Ceres High’s and Central Valley’s varsity wrestling programs will face off tonight at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.
The Western Athletic Conference crosstown dual meet between the two unbeaten squads will get underway at 7 p.m.
“The winner will be in the driver’s seat for first place in league,” Hawks head coach Rob Beckhart said. “I expect it to be competitive. We’ll see who’s better prepared. I’m guessing it will be decided by 10 points or less.”
“It’s going to be a challenge,” Bulldogs head coach Steve Festa said. “They’re a good, young dangerous team. Both teams have experience, but it’s young experience. They’re well-coached. It’s going to be fun. I can definitely see it coming down to one match, one call or one move.”
Central Valley (2-0) currently sits atop the WAC dual-meet standings.
The Hawks, 6-0 a year ago, collected wins against Los Banos (36-33) and Livingston (57-12) in recent weeks.
Ceres High (1-0) defeated Patterson 58-7 on Wednesday.
“The resurgence of Ceres High started eight years ago with (former Bulldogs leader) Jon Nowicki,” Festa said. “We got a great program. I definitely think Ceres High and Central Valley are the toughest teams in our league. It’s not a coincidence. It starts with the Ceres Hawks youth wrestling program and us being active at the junior-high level. The individuals that commit to this sport get rewarded.”
“I thought this year was going to be a rebuilding year for us,” said Beckhart, who graduated 10 of 14 starters from last year’s WAC regular-season dual-meet championship squad. “We lost a tremendous amount of talent. This group of kids understands what it takes to be successful. They work hard. They care about each other. I’m happy for Ceres High. We know a lot of their kids. They have good coaches. I always root for them but not tonight.”
The Bulldogs own a 5-3 head-to-head record against the Hawks in conference dual-meet action since 2006-07.
Ceres High won three of the first four meetings from 2006-2010.
Central Valley beat Ceres High 55-15 last season.
Abel Morales, Daniel Raya, John Alba and the Bulldogs will try to exact revenge today.
Luis Saucedo, Severo Vazquez and Joaquin Garcia will lead the Hawks.
“Obviously, we want to win,” Beckhart said.
“We’re going to be prepared,” Festa said.