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ATHLETE OF THE YEAR Moreno Juggles Three Sports In Thrilling Career
From the football field to the basketball court and track and field throwing pits, no Riverbank High athlete showcased the versatility and stamina to match recent Bruin 2010 graduate, Jose Moreno.

The three-sport standout and school record holder personified Riverbank athletics over the course of 12 consecutive seasons, earning countless honors in a career littered with impressive feats and thrilling victories.

His competitive nature and superb work ethic led to a triumphant senior season across all three sports, leading to an easy selection as the Riverbank News' Male Bruin Athlete of the Year.

"He is a phenomenal competitor," Riverbank basketball coach Jeff Jennings said. "If you look at Jose he just seems built like a football player, but what makes him such a great athlete is very quick feet.

"For a kid his size he moves extremely well."

Those quick feet led Moreno to a first team All Trans-Valley League football selection in his senior year after standout production on the Bruin defensive line. Riverbank went just 2-8, but Moreno's bruising efforts at fullback and big stops at defensive end were all opposing TVL athletes could handle.

"It took a bunch of us just to tackle him," Ripon High defender Shane Bunting said. "That guy is a tank."

On the basketball court, Moreno's big 2008-09 season and the rising talent of sophomore sensation Zack Gonzales paved the way for a terrific combination in the ultra competitive TVL.

With Gonzales and perimeter sharp shooters Manuel Jimenez and Alex Reynaga drawing defensive attention, Moreno was able to anchor the post and swing the ball out for open looks at the hoop. He averaged nearly 10 points a game in his senior season.

"Jose would come in from football with banged up knees and shoulders, but he would play through it," Jennings said. "He is an incredibly tough kid to have played three sports at such a high level throughout his career."

Moreno's final run at Bruin athletics was delivered in a series of shot put and discus tosses for the Riverbank track and field program. He set a school and Division III championship record with a 168 foot, 8 inch toss at MJC. Moreno won the TVL in the shot put at 50 feet and eclipsed the 53-foot mark for a personal best earlier in the season.

"The biggest surprise I had was seeing Jose's attitude change at the start of his senior year," Riverbank coach Monte Wood said. "In previous years he had come into track a little burnt out from football and basketball. This year he came out with a mission and he battled with some of the best throwers our section has ever seen.

"He didn't back down from anyone."

The same Riverbank coaches who mentored Moreno in his prestigious career awarded the loveable Bruin with honors as the Riverbank outstanding senior athlete of the year at the spring awards banquet.

"There were times when I would go from one sport to the next that I would think 'I don't want to do this anymore,' but as I got older I wanted to push myself to get better," Moreno said. "My friends would put everything on the line and that made me open my eyes and start playing with my heart and with everything I had left."

Moreno will attend Modesto Junior College in the fall and compete for the Pirate's in both football and track and field.

He already practices two days a week with the school's football program, training for a future in front of the center as a nose guard. It's a good fit for a 6-4, 270-pound athlete with a reputation for quickness and toughness.

"I just have to focus even more and work on the one-gap responsibility I am going to have on the defensive line," Moreno said. "I'm real excited to compete at the next level."