By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Bulldog standout ranks 23rd in NorCal

Staff reporter of the

Ceres (Calif.) Courier

Ceres High varsity girls tennis star McKenzy Harden had a fruitful offseason.

The senior finished 23rd in the 2009 United States Tennis Association Northern California 16-and-under rankings.

"She got match experience," said Bryan Harden, father and coach. "That's the biggest thing."

Harden participated in 10 tournaments between Jan. 3 and May 30.

McKenzy won a pair of singles titles in Fresno and one championship in Lafayette.

Harden finished runner-up at the Sportsmen of Stanislaus, Discovery Bay and Merced Spring competitions.

She advanced to the semifinals of the Laguna Creek and Chamisal tournaments, and round of 16 at the Diamond Hills and Stockton events.

McKenzy also helped lead the Modesto Fitness and Racket Club 18-and-under Blue All-Stars to a top four finish at the NorCal Girls Junior Team Tennis Sectional Championships in Clovis earlier this month.

Harden won four of her six matches, including two singles. She teamed up with Modesto High's Mackenzie Cook to win a pair of doubles tilts.

McKenzy topped her doubles partner, 6-4, 6-3, in the women's finals of the Modesto Fitness and Racket Club Class Tournament. Harden and Ceres High boys standout Luis Ochoa captured the mixed doubles championship (6-1, 6-0).

"Her game has really improved," Bryan said. "She's striking the ball a lot harder."

This fall, McKenzy will try to win her third straight Valley Oak League singles championship. She has a perfect 64-0 record in conference play over the past two seasons.

"Her goal is to play college tennis," Bryan said. "If she doesn't get better, she won't."