Gonzales Spartans athletes
Gonzales High’s 2023-24 Athletes of the Year are Adrian Perez and Gracie Leon. Perez participated in three sports this year and Leon was a two-sport athlete. (Michael Ramirez)

GONZALES — Senior student-athletes Adrian Perez and Gracie Leon were announced as the 2023-24 Athletes of the Year for Gonzales High School during the 12th Grade Awards Night last week at the Roger Fernando Gym.

Perez was a three-sport student-athlete this school year, and Leon participated in tennis and the Spartans wrestling team.

Perez earned All-League honors in football, basketball and baseball this year. In football, he was the Santa Lucia Player of the Year as a receiver and was first-team defensive player.

Perez was a first-team All-League player in basketball and was All-League as a member of the championship baseball team, where he exhibited his athletic prowess.

In football, Perez led the Spartans with 45 receptions for 751 yards and with 66 points scored. Defensively, he contributed with three sacks and made 37 tackles. He also was selected to the football All-Star game.

In basketball, Perez averaged 22 points a game.

Gonzales High head basketball coach Steve Bentley felt that Perez was a difference maker on the courts for the Spartans.

“Adrian was a great team senior leader and he led by example,” Bentley said. “Definitely our most consistent difference maker and played on the All-Star game.”

Leon comes from a family of wrestlers, as her sisters Isabel and Alyssa also competed for the Spartan girls’ wrestling team.

Leon set the school record for the girls’ wresting team, finishing her career at Gonzales with 90-plus wins. She could have had more wins, but only wrestled for three years because of Covid-19.

Gonzales girls’ wrestling coach Sandra Rodriguez has coached Leon and her sisters since they were athletes at Fairview Middle School and has always been impressed by their work ethic.

“Having coached Gracie since the sixth grade, she’s always been a highly motivated and dedicated wrestler who always looked for ways to improve her skills,” Rodriguez said. “She definitely dominated her weight class at the PCAL (Pacific Coast Athletic League) qualifier by placing first as the All-League champion and moving on to qualify for CCS (Central Coast Section) for the third time.”

Leon began her wrestling career in Gonzales at 111 pounds and wrestled this season in the 115-pound weight class. For all her hard work, she was selected as the Most Valuable Wrestler for this season.

Leon was also a member of the Gonzales girls’ tennis team that became champions of the PCAL Cypress Division.

Next year, Leon will attend California State University Long Beach.

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