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Alejandro Garcia made history in 2008 when he became the first male Bulldog runner to qualify for the CIF State Cross Country Championships in a decade.

The Ceres High senior cemented his legacy by advancing to the prestigious meet for the second year in a row.

Garcia earned a berth after taking second with a time of 16 minutes, 46 seconds at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III meet on Saturday, Nov. 14 in Folsom. Alejandro placed fifth (17:12) on the Willow Hill three-mile course in 2008.

"I'm pretty excited," he said. "I know what to expect this year. I'm going to do my best to improve my time."

"He's peaking at the right time," head coach Natalie Alvarez said. "It's amazing. He's doing awesome."

Garcia's final season with the Bulldogs has been nothing short of amazing thanks in large part to a new training regimen. He ran 400s in an effort to improve his speed.

Alejandro went undefeated in the Valley Oak League, finishing first at the finals and two cluster meets. He had to settle for runner-up honors last year.

Garcia successfully defended his Stanislaus County Super Cross Country Invitational title.

He also did better at the section and sub-section championships, where he placed fifth and third, respectively, in 2008.

"It doesn't surprise me at all," Alvarez said. "He's worked really hard. He's taken care of his body. He's able to run faster because of the speed work he put in during the summer."

Garcia has high expectations for state in Fresno on Saturday.

He placed 77th in a field of 201 last November at Woodward Park. Alejandro completed the three-mile race in 16 minutes, 29 seconds.

"I didn't have no strategy last year," Garcia said. "This year, I know what to do. I know the course. I'll be satisfied if I finish in the top 10."

"I can't put a place but we expect him to run a phenomenal race," Alvarez added. "He's going to do so much better."

Alejandro became a member of Ceres High's cross country program in 2007 after failing to make the boys soccer team. He quickly made a name for himself by winning section and sub-section titles at the sophomore level.

"When I first started running, it was a hobby," Garcia said. "I wanted to stay in shape. I became more dedicated because I'm a competitive guy. I got to give credit to my coach. She got me to where I am right now."