As classes began for the 2019-20 school year last week, serious practices for fall sports athletes, too, started up on the Riverbank High School campus.
Bruin football players began buckling down last Monday, Aug. 5, with an orientation, chalk talk and some equipment being issued easing into the beginning of the week.
Two-a-day meetings were held at 8 a.m. and 3 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Attendance at one meeting was required of team members each day, as jobs and family responsibilities were winding down for the summer, according to coach Anthony Buich.
“Making both (practices) each day is optional and will only benefit your mental development towards football. The physical part is easier, trust me,” he told them.
“We have a lot to learn, as we are certainly getting a later start than our competition. That is why it is imperative we commit to one another and support each other, because we are Bruins and this is Bruin football.”
He said the team will play smart and be fierce competitors.
“Win or lose it’s about us as a team and you as friends,” he told the players. “We’re going to take every opportunity to get better by getting bigger, stronger, and faster. Football is all about repetitions. Mental and physical reps.”
Once school began on Wednesday, Aug. 7, practices settled to the 3:30 p.m. slot each day, with the sixth period ‘Varsity Athletics’ to be worked out. And the team even had a special Saturday workout, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Bruins first official outing of the year is set for Saturday, Aug. 24. It’s an away game in Modesto, at Big Valley Christian High School, and considered a non-league contest.
Their first home game comes the next week, Aug. 30, hosting Delta High School from Clarksburg, on the river, south of Sacramento. League play begins on Friday, Sept. 20, at Modesto Christian, starting a six-game Trans-Valley League season.
Girls Volleyball Begins
The Lady Bruins also were able to kick off their practice season last week, getting their start on Aug. 5 as well.
The varsity team is coached by Athletic Director John Bartlett again this year, with alumni Lily Gallagher handling the JV team and Cristina Perez coaching the freshman girls.
The varsity first faces competition on Saturday, Aug. 24 also, traveling to Newman for the Orestimba High School kickoff tournament. The Foundation Game is set for Monday, Aug. 26, at Johansen High School in Modesto.
The first home games are scheduled to start Aug. 27 at 5 p.m. and 6 p.m., when the Lady Bruins host Argonaut High School, from Jackson. League play starts for the girls on Sept. 9 at Modesto Christian.
Lady Bruin Golf
Girls golf for Riverbank High will be returning its home course to Escalon this year, under the leadership of coach Ismael Mercado.
Their 2019 schedule was released last week, and they’ll start matches next Wednesday, Aug. 21, at Tracy, beginning at 3 p.m. They have 22 matches on the schedule this year.
They include the Valley Foothill league mid- and year-end tournament in Stockton, the annual Fall Pro-Am at their home course, the Division V playoff and Masters Tournament, all in October.
Monte Wood returns to lead the cross country girls while Robbie Searway is head coach for the boys.
The squads will run a time trial on Friday, Aug. 16.
“The team had a very good summer. We consistently had good numbers and working hard. Ramon Rosas and Adan Salgado were at every practice, and they look really good heading into the season,” Wood explained. “I think the boys have worked hard and have enough depth that we should be able to compete for a TVL title this year. The girls are still young, but have done a great job of running together. We still need more consistency from them, but we are light years ahead of where we were last year at this same time.”
Wood added that most of the top girl runners are sophomores and freshmen.
“We only have about 15 on the team right now, but they are solid and getting better,” he added.