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Productive winter for Bulldogs, Hawks
The winter prep sports season ended earlier this month. Now is a good time to highlight the accomplishments of top individuals and teams.

Male athlete-Ceres High's Curtis Hulstine had a banner year, culminating with an appearance at the CIF State Wrestling Championships. The last Bulldog grappler to accomplish that feat was was Michael Scott in 2002. Hulstine, a 125-pound senior, finished the season with a 45-6 record. He captured titles at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV and Valley Oak League meets. Curtis advanced to state after posting several upsets on his way to a third-place finish at the Masters tournament. Hulstine had a 113-31 career record.

Female athlete-Ceres High girls basketball star Jode Johnson was named to the Valley Oak League first team for the second year in a row. The 5-foot-10 senior forward/guard averaged 17.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists per contest for the Bulldogs, who posted a 13-14 overall record and finished in fifth place in conference play (8-8).

Male newcomer-Ceres High grappler Gabe Balderas did more than hold his own while competing at the varsity level as a freshman. Balderas, who wrestled up a weight class, amassed a 26-16 record at 112 pounds. He took fifth at the Valley Oak League championships. Gabe won two of five matches en route to a sixth-place finish as an alternate at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV tournament. He almost secured a berth to the Masters meet. One of Balderas' biggest victories came during the VOL dual-meet season. His 6-3 win over Daniel Guzman lifted the Bulldogs to a 35-30 win over Weston Ranch.

Female newcomer-Myra Naranjo averaged 7.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.4 assists during her first season of varsity girls basketball at Central Valley High School. The junior guard shot 42 percent from 3-point range (34-for-81) and 86 percent from the foul line (12-for-14). Naranjo tallied 12 points, four rebounds, three assists and one block during the seventh-place Hawks' 44-36 upset of runner-up Sonora in Valley Oak League play.

Coach-Jon Nowicki and Steve Festa propelled Ceres High School's wrestling program to record heights. The Bulldogs made history when they qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV Section Team Dual Tournament for the first time in program history. Ceres High punched its ticket after completing a near-perfect run through the Valley Oak League dual-meet season. The Bulldogs placed second with an impressive 7-1 record. Ceres High's lone loss in league came against Oakdale (8-0). The Bulldogs beat seven other teams, including Sonora and Weston Ranch for the first time since Nowicki and Festa took over the program in 2006-07.

Team-The Bulldogs' wrestling program participated in the Sac-Joaquin Section Team Dual Tournament, upended Sonora, Weston Ranch, Sierra, East Union, Manteca, Central Valley and Lathrop en route to a runner-up finish in the Valley Oak League standings and qualified seven individuals for Divisionals. Four members advanced to Masters and one to state. Ceres High also placed first at its home tournament and defended its title at the Bear Creek Invitational. Curtis Hulstine, Tony Spinella, Keegan Overbey, Christian Moore, Shawn Amirfar, Wesley Schwieger, Nick Moran, Christian Rodriguez, Erik Eisenbeis, Gabe Balderas, Brandon Christeson, Rajdeep Singh, Chad Atchison, Lucas Silva, Kevin Hartley and Ruben Sanchez all played a part in the team's success.

Game-Justin Canatsy and Lance Hunter struggled mightily as visiting Ceres High School's boys basketball team faced a 17-0 deficit late in the first quarter of its Valley Oak League finale with crosstown rival Central Valley. Determined not to lose the last game of their prep careers, the two seniors stepped up when it mattered the most. Hunter tallied all 13 of his points in the final period, and Canatsy scored the go-ahead basket with 17 seconds remaining to give the Bulldogs a thrilling 50-49 comeback victory. Ceres High junior Tyler Cummings chipped in 10 points. The Bulldogs' student body rushed the court after Central Valley's Greg Mathews missed the potential game-winning shot at the buzzer.

Contributors-Tony Spinella had a phenomenal final season with Ceres High School's wrestling team. The 145-pound senior brought home titles from the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV and VOL championships. Spinella just missed securing a berth to the CIF State Meet following a 2-2 showing at Masters Tournament. He would have locked up an automatic berth had he won his quarterfinals match. Tony posted an impressive 8-2 record during the postseason ... Josh Beckhart, Central Valley's 215-pound grappler, compiled a 24-13 record. The junior accomplished his goal of qualifying for Masters. Beckhart finished fifth at Divisionals and second in the VOL. Eleven of Josh's wins this season came via pin. Six of his losses were to state qualifiers ... Jamie Beck was a force on both offense and defense for Ceres High School's girls basketball team. The 6-foot-2 junior post player averaged 13.1 points, 12.2 rebounds and 4.8 blocks per game en route to earning second-team, all-conference accolades ... Central Valley's Phylicia Martinez was also named to the VOL second team. The senior center-forward averaged 8.3 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks ... Bulldog senior guard Justin Canatsy averaged 12.6 points per game. He received all-VOL second-team honors.