It looks like Turlock's varsity boys’ tennis team will have another grand opportunity to secure another Central California Conference title during the 2016 season, according to head coach Jack Schneider and the entire lineup for the Bulldogs.
Pitman, Turlock's crosstown rivals, should be contenders for second place and perhaps give Turlock a push, but the top six singles players for Turlock are looking nearly flawless, especially since they return every one of their singles players from a year ago when they went 10-0 in league.
“We are definitely the favorites I would say, I am not too worried honestly,” said Schneider. “But also depends what Merced might have coming in and well Pitman always plays tough so we will really just take it one match at a time.”
“Honestly I have higher expectations for this team than I did for last year’s team,” said Pitman head coach Doug Reimers.
Pitman finished league with a 6-4 record and made the playoffs as a team, but eventually were booted out in the first round.
“I was thrilled when we earned a playoff spot,” said Reimers. “We had a really good experience up in Rocklin and I think all these things continue to build, I have great incoming players, and I have great returners who worked hard over the offseason and I expect us to step in and let off where we did last year.”
Pitman's top singles will consist of Nick Gianfortone, Dennis Lawson, Steven Courney, Lorenz Lat, Jason Moore and Angelo Arce, but also expect some fluctuation between the entire roster.
“I want the players to continually push each other, they need to know that any spot can be taken if someone challenges and comes up,” said Reimers. “I want them to be competitive, but only way we get better is if we force each-other to improve.”
Although it seems nice for Pitman, they will have to work through an extremely talented Turlock team.
“We know that Turlock High is always tough. But like we had success with our girls this past year, I hope that our boys will follow in those footsteps and have just as a successful year,” said Reimers. “I want us to push Turlock as hard as we can and I expect to have good results against the rest of league.”
Turlock returns two All-league players in Davis Griffin and Alex Lima at the one and two positions and are followed with William Anderson at the three spot. Ryan Asai is currently third in the table and Marcos Andres and Carlos Inigues follow in fifth and sixth, respectively.
Lima is the only senior on the team who went 10-0 a year ago in the CCC.
“I knew we would be strong this year. If we win four out of six matches then I know we can win and our top six singles is filled with depth,” said Schneider. “Hopefully we might have a little competition but we will see, we will see what other team's have first round, but you never know.”
Before league starts, Turlock and Pitman will compete in the Clovis tournament at 9 a.m. on March 4 and 5.