Local wrestling coach Jorge Saucedo passed away unexpectedly at the age of 46 on Dec. 14.
Saucedo coached at Central Valley High School and with the Ceres Hawks Club for a combined 12 years.
“When I found out, it felt like I was run over by a bus,” Central Valley head coach Rob Beckhart said. “It’s like losing a family member. Jorge was super loving and caring as a person. As a coach, he had certain expectations for his wrestlers. He was very demanding and didn’t like to lose.”
Saucedo was an assistant coach on Beckhart’s staff at Central Valley for two seasons (2014-2016).
He coached his son Luis during his senior and junior years.
Luis made program history by becoming just the second male Hawk grappler to qualify for the CIF State Meet.
The 113-pounder posted a 36-17 overall record, took sixth at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships, and won titles at the Division-IV and Western Athletic Conference tournaments during his final season.
He also helped Central Valley accomplish several firsts as a team, including winning titles at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Championships and Team Duals. The Hawks won their second straight WAC overall championship. Central Valley extended its unbeaten streak against conference-dual competition to 18 matches.
Luis also received instruction from his father when he wrestled for the Ceres Hawks.
He was introduced to the sport in the third grade.
“My bond with my dad is unbreakable because of wrestling,” Luis said when he signed a national letter of intent with Simpson University in May. “He’s been in my corner since day one.”
Saucedo was a coach with the Ceres Hawks for 10 years (2008-2018).
“A lot of people don’t realize the sacrifices coaches make,” Beckhart said. “Jorge would drive to work in Sacramento at 3 in the morning. He’d get off, drive back to Ceres and help coach high school and youth kids until 8 or 9 at night. He did that for years. He dedicated a tremendous amount of time to the sport and school.”
Valenzuela, a junior at Central Valley and a former Ceres Hawks grappler, made history this past winter on the mat. The 182-pounder became the youngest male wrestler in Central Valley history to qualify for the State Meet.
Valenzuela amassed a 35-7 record.
He placed at seven different tournaments.
He was sixth at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships.
He took first at the Division-III, Central California Conference and Mike Tamana tournaments.
Valenzuela has a career record of 66-18 through two seasons with the Hawks.
“Jorge coached me ever since I started wrestling,” Valenzuela said. “I was 6 or 7. He was very serious as a coach. He wanted us to be our best. He pushed us to our limits. He had high standards. He taught us how to be men. He was a very good person. He was very loving. He’d always take care of us. He was a positive influence.”
Curtis Hulstine (Ceres High School, class of 2010) wrestled for Saucedo and the Ceres Hawks Club during his sophomore, junior and senior years.
He had a prep career record of 113-31.
Hulstine qualified for the CIF State Championships, collected 45 wins and just six losses, finished third at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Meet, placed first at the Division-IV Tournament and claimed the 125-pound title at the Valley Oak League Finals during his senior year.
He started coaching girls wrestling at Ceres High this past winter.
“I can’t believe it,” Hulstine said while talking about Jorge’s passing. “I saw him last year during the season. He loved the sport of wrestling. He really cared about the kids and wanted them to be successful.”
Saucedo is survived by his wife Beatriz; sons Luis, Jorge Jr. and Sebastian; mother Martha; brother Juan, and sisters Martha, Luz, Hortencia and Angelica.