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II Varsity Boys Tennis Championships for the second year in a row. Nolan (30-2) suffered just two losses this year. He's won 59 of 62 matches over the past two seasons. McCaig captured his second straight Western Athletic Conference singles title and MVP award. He has a perfect 29-0 record in conference play.

Top female athlete: Heaven Simon was named Central Valley's top female athlete as she was presented a Golden Hawk Award. The fleet-footed senior qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Varsity Girls Track & Field Championships for the third year in a row. Simon placed fourth in the 300 hurdles in a personal-best time of 44.07 seconds. She was named an alternate for the CIF State Meet. Heaven set PRs while successfully defending her 300-hurdles title (45.77) and finishing first in the 400 (58.11) at the Division IV-V competition. Heaven claimed four individual titles at the WAC finals. She swept the 100 (13.09), 200 (27.05), 400 (59.59) and 300 hurdles (46.85). A standout defender on the Hawks' varsity girls basketball team, Simon earned honorable-mention recognition. She averaged a team-leading 4.0 steals per game to go along with 3.8 points and 3.4 rebounds. Heaven was awarded a $100 scholarship for her scoring and assists as part of Turlock Journal's First Annual Central Valley Senior Showcase.

Male newcomer: One of three sophomore starters on Ceres High's varsity baseball team this spring, Ricky Lopez contributed with his bat and arm. The third baseman hit .302 with four doubles, 14 runs and 17 RBIs. Lopez made five appearances at pitcher. He compiled a 1-0 record with nine strikeouts in 92/3 innings of work.

Female newcomer: Callie Nunes had a productive first season with Ceres High's varsity softball team. The sophomore pitcher compiled an 11-7 record (6-1 WAC) with a 0.94 ERA, five complete games, five shutouts, 156 strikeouts and just 28 walks. She surrendered just 14 earned runs in 1041/3 innings of work. A right-fielder when not on the mound, Nunes' offensive production consisted of one triple, two doubles, 16 runs, eight RBIs and five stolen bases.

Team: Ceres High School's varsity boys tennis program made history by winning its first-ever section title. The Bulldogs edged Manteca 5-4 for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III crown. Ceres High compiled a perfect 27-0 overall record, claimed its fourth consecutive WAC championship (third in a row with a perfect 12-0 record) and participated in the playoffs for the sixth year in a row. Nolan McCaig, Julio Ochoa, Chase Harden, Rene Cortes, Jose Ortega, Bruno de la Torre, Dennis Phommalinh, Manny Jimenez, Jorge Ruiz, Julian Rodriguez, Manuel Lozcano, Alex Torres and Charles Lo all contributed to Ceres High's success.
Coach: Ceres High School's varsity girls soccer team enjoyed its most successful season since the 1990s. The Bulldogs (10-4-2, 9-1-2 WAC) captured their first-ever conference title and participated in the playoffs for just the second time in program history under head coach Miguel Saldate's guidance.

Game/Match: Dennis Phommalinh and Manny Jimenez rallied for a 5-7, 6-4, 6-3 victory over Yok Ehy Ma and Si Hao Tang to propel Ceres High's varsity boys tennis team to a thrilling 5-4 win over Manteca in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-III finals.

Individual performance: Hawk senior track and field star Heaven Simon won four individual titles at the Western Athletic Conference Championships. Simon placed first in the 100, 200, 400 and 300 hurdles.

Honorable mention: Ceres High's Brad Bussard (baseball), Brett Conway (baseball), Izaiah Hernandez (baseball), Julio Ochoa (boys tennis), Chase Harden (boys tennis), Rene Cortes (boys tennis), Zach Chapman (boys golf), James Cervantez (boys golf), Zachary Jones (boys swimming), Julia Pata (girls swimming), Ciana Sather (girls swimming), Seth Gibson (boys track and field), Tristan Dray (boys track and field), Azia Brewster (girls track and field), Nicole Bates (softball), Mahlena O'Neal (softball), Rayohna Sagapolu (softball), Angelica Slater (girls soccer), Karina Torrez and Cristina Arreola (girls soccer), and Central Valley's Edgar Castillo (boys tennis), Emely Amaya (girls soccer), Evelyn Andrade (girls soccer), Celeste Acebes (girls soccer), Gilberto Alvarez (boys track and field) and Mahogany Simon (girls track and field).