GONZALES — Gonzales High School cross country team members and their families and coaches met for an awards night and dinner on Nov. 20 at the Gonzales American Legion Hall.
After a delicious meal of hot baked potatoes with all the fixings and sides of chicken tostadas, Spartans Head Coach Margie Daniels introduced the team members.
Hartnell College runner and Gonzales alumna Ashley Ochoa then spoke about the importance of working hard to become better runners and to work just as hard in the classroom.
Because of her commitment on the running trails and in her studies at Hartnell, Ochoa is starting the process of looking at offers from schools to continue her running and academic pursuits.
The cross country athletes then received academic certificates for maintaining high GPAs from the high school and from the Central Coast Section.
Afterward, all those in attendance sat back to enjoy the annual video slide show, which featured highlights from each meet, with a focus on the senior runners.
Special team awards were then presented to the following athletes: Giovanni Ochoa, Most Valuable Performer; Angelina Ybarra, Most Valuable Performer; Andres Hernandez, Captains Award; Christian Maldonado, Etuati Galvez and Christopher Medina, Coaches Award; Celso Lopez, Black Arrow Award; Matthew Arreola, Mr. Potential; Neque Perez, Spartan Spirit; Christopher Garcia, JV Most Valuable Player; Diego Valladares and Ruthie Bickley, Rising Star Award; and Jonathon Ybarra, Rookie of the Year.
Giovanni Ochoa received certificate awards for qualifying for the Central Coast Section Championships, for being an All-League runner and for participating in the State Meet. Ybarra completed her senior year with a trip to the CCS Championships.
The evening concluded with a cross country rendition of “Happy Birthday” by all to honor Coach Daniels on her birthday that took place earlier in the week.
“It’s always fun to recognize and acknowledge the hard work of our athletes from the season,” Daniels said. “They balanced their schedules and did well in running and in their studies.”