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CHS players claim titles at WAC finals
Julio Ochoa defended his WAC tennis singles title last week. The Ceres High sophomore won all 14 of his league matches this year. - photo by Dale Butler

Ceres High varsity boys tennis standouts Julio Ochoa, Alick Liang and Gurman Bains weren't going to be denied.

Ochoa, and Liang and Bains successfully defended their Western Athletic Conference singles and doubles titles this past week at Pacheco High School.

"Overall, it was a good week," Bulldogs head coach Bryan Harden said. "I can't be disappointed."

Julio, a sophomore, compiled a 4-0 record on his way to capturing his second straight WAC crown.

Ochoa matched older brother Luis' title total and ascended to top-three status in program history.

Julio won all 14 of his conference matches in 2013.

"He's done as much as his big brother," Harden said. "He's not done. He's on a very good path to a college scholarship. He's definitely going down as one of the top tennis players at Ceres High School. I don't know if he'll have any competition the next two years."

Ochoa faced a familiar opponent in the WAC finals.

Julio defeated Patterson senior Sterling Ramirez in three sets for the second year in a row.

Ochoa won, 6-1, 6-7 (4-7), 6-4.

Julio grinded out a 6-0, 2-6, 7-5 victory against Ramirez last season.

"He was feeling really confident going in," Harden said. "There was no way he was going to lose that match. He was hitting the ball with a purpose."

Ochoa also collected wins against Los Banos' JT Barcellos (6-0, 6-0), Patterson's John Minton (6-0, 6-0) and Central Valley's Alexis Villa (6-0, 6-0).

"He was in total control," Harden said. "He was very calm. He had a cool demeanor. The pressure is how hard you have to work to get to that level. It's not cockiness."

Liang, a junior, won two of three matches en route to a top-four finish.

He beat Central Valley's Alexis Zigala (6-0, 6-1) and Central Catholic's Garrett Ardis (6-4, 6-3).

Alick lost to WAC-runner-up Sterling Ramirez (6-3, 6-1) of Patterson in the semifinals. Alick was slowed by thigh cramps.

Liang posted a 13-1 this season.

"I expected him to do well," Harden said. "His game has improved so much from last year. He's definitely the third-best player in the league. He'll get better."

Hurt by unforced errors, Bulldog sophomore Chase Harden lost 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 to Central Catholic's Justin Chavez.
Harden's overall record in 2013 was 11-1.

"He always plays hard," Bryan Harden said. "His focus comes and goes. He's got to get better mentally."

Alick Liang and Gurman Bains topped Central Catholic's Garrett Ardis and Justin Chavez 7-5, 6-2 for the doubles championship on Friday.

Liang and Bains defeated Patterson's John Minton and Dylan Halland 6-1, 6-2 in the semifinals.

Alick and Gurman defeated Livingston's Juan Montanez and Rolando Chavez in the quarterfinals.

Liang and Bains defeated Los Banos' Elias Navarro and Luke Sanchez 6-0, 6-1 in the opening round.

"They really weren't pushed," coach Harden said. "They handled everyone."

Chase Harden and Trevor Brazil defeated Central Catholic's John Stockman and Brian Andrews 6-1, 6-1 in the first round.

Chase and Trevor lost 6-2, 6-4 to Minton and Halland in the quarterfinals.

Manny Jimenez and Shane Kumar lost 4-6, 6-0, 6-1 to Los Banos' JT Barcellos and Clarke Monroe.