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CHS boys to compete with thin lineup
Ceres Highs varsity boys tennis program will compete with a three-person lineup this season. Senior Christian Pimentel (pictured) is the Bulldogs top returning player. Angelo Marino and Manuel Pimentel also rejoined the team. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

A lack of numbers will prevent Ceres High's tradition-rich varsity boys tennis team from defending its Western Athletic Conference title this spring.

The Bulldogs will also see their streak of consecutive Sac-Joaquin Section playoff appearances end at eight seasons.

Ceres High's 2018 roster features just three players, including returnees Christian Pimentel (Sr.), Angelo Marino (Sr.) and Manuel Pimentel (So.).

Nolan McCaig graduated in June, along with Jorge Campos.

A total of 12 players start during Western Athletic Conference matches, including six for both singles and doubles.

"It's unfortunate we couldn't get enough kids out," said Aubrey Ford, Ceres High's new head coach. "It's surprising because of the success they've had in the past."

The top three teams in the WAC qualify for playoffs.

Ceres High (14-1), Livingston (13-2) and Los Banos (8-7) advanced in 2017.

The Tigers edged out the Central Valley Hawks (7-8) for the WAC's third and final postseason berth.

"Tennis is mental warfare," Ford said. "It's consistency. Commitment has to be there. That's what I'm trying to work on."

Aubrey, 32, is an off-campus coach.

He was hired during dead week.

"I applied for the position and (Ceres High athletic director) Shawna Nunes got back to me," Ford said. "It's a great opportunity to get back into tennis."

Ford works as a staff aide at Sierra Vista in Modesto.

He teaches physical education and yoga.