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First-Year Coach Getting His Feet Wet On The Court
Riverbank High math teacher, Brandon Harker, doesn't hold a PhD in tennis mechanics, but his hobby on the green court has turned into a coaching gig during the spring season.

Harker is a first-year coach for Riverbank's co-ed tennis program, a combination of singles, doubles and mixed doubles players that oppose small school programs in the Trans-Valley League.

Harker was handed the reins with a small cast of returning players and plenty of eager newcomers thirsty for TVL victories.

"What I really want to work on is our feet and agility on the court," Harker said. "I am stressing our awareness on the court and knowing what to do and where to go in different situations."

With rainouts canceling the first few contests of the season, Harker got his first look at competitive prep action at Riverbank's host doubles tournament on Friday at the Bruin courts.

Singles leaders Eric Hernandez and Andy Erazo combined for a 1-3 showing and a big 8-3 romp over Modesto Christian. Dominique Jennings and Taylor Siador went 2-2 with an 8-7 win over Modesto Christian and an 8-3 rout of Placer. The duo also dropped a narrow 7-8 loss to Livingston in a sharp tourney run.

Irvin Carillo and Maricruz Pantoja won an 8-0 landslide over Placer as well.

"It was a good first tournament, and I feel I learned a lot from watching real matches and figuring out where the kids need to go," Harker said. "It was nice to get some competition in."

Hernandez and Erazo will make up the core of Riverbank's boy's singles players while Carillo and Armando Rodriguez will take on the No. 1 doubles position.

Pantoja and Liz Zamora are the teams' top girls singles while Ashley Tristao and Monica Perez lead a deep girls doubles cast.

Leeroy Sterling and Andrea Arauza spearhead the program's mixed doubles teams as well.

Riverbank was slated to play at Orestimba on Tuesday, though results were not available at press time. The program will host Hughson on Friday, March 12 at 3:30 p.m.