Ceres High Athletic Director Shawna Nunes sent out a mass e-mail in an effort to fill the school's vacant varsity boys golf head coach position.
"As soon as I received it, I responded immediately," said Abel Maestas, an on-campus math instructor. "I did have to ask my wife. We have three young kids, ages 7, 5 and 2. I'm very happy to be the new head coach at Ceres High. It's really exciting. I've wanted to coach golf my entire teaching career. It's a great opportunity."
Maestas inherits a team loaded with experience and depth.
"Regardless of the talent, I would have coached," Maestas said. "I have a passion for the game. I love to coach and teach."
Ceres High returns eight players from last year's team, including Zac Chapman (Jr.), James Cervantez (Jr.), Jacob Langan (Jr.), Jake Nevarez (So.), Kobe Daoheung (So.), Zachary Smith (Jr.), Blake Bruton (Jr.) and Caden Hoback (So.).
Chapman and Cervantez were both selected to the Western Athletic Conference First Team following successful sophomore campaigns with the Bulldogs.
Zac ranked fifth in the conference's individual standings.
James was the sixth-best player.
Langan earned second-team all-WAC honors.
Gary Condit (Fr.), Jayden Panyanouvong (Fr.), Braden Hurst (Fr.) and Chris Lubinsky (Jr.) are new additions to the team.
"Gary will be a phenomenal player by the time he's a senior," Maestas said. "He'll be one of the top players in the league this year as a freshman. He's got the mentality. He's got the drive. He's got the passion for the game."
Ceres High will try to claim its first-ever Western Athletic Conference championship and return to the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs for the sixth year in a row.
The Bulldogs qualified for the Division-IV playoffs on the strength of their third-place finish in the WAC overall standings (37 points) and 2-0 head-to-head record versus Livingston last year.
Ceres High compiled a 9-3 record on its way to a runner-up finish during WAC dual competition.
The Bulldogs placed fourth with a team score of 504 at the WAC Year-End Tournament.
Chapman carded a team-best 93 en route to a fifth-place showing.
Cervantez and Langan tied for 15th with identical scores of 105.
Ceres High took sixth at Divisionals (528).
"I don't think that's going to change," Maestas said while talking about Ceres High's tradition of excellence. "With the group I have, we can definitely contend for the WAC championship and get to the playoffs. Everybody is back from last year. And we have two new freshmen. Our program is going to be very good for the next three years. We have a lot of parody on our team. That alone will give us an advantage."
Crosstown-rival Central Valley welcomes back five players from a year ago: Derek Weis (Sr.), Noah Postley (Sr.), Jose Castillo (Sr.), Ricardo Briseno (Sr.) and Nathan Moore (So.).
Weis was the conference's 16th-best player.
The Hawks have four newcomers in Dorian Bowmer (Sr.), Aman Dosanjh (So.), Taj Dosanjh (So.) and Efrain Garcia (So.).
"I'm optimistic," Central Valley head coach Mike Holliday said. "If the core guys play solid golf, and the young guys catch fire, we'll be competitive with some of the teams in the league. I just want to see them play to their highest potential."
The Hawks finished sixth in the WAC's overall standings (seven points) in 2015.
Central Valley placed last during the conference dual season (1-11) and year-end championships (575).
Weis (22nd), Postley (23rd), Castillo (25th) and Briseno (25th) represented the Hawks at the WAC tournament.
Central Valley lost both of its head-to-head matchups to Ceres High.
The Bulldogs faced little resistance in coasting to 217-245 and 197-241 victories against the Hawks.
The Hawks enjoyed their best season to date in 2014.
Central Valley (7-5) took fourth in the WAC standings.