Ceres High sophomores Ronaldo Flores and Esmeralda Garcia have been named the Ceres Courier’s Male and Female Newcomers of the Year for the fall sports season.
Flores (boys cross country) and Garcia (girls cross country) both had productive rookie campaigns with their respective teams.
“The reasons I did so well are because I had a strong mindset and worked hard,” Flores said. “After track season, I wanted to get better so I started practicing by myself. I ran seven miles every day. That helped me improve a lot.”
Flores claimed four medals during the course of the season.
He earned first-team all-Western Athletic Conference honors.
Flores placed eighth with a time of 17 minutes, 53 seconds on the 3-mile course at the WAC Varsity Championships on Oct. 30 at O’Neill Forebay.
He filled a key role as the Bulldogs placed second in the league’s overall standings.
Flores finished ninth overall at the Sac-Joaquin Division-III Sub-Section Sophomore Championships on Nov. 9 at Frogtown in Angels Camp.
He posted a time of 12 minutes, 15 seconds on the 2-mile course.
Flores helped Ceres High secure a berth to the section meet. The Bulldogs advanced thanks to their sixth-place showing.
Flores took eighth (11:29) at the section finals on Nov. 16 at Willow Hill Reservoir in Folsom.
He was 13th (15:17) at the Hughson Supercross Frosh-Soph Invitational.
“Ronaldo became such an important member of the team,” head coach Katie Thiele said. “He exceeded my expectations. He exceeded his own expectations. He had the will to prepare.”
“There was a lot of pressure,” Flores said. “I didn’t want to let my team down. The most challenging part was keeping a consistent pace. You get tired and want to give up but can’t.”
Garcia won two medals this fall.
She brought home a third-place medal (14:52) from the Division-III Frosh-Soph Sub-Section Championships.
Garcia was awarded a medal after taking seventh (15:41) at the section finals.
She just missed securing a medal by one place when she took ninth (22:09) at the WAC Varsity Championships.
Garcia did help Ceres High secure a runner-up finish in the conference’s overall standings.
She earned second-team, all-league honors.
“I’m so proud of Esmeralda,” Thiele said. “From the moment she joined the team, she was hard working. She was very coachable. She set herself up for success by running with more seasoned runners. She trained with Karina Baez.”