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Bulldog Harden wins league MVP award
McKenzy Harden successfully defended her Valley Oak League varsity girls tennis singles title and led the Bulldogs to a share of the conference's team championship this year.

The Ceres High junior was selected co-Most Valuable Player on Oct. 30 in Manteca by the league's coaches. Harden won the award outright as a sophomore. She has a perfect 64-0 record over the past two seasons.

"She had another awesome season," said Bryan Harden, McKenzy's coach and father. "I'm very proud of her."

Harden shared the MVP honor with Oakdale senior Carolyn Rowley, who helped propel the Mustangs to a tie for first-place in league. Both players received four votes.

Harden won all 32 of her conference matches.

She had a 3-0 head-to-head record against Rowley.

"There shouldn't have been a vote," Bryan said. "It was obvious. Carolyn had a great year but she lost to McKenzy. They didn't want to give it to McKenzy again for whatever reason."

Harden has an astonishing 107-4 record over the past three years. She was runner-up at the VOL finals as a freshman.

McKenzy has already established herself as Ceres High's all-time greatest tennis player.

"I don't feel different," a humble Harden said.

Added Bryan: "That's something you think about 10 years from now. Not in the moment."

Bulldog teammates Venus Lopez, Angie Prak, Ryan Norton and Morgan Ogden were also recognized.

Lopez made the VOL first team. The sophomore posted an impressive 28-4 record and finished in third place at the league tournament. Ceres High beat Sierra twice on the strength of Venus' victories.

"She has an inner-concentration level that is very high," Harden said.

Prak earned second-team honors for her outstanding play at No. 3 singles. The junior finished 20-9 in conference play.

"She epitomizes what I look for in an athlete," Harden said. "She plays as hard as she can every single time she walks onto the court. She'll do whatever it takes. As a coach, you respect and love that."

The sophomore doubles duo of Norton and Ogden received honorable-mention accolades.

"The deserved it," Bryan said. "By mid-year, they started peaking. They won some big matches for us."