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Siblings Jimmy, Nicole Bates voted Ceres High Schools top athletes
Brother-sister tandem excel in multiple sports
Nicole and Jimmy Bates earned a combined five varsity letters during the 2013-14 school year. They were recently recognized for their outstanding play. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Siblings Jimmy and Nicole Bates both earned bragging rights.

Jimmy and Nicole were named Ceres High's Male and Female Athletes of the Year, respectively, in a vote by the school's coaches this past week.

Bulldog Athletic Director Shawna Nunes made the announcement on June 2.

"When I told them, they were super excited," Nunes said. "They earned it. They worked hard to achieve in the classroom and on the field. They're both very good kids and athletes. Their family is very competitive. But they're also extremely supportive of each other."

"We didn't know what was going on," Jimmy said. "Once we realized it, we shared a hug. We're the first sibling duo to receive the award in the same year. It's definitely cool to get the recognition. We both really had special years."

"It means a lot to me to be recognized with my brother," Nicole said. "It's a big honor for both of us. We're both really happy for each other. We definitely push each other to do better. But we don't compare each other."

Jimmy earned six varsity letters during his prep athletic career, including three in baseball, two in basketball and one in football.

"It's been a very memorable senior year for me," he said.

Jimmy, a standout batter and infielder, was selected to the Western Athletic Conference First Team.

He helped lead Ceres High's baseball program (23-7, 11-1) to its first league title since 1991 and fourth consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearance.

He was selected to the Western Athletic Conference First Team.

"We really worked together as a team," said Bates, who batted .378 with two triples, two doubles, 10 RBIs, 13 runs and one stolen base in league play.

Jimmy contributed at multiple positions in football during the fall.

He caught 10 passes for 116 yards and two touchdowns, completed 3 of 7 passes for 41 yards and two TDs and rushed for 31 yards on 11 carries.

Jimmy registered 20 tackles and recovered one fumble.

The Bulldogs compiled a 2-8 record.

Jimmy totaled 54 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in 23 games for the Bulldogs' boys basketball team (13-13, 5-7) in the winter.

He also represented Ceres High at the WAC Scholar Athlete of the Year banquet. Bates had a cumulative GPA of 4.083.

"That's the award I'm most proud of," said Jimmy, who will try to join UC Irvine's baseball team as a walk-on next spring.

Added Nicole: "My brother is a genius."

Nicole starred in varsity softball and girls basketball during her sophomore year at Ceres High.

"I don't really think about awards," she said. "I just go out there and play. It's been a very special year."

Bates helped guide Ceres High's softball squad to a 21-6 overall record, fourth-place finish in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV playoffs and a perfect 12-0 mark in the WAC standings.

Nicole, who made a verbal commitment to the University of Washington prior to the start of the 2013 season, starred on offense and at shortstop for the second year in a row.

She won the WAC's Most Valuable Player award.

She hit .511 with three homers, two triples, four doubles, 19 RBIs, 22 runs, five stolen bases and a .872 slugging percentage.

Nicole earned second-team, all-league honors in basketball.

She averaged 13.1 points per game for Ceres High, which tied for third in the conference standings (5-7) with Central Valley.

Bates' jumper from the free-throw line at the buzzer propelled the Bulldogs to a 48-47 victory against the crosstown Hawks.

"Softball is my favorite sport," Nicole said.

The brother-sister tandem of Rick and Genise Arnold were voted Ceres High's top athletes in 1977 and 1980, respectively.

The Goblirsch brothers, Derrick (2005, 2004) and Clinton (2002), also garnered recognition for their talents.

"It's nice to have someone who can push you," Jimmy said. "She's pushed me to become a better athlete. With me being the student I am, I've pushed her to do better in the classroom. She's accomplished a lot in her life already. I couldn't be more proud of her."

"Ping pong. Board games. Dice. We compete in everything," Nicole said. "My whole family is very competitive. It's going to be sad not having him with me at school next year. We're really close."