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Hawk duo state-bound
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The Ceres Hawks youth wrestling club will send two representatives to the Kids/Cadet Freestyle State Championships, including Ceres High sophomore Keegan Overbey and Mae Hensley Jr. High seventh-grader Gabriel Balderas.

The prestigious event will be held this week at the San Jose McEnery Convention Center.

"The competition is going to be tough," Hawks coach Oscar Peral said.

Overbey, 15, will compete in the 130-pound cadet division

"I want to place in the top three so I can be on the national team," he said.

Keegan enters the state tournament with a 16-1 record. He placed first at Beyer, Ripon, Livingston, Buhach Colony, Golden Valley and McNair.

"It's a thrill when I get on the mat," Overbey said when asked what he enjoyed most about wrestling. "Everyone's looking at you."

Overbey took up the sport in the eighth grade at Mae Hensley Jr. High School. He joined the Ceres Hawks wrestling club once the season ended.

"My cousin got me out for it when I was younger," Keegan said. "Wrestling probably kept me out of trouble. It gives me a lot of confidence too."

Overbey has wrestled year-round for three years.

He suited up for Ceres High's varsity team the last two seasons.

Keegan took fourth in the 125-pound division at the Valley Oak League Championships as a sophomore and sixth at the conference meet at 112 pounds as a freshman.

Overbey's demanding workout regimen includes lifting weights every morning at his house and training on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays inside Central Valley High School's wrestling room.

"If I didn't come to practice, I'd be terrible," he said. "That's what makes champions."

Balderas, 13, will compete in the 75-pound kids/schoolboy division.

"Hopefully, I place," said Gabriel, who heads into the tournament with a 7-4 record. "I think I can if I try hard enough."

Balderas placed first at three tournaments during the regular season.

"He won just a quarter of his matches last year," Peral said.

Gabriel joined the youth club in the sixth grade.

He wrestled for Mae Hensley Jr. High this past season, where he compiled a 10-3 record en route to earning team MVP honors.

"My dad got me into it last year," Balderas said. "I just enjoy wrestling. I enjoy hanging out with people inside the club."

"For a second-year wrestler, he's doing really good," Peral said. "He's a kid that wants to be the best at whatever he does."

Gabriel and Keegan are both highly-motivated.

"The main thing is their drive," Peral said. "They do the extra things that other kids don't do because they want to get better. They're also quick learners. They're not afraid to attempt new moves."