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Hardens compete in tennis tourney
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With Ceres' Logan and McKenzy Harden leading the way, the Modesto Racket Club 15-and-under girls tennis team finished in third place at the 2004 Northern California Section Championships. The eight-team tournament was held in the Fresno-Clovis area, Aug. 6-8.

"We ended up winning the consolation championship," said Bryan Harden, Modesto's interim coach and Logan and McKenzy's father. "You can't beat that for a first-year team."

Bryan filled in for David Phipps. Phipps, a junior-to-be at Cal State Fullerton, who played No. 1 singles for the Modesto Junior College men's tennis team last season, had another commitment.

"It was a nice experience," Bryan said. "That's the first time I was able to coach my kids during a match."

Modesto won two of its three matches at the NorCal Championships.

Most of Modesto's opponents were bigger, stronger and older.

"We were by far the youngest team there," Bryan said.

Modesto's team featured one 14 year old (Claire Whiteside), three 13 year olds (Gwen Marks, Kaitlynn Forney and Logan Harden) and two 12 year olds (McKenzy Harden and Presli Pilati). Logan and Presli played for the Modesto Racket Club 12-and-under team during the regular season.

"They're all good enough to beat each other," Harden said. "That makes for a pretty solid team."

Modesto beat Fairfield's Green Valley Country Club 6-3 on Aug. 8 at Fig Garden Swim & Tennis in Fresno.

Modesto won four of six singles and two of three doubles matches.

Logan, Whiteside, McKenzy and Pilati were all victorious in singles play.

Logan and Whiteside and McKenzy and Pilati won their doubles matches.

Modesto edged Danville's Crow Canyon Country Club 5-4 on Aug. 7 at Clovis High School.

Modesto won three of six singles and two of three doubles matches.

Forney, Whiteside and Pilati won their singles matches.

Logan and Whiteside and McKenzy and Pilati won their doubles matches.

Modesto lost 8-1 to Marin County's Rolling Hills Country Club on Aug. 6 at Clovis High School.

Logan and Whiteside accounted for Modesto's lone victory. They won their No. 2 doubles match.

"We had some really good matches," Bryan said. "We lost a couple of third-set tie breakers."

Modesto earned an invitation to the NorCal Championships by placing first in the Central Valley Conference. Modesto compiled an 8-0 record against teams from Turlock to Lodi.

Next year's team should be just as dominant.

Marks, Forney, Logan, McKenzy and Pilati are going to continue to play at the 15-and-under level.

"All but one of them can play two more years in that age group," Harden said. - By DALE BUTLER / Staff Reporter of The Ceres (Calif.) Courier