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Grad Moring manages tennis team
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Brandon Moring shared head coaching duties with Bryan Harden in 2003 and Brian de la Porte in 2002. This year, Moring will manage the Ceres High boys tennis team by himself. Moring, a standout tennis and football player at Ceres High in the 1990s, is prepared.

"The first two years that I coached I took on most of the responsibilities anyway," Moring said. "I feel pretty comfortable doing it by myself."

Added Harden: "I think Brandon will do fine. He's got the right personality and all the kids like him and respect him."

Moring didn't plan on returning to the team but decided to after he found out Harden wouldn't be able to coach. He made the decision a few weeks before the start of the season.

"It was a last minute decision," Moring said. "Bryan wasn't able to do it because of his work.

"I'm going through the credential program so I have a little bit of extra time during the days."

Moring graduated from Stanislaus State last fall. He was a health and physical education major.

"I really enjoy working with kids," Moring said. "Someday, I'd like to become a P.E. teacher at Ceres High or anywhere else or coach at the college level."

This year's team features 12 players.

"That's a huge turnout for Ceres tennis," Moring said. "I decided to not cut any of the kids to get them motivated to compete this year and contend for the CCC championship in the future."

Ceres lost five of its seven starters to graduation, including all three of its singles players and two of its four doubles players.

"We just want to rebuild, get better and most importantly, have fun," Moring said.

Five players return from a season ago, including seniors Kenny Strangio and Warren McDonald, juniors Russell Alcorn and Kyle Fliflet and sophomore Roland Salazar. Alcorn played on the first doubles team last season. Strangio played on the second doubles team.

"Those guys are all at the same level as far as ability and skill go," Moring said. "My lineup can change every week depending on the challenges."

Seniors Chris Kitavong and David Padilla, sophomores Carlos Jara and Andy Perez and freshmen Jose Magana, Charles Robertson and Pedro Cortes are first-year players.

Alcorn, Salazar and Strangio are Ceres' top singles players.

Fliflet and McDonald start on the No. 1 doubles team.

Kitavong, Magana, Padilla and Jara will vie for time on the Bulldogs' No. 2 doubles team.

"I don't see them (Jara, Perez, Robertson and Cortes) entering the rotation this year," Moring said. "They need to improve some basic skills."

Ceres finished fourth in Central California Conference standings with 12-6 record in 2003.

"Last year that was one of the best teams to come through Ceres in a long time," Moring said. "This year's team has some fight in them.

"We're going to be aggressive and do the best we can. We may go .500." - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier