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Year in review of top individual, team accomplishments
In today's Courier, we present the best of 2012 list.

Peak Performers

1. Ceres High School's Gabe Balderas joined elite company when he became just the sixth Bulldog grappler in the last 17 years to qualify for the CIF State Wrestling Championships twice. The 113-pounder compiled a 2-2 record en route to a top-16 finish. Balderas posted a 44-13 overall record. He placed second at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters and Division-IV tournaments. Gabe took first at the Western Athletic Conference finals.

2. Rose Moore became just the second athlete in Central Valley High School's history to qualify for a state-meet competition. The 114-pound senior won one of three matches on her way to a top-16 showing at the second annual CIF State Girls Wrestling Championships. Moore finished 24-6 on the year. She placed fourth with a 4-2 mark at Regionals. She took first at Los Banos and Bear Creek. Rose finished second at Central Valley and Napa Valley. Against boys, Moore had a 6-8 record.

3. Bryce Ford starred on Ceres High's varsity girls track and field and basketball teams her junior year. Ford qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships in three events. She placed second in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles, and fourth in the high jump at Divisionals. Ford swept the 100 hurdles, 300 hurdles and high jump, and finished second in the triple jump at the Western Athletic Conference finals. Bryce earned first-team, all-conference honors on the hardwood. She averaged 14.5 points and 8.5 rebounds per game.

4. A role player on Ceres High's varsity boys water polo squad as a freshman, Zachary Jones was unstoppable in the pool in 2012.

The southpaw racked up a team-leading 95 goals for the Western Athletic Conference champion and Sac-Joaquin Section playoff qualifying Bulldogs. Jones was voted league MVP.

5. Julio Ochoa had a memorable freshman season while dominating at No. 1 singles on Ceres High's varsity boys tennis team. Ochoa defeated Western Athletic Conference co-MVP Sterling Ramirez of Patterson 6-0, 2-6, 7-5 in the finals of the league tournament. Julio had a 13-1 record in conference play. Ochoa followed in the footsteps of two older siblings. Luis and Marifer combined to win three singles titles and four MVP awards with the Bulldogs.

6. Central Valley varsity boys golf standout Anthony Bonales won the Western Athletic Conference individual title and Most Valuable Player award for the second year in a row. Bonales, a sophomore at the time, had a 34-point lead over Central Catholic's Tyler Alldrin and Ceres High's Ian Couture heading into the conference's year-end tournament. Anthony racked up 92 points.

7. Caitlin Pfaff, a sophomore standout on Ceres High's varsity girls golf team, claimed the Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player award. She totaled 92 points while finishing atop the conference's individual standings. Pfaff also qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Tournament. She placed third in the WAC and earned first-team all-league honors her freshman year.

8. Kaycee Creek was named the WAC's Most Valuable Pitcher during her final season on Ceres High's Western Athletic Conference champion and Sac-Joaquin Section postseason qualifying varsity softball team. She compiled a 10-2 record with a 1.11 ERA, two shutouts, nine complete games and 73 strikeouts. Kaycee batted .500 with two triples, six doubles, four RBIs, 14 runs, five stolen bases and a .778 slugging percentage.

9. Jimbo Pernetti, a standout batter and shortstop on Ceres High's varsity baseball team, was selected Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player. Pernetti played a major role while leading the Bulldogs to a runner-up finish in the WAC standings. Jimbo led the conference in batting average (.556), homers (2), runs (17) and slugging percentage (.889). He was second in doubles (6), and third in RBIs (13) and on-base percentage (.550). Pernetti committed just three errors on defense. He was also an honorable-mention pick in hoops. Jimbo averaged 10.1 points and 8.0 rebounds for the Bulldogs, who placed third in league play.

10. Central Valley's Ozzie Ramos had a breakout year in varsity boys soccer. The junior midfielder was voted the Western Athletic Conference's Most Valuable Player. Ramos tallied 20 goals and 13 assists as the Hawks won their third consecutive WAC championship and qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the sixth year in a row.

11. Brittany Martinez, a 6-foot-2 center on Central Valley's varsity girls basketball team, finished second in Western Athletic Conference Most Valuable Player voting behind Los Banos' Brianna Harden. Martinez averaged 11.3 points, 12.8 rebounds, 3.1 blocks, 1.5 steals and shot 46 percent from the field as the Hawks successfully defended their WAC title. Brittany earned first-team, all-conference honors.

12. Ja'Quan Gardner had a productive junior season with Central Valley's varsity football team. He rushed for 1,562 yards and 15 touchdowns. He caught 14 passes for 272 yards and two scores. Gardner tallied 19 tackles, three interceptions, two pass deflections and one forced fumble on defense. Ja'Quan was selected to the Western Athletic Conference Second Team.

Most Memorable Games

1. Ceres High's varsity softball team erased a two-run deficit and edged out Central Catholic 4-2 in 10 innings for the Western Athletic Conference championship on the last day of the regular season. The win, coupled with Los Banos' loss to Livingston, gave the Bulldogs the WAC title outright and top seed for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs.

2. Ceres High's varsity boys water polo team lost 12-10 at Los Banos on Oct. 1. The Bulldogs avenged the loss with a one-sided 13-6 win over the Tigers in Ceres on Oct. 17. The victory, along with Ceres High's rout of Livingston and Los Banos' loss to Pacheco, gave the Bulldogs their first conference title in eight years. Ceres High finished first in the Western Athletic Conference and qualified for the playoffs.

3. Ceres High's and Central Valley's varsity girls tennis teams battled for more than bragging rights. The host Bulldogs eliminated the Hawks from playoff contention and secured the Western Athletic Conference's final berth with a 6-3 victory over their crosstown rivals on Oct. 16. Ceres High placed third in the WAC standings with a 7-5 record. Central Valley took fourth in conference play (6-6). The Bulldogs improved their all-time record versus the Hawks to 14-0. Ceres High also qualified for the postseason for the sixth year in a row.

4. Ceres High School's varsity boys tennis team completed a near-perfect run through the Western Athletic Conference regular season. The first-place Bulldogs shut out crosstown-rival Central Valley 9-0 on the road and secured the WAC's No. 1 seed for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-II Playoffs. Ceres High won 11 of its 12 conference matches. The Bulldogs improved their all-time record versus the Hawks to 12-0.

5. Ceres High School's varsity wrestling team erased a 22-point deficit and escaped with a 38-28 win over crosstown-rival Central Valley. The Bulldogs won eight of the final 10 matches. Ruben Sanchez, Armando Morales, Gabe Balderas, Brandon Christeson, Nick Santibanez, Erick Garcia, David Cisneros and Nick Moran were all victorious. The Hawks would have forced a tiebreaker had they won the night's final match by pin. Moran avoided a huge letdown with a 15-1 major-decision victory at 152 pounds.

6. Binder Atwal picked the perfect time to bury his only 3-pointer of the game. He brought Ceres High varsity boys basketball fans to their feet when he evened the score at 48-all against crosstown-rival Central Valley with 11 seconds left in regulation. Atwal finished with eight points in the fourth quarter as Ceres High rallied for a 60-55 win over the Hawks in overtime on the final day of the Western Athletic Conference season Friday night at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium. Central Valley had a comfortable 11-point lead at the 1:30 mark of the third period. Binder converted eight of 12 foul shots and netted a game-high 21 points for Ceres High, which took third in the WAC standings (7-5). Bulldog teammates Harman Chung and Jimbo Pernetti tallied 14 and 13 points, respectively. Miguel Rodriguez scored a team-high 16 points for fourth-place Central Valley (4-8).