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Spring Previews
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Riverbank High has plenty of athletes out for the spring season, with all squads already in the thick of things in the Trans-Valley League campaign for baseball, softball, tennis, golf, soccer and track and field. Following are brief previews for those varsity teams.


Head coaches for the Bruins this season are Ron Hebert and Monte Wood and they return such seasoned veterans as German Fernandez, Chris Nunez and Marissa Miglin, along with adding some promising up and comers Evan Gunther, Lizzie Uscanga and Karina Duarte.

When spring rolls around and the Riverbank track and field season opens, the Bruins always have their eyes set on the grand prize. Head coaches Wood and Hebert seldom are focused on making their biggest waves in the Trans-Valley League; these guys are focused on making a splash in the Sac-Joaquin Sections. This year's squad will not fall away from those same expectations thanks largely in part to the services of Bruin standout German Fernandez. Fernandez will be the strongest link on a talented team that should have no problems making an impact on the section field. Riverbank has shown tremendous promise thus far this season, putting up quality performances in the WAC-TVL Challenge, as well as in the Sierra Invitational. Fernandez has set records in both meets, and looks poised to outdo his phenomenal cross country season in his high school career finale. Karina Duarte will make noise on the girls distance scene, and look for some pleasant surprises out of hurdler Marissa Miglin and distance runner Chris Nunez. Kendra Barth will be a top-notch competitor in the discus toss, where she walked away as champion of the TVL-WAC Challenge.


With Ismael Mercado at the helm, the Bruin varsity baseball team is aiming to put together a respectable season in the Trans-Valley League. They did take a couple of losses, with Robby Searway and D.J. Gong gone from last year's team, but have Ryan Bowden and James Winstead back to provide leadership and will look to Miguel Hernandez and Chris Mitchell to offer contributions as well.

Opening up a baseball season in the Trans-Valley League is no easy task for a first-year coach, but the challenges are even more difficult when you are rebuilding a program. That is exactly what Riverbank head skip Ismael Mercado is attempting to do. Mercado's task will not be an easy one, as the Bruins have often been down near the bottom of the ladder in the majority of recent TVL seasons. Mercado is optimistic that he will be able to get some positive results from his young squad, yet he is realistic as to how difficult it will be to contend for the TVL title. Riverbank has some lively new blood in freshman pitcher Miguel Hernandez. Hernandez has been solid in his varsity debut, giving the Indians quality innings and providing a tough out at the plate. Ryan Bowden is one of the lone contributing returnees from a season ago, and he will have to relish in his role as one of the Bruins' team leaders. James Winstead will be handling the bulk of the Bruins' catching duties, forcing the senior catcher to help mold the Bruins' young pitching staff into a confident group. With one of the best small schools in the section (Escalon) in the TVL, Riverbank will have to be realistic with their goals and not try to do too much too soon. They also do not field a JV team right now, so will have some underclassmen learning the ropes at the varsity level.


Last season was a thrilling roller coaster ride for Riverbank's varsity Lady Bruins, culminating with a trip to the postseason. Head coach Cassi Ross wants to lead her team back, but will have to do so without a couple of key sparkplugs, losing both Courtney Brock and Chelsi Walls to graduation.

Key returners include Janelle Chambers, Cali Avey, Kaylin Palavos while a new face, Carlye Avey, also figures to play a big role in the Riverbank attack.

It is always a challenge for any coach to replace the heart and soul of the team, and that is exactly what Riverbank head coach Cassi Ross has been forced to do with the graduation of All-Everything catcher Courtney Brock. Brock and her battery mate Chelsi Walls left a couple monstrous voids on the Riverbank High softball team, but the Lady Bruins seem poised to fill the blanks in a hurry. Ross has turned to freshman hurler Carlye Avey to patrol the circle and Avey has been solid thus far this season for Riverbank, giving the Lady Bruins a chance to win each time out. Avey is working through the adjustments of playing competitive softball, which works under a time limit, whereas at the varsity level, Avey may be delivering pitches for a few hours. Offensively, the Lady Bruins are getting solid play from Kaylin Palavos and Janelle Chambers to pace the squad.

The impossible task of replacing Brock behind the plate has been inherited by Ariel White. White has opened up the season with solid play and will get better and better with each TVL contest. Riverbank will need to put together a solid run through TVL play if they are going to make a return trip to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V Tournament.


The Riverbank High tennis program is eager to make another lengthy run through the postseason playoff format, and this year's squad seems like the team to do it.

Back for another year of coaching is Bruce Edwards, who seems to have a knack for getting his teams ready and willing to take on all comers, especially in league competition. Key returning players for the Bruins are Danny Geren and Raquel Medina, while newcomers Justin Rowe and Mike Nelson hope to make their mark on the court this season.

The Bruins have paid their dues in the challenging Trans-Valley League, and now Riverbank has climbed the ladder with the maturity of their top players. Bruin senior Danny Geren is the unspoken leader of the 2008 squad. Geren has met every challenge head coach Bruce Edwards has thrown his way, elevating his importance by helping each of his teammates become better players, accepting the leadership role. The girls division will look to get solid play out of returning senior Raquel Medina.

Medina has flourished in the opening stages of the season, slipping just one time in the Bruins first TVL loss to Modesto Christian recently. The doubles play has been extraordinary thus far this season, with Matt Nelson and Steven Caton stepping into the No. 1 doubles shoes. Mixed-play tandem Mike Nelson and Marlene Lizzaraga have gelled instantly and look to be one of the top duos on the TVL scene. The Bruins have opened the season on fire and will have to continue their stellar play through the TVL schedule and on into the section playoff tournament to match the success of the past few seasons.