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Unfinished business for Bulldog Pata
Ceres High varsity girls swimmer Julia Pata will add to her already-impressive resume this spring. Shes already qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Championships three times and claimed six individual Western Athletic Conference titles. - photo by Courier file photo

Multi-sport standout Julia Pata should have a memorable final season with Ceres High's varsity girls swim program.

A three-time section qualifier, Julia has also claimed six individual Western Athletic Conference titles.

"I always try to put higher expectations on myself," Pata said.

Julia placed 16th in the 100 free (55.21) and 24th in the 200 free (2:00.72) at the Sac-Joaquin Section Varsity Girls Swimming Championships. She set personal records in both events.

She topped 40 other girls in the 100 free.

Pata swept the 200 free (2:04.23) and 100 breast (1:14.84) at the WAC Finals. She finished first in the 50 free and 100 free her sophomore and freshman years.

"A successful season for me would be placing in the top five in each of my races at sections," she said. "I'm going to train a lot harder. I'm going to go out there and have as much fun as I can."

Pata started swimming eight years ago when she joined the Ceres Dolphins recreational team.

She placed fifth in the 100 free (55.58) and 13th in the 200 free (2:01.56) while representing the Bulldogs at the Sac-Joaquin Section Frosh-Soph Championships in 2015. Pata took seventh in the 100 free and 17th in the 50 free in 2014.

Julia has already established herself as one of Ceres High's all-time greatest swimmers.

Haley Fisicaro (class of 2013) qualified for the section meet four times.

"I looked up to Haley when I was younger," Pata said. "She did amazing things. I wanted to do just as good."

Pata will earn her 10th and 11th varsity letters this spring.

A standout in the shot put and discus, Julia is also a member of Ceres High's varsity girls track and field team.

"It's pretty hectic," Pata said while talking about her life as a student-athlete.

Julia posted an impressive 23-8 overall record during her first season with Ceres High's girls wrestling program this past winter. Pata qualified for Masters and finished sixth at South Regionals while competing in the 160-pound division. She also took first at the WAC Championships.

A four-year standout in water polo, Pata was selected to the WAC First Team last fall. Julia scored a team-high 31 goals for the Bulldogs, who compiled a program-best 16-3 overall record, finished second in the conference standings (7-2) and returned to the section playoffs following a three-year absence. "I'm always trying to work harder to motivate my teammates to work harder," Julia said. "I don't want them to see the person they look up to do poorly."

"When it comes time to compete, she gets a look in her eyes," Ceres High wrestling coach Steve Festa said. "Being second is not good enough. She wants to be the best."