Junior varsity girls come in third at Wasco

On Saturday The Taft High varsity girls' tennis team finished fifth in Division V of the California Girls Tennis Classic, the largest high school tennis tournament in the nation. That was the highest finish for a Taft team in school history.

The Taft JV girls' tennis team went 4-1 to finish third in the Wasco tournament over the weekend.

In the varsity tournament, Taft beat Ponderosa, 6-0, Kingsburg, 6-0, and Templeton, 3-3, 7-6 on sets at Central High School on Friday.

On Saturday, at Edison High School, Taft had to face the other 3-0 teams in the top Division V bracket. Taft lost to eventual bracket winner San Marcos of Santa Barbara, 5-1, and fell to Pleasant Valley of Chico, 4-2. Pleasant Valley is Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers' alma mater.

The tournament has 116 high school teams spread over eight divisions. "When we started playing this tournament a few years ago, we were in Division VII and now we have worked our way up to DV. This is a great tournament because we get to play teams from outside Kern County," Taft coach Jim Carnal said.

"The girls get five matches over two days and get to see a lot of different styles of play and caliber of players. Our top player, Taylan Erro, was undefeated going in but then ran into a solid No. 1 from Templeton and two top 40 players in the state on Saturday. The tournament shows that it is not about your top players carrying the team. This is a team sport. Number 5 Jen Rivera and No. 8 Griselda Ramos both went 4-1 to lead the Wildcats."

San Marcos won the Saturday draw, followed by Edison, Pleasant Valley and Taft. But on Friday, host Central had beaten San Marcos, 3-3, 7-7 on sets, 59-58 in games. Since Central and Edison both finished 3-0 on Friday, Central agreed to host the 2-1 teams on Saturday. But Central beat San Marcos and was the cream of Division V, which meant Taft was the fifth-best team.

"The good news is that of all the teams that play in the Central Section Division IV, Taft did the best, followed by Kingsburg, which Taft easily beat, 6-0," coach Carnal said. "So there is a good chance that we will be seeded No. 1 in the Section team playoffs as we try to defend our Valley championship."

Taft's varsity team is now 6-3.

In the JV doubles tournament on Friday, Taft beat Frontier, 3-1, Wasco's No. 2 team, 4-0, but then lost to Ridgeview, 3-1. On Saturday, Taft beat McFarland's varsity, 4-0, and Wasco's JV, 3-1. Taft's JV improved to 7-2, and avenged an earlier loss to Wasco. Garces won the tournament.

Last Thursday, Taft's varsity easily beat Robert F. Kennedy, 9-0. RFK did not field a JV team.