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CV, CHS compete at league tournaments
Omar Lepe and Ruben Hernandez
Omar Lepe and Ruben Hernandez represented Central Valley High School’s boys tennis program at the Central California Conference Championships last month in Merced. - photo by CITY OF OAKDALE PHOTO

Seniors Eduardo Ramirez, Noah Zamora and Nathan Barajas suited up for Ceres High’s boys tennis program for the final time this past month.

Ramirez and Zamora competed at the Western Athletic Conference Singles and Doubles Championships.

Nathan Barajas teamed up with Bulldog sophomore Gilbert Zamora III at the WAC Doubles Tournament.

“They represented Ceres High really well,” said Brandon Moring, head coach. “I’m super proud of the boys and their effort. They improved so much.”

Ramirez won one of two matches while finishing in the top eight at the WAC Singles Championships on April 26 at Mountain House High School.

He earned a hard-fought 7-6, 4-6, 6-0 victory while battling Grace Davis’ Diego Cardenas for three hours in the opening round.

Ramirez lost twice to Cardenas during the regular season.

“Eduardo got a little bit of redemption,” Moring said. “It was fun to watch. It’s a testament to him. He continued to get better.”

Ramirez lost 6-0, 1-0 (retired) to eventual-champion Eidan Mercado of Mountain House in the quarterfinals.

“He ended up withdrawing,” Moring said. “He was cramping everywhere in his lower body. He was dehydrated. The first match took a lot out of him. It was a long, grueling match.”

Noah Zamora lost 2-6, 7-6, 6-2 to fourth-seeded Jayden Todd of Los Banos in the opening round.

“He gave the kid all he could handle,” Moring said. “He played well in the first two sets.”

Ramirez and Noah Zamora placed in the top eight while teaming up at the WAC Doubles Championships on April 28 at Mountain House.

Ramirez and Noah Zamora topped Beyer’s Kory Silva and Azad Aghdan 6-1, 6-0 in the first round.

“They were pumped up to play together,” Moring said. “They’re really good friends. They were on their game. Their skill level was at another level.”

Ramirez and Noah Zamora lost 6-0, 6-1 to Mountain House’s eventual-champion doubles team of Sreeram Ranga and Manas Mantri in the quarterfinals.

“Everybody knew who was favored,” Moring said. “They did the best they could. It was competitive. Lots of games went to deuce.”

Barajas and Gilbert Zamora III lost 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 to Lathrop’s Kurt Valerio and Alfred Tolentino in the first round.

Barajas and Zamora III struggled after winning the opening set.

“They played tough,” Moring said. “They played together.”

Hawks excel

Central Valley boys tennis standout Ruben Hernandez finished in the top four at the Central California Conference Singles Championships on April 26 at Golden Valley High School.

Hernandez, a senior, compiled a 2-1 record.

“He could have made the final,” Hawks’ head coach Mike Rodriguez said. “He was one of the top players in the league.”

Hernandez prevailed, 6-0, 6-0, versus Buhach Colony in the first round.

He won, 6-1, 6-4, against Merced’s Daniel Chen in the quarterfinals.

He lost 1-6, 6-2, 10-6 to El Capitan’s Nikhil Parikh in the semifinals.

Parikh battled back from a 4-0 deficit in the tiebreaker set.

Hernandez won the regular-season meeting in three sets.

“Ruben could have won again,” Rodriguez said. “He tired out.”

Hernandez amassed a 10-6 record against CCC competition this spring.

He suited up for the Hawks for two seasons.

“He did great this year,” Rodriguez said. “He really improved. Making the jump from No. 4 to No. 1 singles was big. He put in a lot of work during the offseason.”

Senior Omar Lepe lost 6-1, 6-1 to El Capitan in the opening round.

“He could have played better,” Rodriguez said. “He didn’t hit the ball like he’s capable of. Credit to the kid he played. He made it to the semifinals.”

Lepe, a four-year player at Central Valley, won 12 of 15 matches during the WAC season.

“Lot of growth,” Rodriguez said. “He really developed into a really, good tennis player. We knew he had the tools to be good.”

Hernandez and senior Willy Souksavath advanced to the quarterfinals of the conference doubles tournament on April 28 in Merced.

They edged Patterson’s Henry Daneg and Josue Herrera 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 10-5 in the opening round.

Hernandez and Souksavath lost 6-2, 6-1 to Merced’s Daniel Chen and Carter Haugen.

“That was their first time playing doubles together,” Rodriguez said. “They competed hard. Ruben is one of the top players in the league. That helped them. They’re both competitors.”

Juniors Enrique Lepe and Jesus Hernandez lost 6-4, 6-2 to Buhach Colony’s Liam Newsam and Isaac Troson.

“They gained experience,” Rodriguez said. “They were competitive in the first set.”