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Fernandez Dominates Track, Field Legacy In Place As Hebert Retires
There was no better way for Riverbank High track and field head coach Ron Hebert to usher in the changing of the guard, seeing several of his Riverbank Bruins making their mark on the championship field of the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet at Sac City College in Sacramento.

Hebert will step down as the overall guiding force of the Trans-Valley League champion program, handing the reins to longtime girls head coach Monte Wood. After battling back into the swing of things through the fall, Hebert was more than pleased to watch his teams flourish in his final chapter of Bruin track and field.

"This was probably one of my most satisfying seasons," Hebert said of his final season. "Because of the fact that I was so sick in the fall and then come back to win championships in both boys and girls, it was extremely satisfying."

Hebert spoke highly of his talented group of athletes including Marc Miglin, Evan Gunther and of course, German Fernandez, making his task at hand that much easier with such a determined group.

The Bruins saw Fernandez continue on in his season with unbelievable showings during the Masters Meet final. His times in the 1600 and the 3200 obliterated the field and gave Fernandez the top times clocked in each event throughout the season, in the nation. Fernandez ran a 4:07.62 in the 1600 and, coming back to double up a couple of hours later, turned in an equally brilliant 8:45.08 in the 3200.

"When you have a kid that comes around like that you have to realize it's a once in a lifetime thing in a coach's experience," Hebert said. "Somebody who works as hard as he does, who is as unselfish as he is, he's worked through a lot of things to make himself the great runner that he is."

Fernandez will head to Cerritos College in Southern California next to take aim at the CIF State Meet field. Fernandez will look to have a great deal of success doubling in the event, attacking both the 1600 and the 3200 events once again.

"He did an outstanding job," distance coach Bruce Edwards said. "He pushed the last 600 meters (in the 3200) and ran like a 1:31 and his last quarter (one lap) was under 60 seconds. We got what we wanted out of the workout to get him ready for State and nationals.

"We were using this meet and we're using State to get ready for nationals."

Fernandez may not be able to leave Cerritos College with two victories just for the simple fact that he will be running against the state's best runners in both grueling events. But the recently graduated Bruin is ready to take on the challenge, eager to measure himself against the rest of the state's elite.

Riverbank also got solid showings from field events specialist Jenni Manriquez, who had above average performances in both the shot put and the discus, but closed out her season in Sacramento. Long jump and triple jump standout Donovan Wallace put together a brilliant postseason run that closed with a solid showing at the Masters Meet, with a leap of 20-4 in the long jump.

Marissa Miglin finished her illustrious Lady Bruin career with an impressive showing in the high jump, finishing just under the five-foot mark, taking 13th with a 4-11 jump.

The Bruin program will have a lot of familiar faces returning to the track, but it will be a program with a new head coach and Riverbank should be all right during a brief transition phase.

"Nothing will be changing next year," Hebert said. "It's just I won't be there. The program is still going to run well. Coach (Monte) Wood will take over, he's used to being the head coach on the girls side, he'll now just be the head coach over the whole program.

"Nothing's changed, I'm the only one that's leaving, everybody else is coming back."