By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Herrera Tackles Third Year As RHS Athletic Director
Some 180 of the 730 or so students at Riverbank High are currently participating in Bruin athletics.

By the end of the spring season, over 400 RHS students will have competed on a Riverbank court, field, track, link or mat.

Behind that crowd - or above it, rather - is the lofty frame of third year Bruin athletic director, Jason Herrera.

The 1998 Bruin graduate is ready for continued improvements to RHS sports, big changes to Riverbank's Trans-Valley League lineup and the continued quest to keep Bruins eligible and active for competition in the California Interscholastic Federation's Sac-Joaquin Section.

"It was a little rough my first year - and it's a lot of work - but I enjoy it," Herrera said. "I have been pretty busy this summer with fall schedules and getting on top of physicals."

And athletic director duties weren't the only thing keeping Herrera occupied this summer. The former Bruin scholar and athlete turned 30 in May, married his wife Paloma in July, and also moved from Modesto to Riverbank to be closer to the school where he played both basketball and football.

The biggest change for Bruin athletic programs in the 2010-11 school year is the addition of Orestimba and Hilmar to the TVL schedule and the loss of longtime league rival, Ripon Christian.

The Knights depart to the Southern League while the Warriors and Yellowjackets break away from the TVL's twin, the Western Athletic Conference.

Both Hilmar and Orestimba have a deep history in TVL athletics. The Warriors joined the league with Riverbank in 1968, and enjoyed the school's first ever conference football title in 1970 before an end to their six-year tenure in 1973.

Hilmar joined the league in 1980, winning consecutive TVL football titles from 1982 to 1989 with a streak of 42 league victories across that span.

The 37-mile, hour-long trek to Orestimba won't be the easiest thing for Riverbank's travel plans, and RHS doesn't require a transportation fee for athletic participants. It's a luxury that has allowed many Bruins to get involved in sports over the years.

"We have cut down on athletic spending, but teams still get the resources and safety gear they need," Herrera said. "I try to be fair to all sports, across the board."

The school's active booster club also supports Riverbank sports programs. When a coach needs financial help, he attends a booster club meeting and makes his case for various improvements or new resources. Last year, the booster club provided new balls for fall, winter and spring sports. The program collects sales from football, volleyball, wrestling and basketball snack bars to provide the financial help.

This year is no different, and Bruin programs are in high gear in preparation for the first run of TVL contests. Herrera was on hand to see Riverbank's boys and girls basketball programs see success over the summer, and he is equally excited about surging fall teams looking to make their TVL mark.

Riverbank's volleyball and girls golf programs are on the rise, while the football team is enjoying a second consecutive season with a participating junior varsity squad.

The soccer boys are the defending TVL champions and though they lost some firepower to graduation, will benefit from talented players moving up from the JV level.

The boys and girls cross country teams are expected to contend for yet another TVL title, three years after the graduation of Riverbank running legend, German Fernandez.

"I remember watching German on TV for a cross country meet, and they showed Riverbank on a map of California to show where he was from," Herrera said. "It was kind of cool to see him literally put Riverbank on the map."