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Ceo's decisive summer

Bear River star commits to Oregon, plays in Under Armor All-American game
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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Courtney Ceo felt life couldn’t get much better last spring after her Bear River High softball team won its second straight Sac-Joaquin Section championship. Then came summer. The Bruins’ star shortstop gave a verbal commitment to continue her softball career at the University of Oregon even though she has two years of high school remaining. She then earned a chance to play in the Under Armor All-American game earlier this month in Orlando, Fla. Now the virtually endless softball season is over — her American Softball Association squad will resume play at the end of August — but Ceo’s not ready to sit back and reflect on her accomplishments and accolades. “I’m still practicing, but it’s nice to have a couple of weeks off to catch up with everything at home,” Ceo said. “Committing to college takes a lot of pressure off, but it also puts pressure on. I still have to improve and work hard to get better.” It may be tough for Ceo to improve on her 2008 season at Bear River. The leadoff hitter batted .513 with 19 steals, 19 RBIs and three home runs. As a sophomore, Ceo had a remarkable 60 hits in 117 at-bats. Oregon was already intrigued after Ceo impressed at a scouting camp last summer in Los Angeles. “There were a lot of colleges there and I just performed well,” said Ceo, who lives in Meadow Vista. “The Oregon coaches really liked what they saw. They started coming to my tournaments and I met the coaches and really liked them. They really made it to where I knew I wanted to go there.” Ceo’s competitive nature combined with her physical talents were evident to Bear River coach Duane Zauner before she took the field as a freshman. She played shortstop behind her sister Britney, a standout pitcher for the Bruins. The Ceo sisters helped lead Bear River to its first section softball title in 2007. There was no letup in 2008 as senior Kelly Shepard took over as the team’s ace pitcher and Courtney continued to excel. She teamed with Katie Mathis — also a junior-to-be — to form a tremendous middle infield. “That’s the one thing we were missing with that senior group that just graduated was that middle infield,” Zauner said. “Those two really solidified it.” Mathis is now getting looks from Division I schools as well. Ceo, who plays for the American Sports Academy ASA team from Tracy, began emerging on the national stage before she even started high school. “She’s been exposed to college coaches since she was very young,” Zauner said. “She’s so determined. She’s a great athlete and she worked so hard to make herself a good player. She’s got great speed, a very strong arm — it’s just hard to keep her out of the lineup.” Organizers of the Under Armor All-American game decided they couldn’t keep Ceo out of the lineup either. She was one of 30 players from across the country to compete in the game and one of just 13 from the class of 2010. Ceo said her experience in the All-American game was excellent, despite her “New Prototype” team’s 2-1 loss to “Boom Boom Tap.” “I met a lot of new girls and I played really well,” Ceo said. “It was definitely the highlight of the summer.” And that’s saying something.