Merced County Times Newspaper
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TIMES PHOTOS BY JONATHAN WHITAKER

UNDEFEATED! … It’s a remarkable turnaround for El Capitan Tennis

Back row: Coach Kami Lema, Zach Myrtue, Michael Anderson, Bode Chait, Sam Huwaidi, Kevin Vasquez,  Andres Rosales, Coach Don Bragonier. Front Row: Carlos Lopez Hernandez, Vinny Pailo, Jorge Anton. Not Pictured: Andres Garcia, Tenzin Sherpa, Gregg Quibal, Matthew Haugen, Nick Queen.
Back row: Coach Kami Lema, Zach Myrtue, Michael Anderson, Bode Chait, Sam Huwaidi, Kevin Vasquez, 
Andres Rosales, Coach Don Bragonier.
Front Row: Carlos Lopez Hernandez, Vinny Pailo, Jorge Anton.
Not Pictured: Andres Garcia, Tenzin Sherpa, Gregg Quibal, Matthew Haugen, Nick Queen.

The Boys Tennis Team at El Capitan High School has accomplished a feat nobody thought would be possible only a few years ago.

The school has only been open some seven years, and in the team’s first year they didn’t even win a match.

Four years ago, the players only won four matches.

Despite adversity, steadfast players stayed in the program, and they improved their performance every year. And it paid off.

This year, the seniors who have played for the past four years, the coaches and all the other players can boast about an incredible achievement: The team went 14-0 in their Central California Conference play, well ahead of Merced High in second place, and Patterson in third.

“They worked very hard,” said Coach Don Bragonier. “Probably, on an average, they hit 200 to 300 balls a day out here. We brought in a program and we knew what we wanted to accomplish. We run it kinda like a college program. They just did great.”

More importantly, Bragonier added, the boys learned a sport they could use the rest of their lives.

“They will be able to meet friends who play tennis wherever they go,” he said. “It doesn’t take much to pack a tennis racquet in a suitcase, unlike a set of golf clubs. You can play tennis anywhere.”

Standout Gaucho Godinez receives tennis scholarship

Karen Godinez with Coach Don Bragonier.
Karen Godinez with Coach Don Bragonier.

Karen Godinez has received a tennis scholarship to play at Jessup University in Rocklin.

Godinez has been a four-year starter for the El Capitan Girls Tennis Team. She is also currently ASB President and carrying a 4.71 GPA.

Karen is the first girl from El Capitan Tennis that has received a scholarship to play tennis in college!

She led the team this year to the Conference Championship. They finished 13-1 this past fall to win the CCC for the first time.

Says Coach Don Bragonier: “Karen is a very smart player and has the competitive spirit that any college coach would love to see in their players. A very hard worker on and off the court. I cannot be more proud of her and how much fun she was to coach. She was a very good role model for the younger players to follow.”

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