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Battle-tested Hawks look to repeat as WAC champs
CV won conferences overall title last season
Central Valleys varsity wrestling team will strive to continue it winning ways this season. Luis Saucedo (pictured) is one of the Hawks top returning grapplers. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's varsity wrestling program has made major strides under Rob Beckhart's guidance.

"I can't say that I'm surprised at our recent success," said Beckhart, sixth-year leader of the Hawks. "These kids win because they have heart and good work ethics. They don't quit."

Central Valley enjoyed a banner year last winter by capturing the Western Athletic Conference overall title.

The Hawks should be just as formidable this year thanks to their experience and depth.

Central Valley returns all but one of its starters from a season ago, including Luis Saucedo (113s/120s), Wilbur Arellano (113s/120s), Ryan Hendrix (126s/132s), Christian Oliver (126s/132), Angel Gonzales (138s), Severo Vazquez (145s), Jose Castillo (152s), Alex Alvarado (160s), Andrew Marquez (170s), Gabriel Martinez (182s), Adrian Badillo (195s), Jason Beckhart (220s) and David Lezama (285s).

"We don't have much of a drop off," coach Beckhart said. "We have just about everybody back. The only kid that we lost was Joaquin Garcia."

Hawk newcomers Trenton Craig (106s), Brandon Senseney (120s) and Will Sprouse (132s) will also see time on the mat.

"It's going to be a difficult season," Rob Beckhart said. "The thing we got to be careful with is to not overlook anybody. We know every year is different."

Central Valley finished first at the WAC Championships and won all six of its conference dual meets a year ago.

Crosstown-rival Ceres High, Los Banos, Patterson and El Capitan will try to prevent the Hawks from repeating as WAC champs.

"We need to refocus the kids, let them know they're beatable and make sure they keep working hard," he said. "I can see us going 6-0 again. But I could also see us losing a couple matches. There are four teams in the WAC that could beat us. It's going to be good competition for everybody."

The Hawks compiled an 0-8 record during their final season in the Valley Oak League in 2009-10.

Beckhart was an assistant for two seasons and volunteer for one prior to being promoted to head coach.

"Initially, when I first came here, we had decent talent," he said. "We just didn't have the numbers to compete as a team. It's been pretty cool to watch it (the turnaround). I'm excited for the kids. The wins and losses don't really matter. We're just trying to prepare these guys for life."