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Central Valley girls wrestlers look to continue winning ways
Brianna Espinoza and Giana Breshears
Brianna Espinoza and Giana Breshears will try to help Central Valley High School’s wrestling program continue its winning ways this winter. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Central Valley High School’s girls wrestling program captured the Central California Conference overall championship last season by taking first at the league finals and winning all six of its conference duals.

The Hawks also experienced individual success as nine grapplers claimed medals at the CCC Tournament.

Central Valley will rely on talent, depth and experience this winter as it strives for additional success.

“The goal is to be league champions (again), and have a few girls go to Masters and a couple go to state,” Hawks’ head coach Brandy Cordova said. 

Central Valley has a roster size of 29.

“We’re definitely happy to have more numbers,” Cordova said. “We’re confident if they stick with it, and continue to work hard, we’ll stay competitive.”

Central Valley returns seven wrestlers from 2021-22, including Mia Mendoza (Sr.), Soriah Corona (Sr.), Marianna Carranza (So.), Jayden Corona (So.), Brianna Espinoza (So.), Keilany Torres (So.) and Yahaira Torres (So.).

The Hawks have 22 newcomers: Micaela Martinez (Sr.), Gabriella Ramirez (Sr.), Itzel Romero (Jr.), Kendall Fleeman (Jr.), Natalie Serena Garcia (Jr.), Lexie Rendon (Jr.), Destiny Marron (Jr.), Samantha Ortiz Mendoza (Jr.), Samantha Padilla (So.), Lucero Maciel (So.), Jescylin Vazquez (So.), Tarnjot Kaur (So.), Yazmine McClain (So.), Rylee Randez (So.), Giana Breshears (Fr.), Alicia Espinoza (Fr.), Tiaonna Gomez (Fr.), Isabella Gardner (Fr.), Evelyn Zambrano (Fr.), Taylor McGuire (Fr.), Adamariez Espinoza (Fr.) and Vanessa Mendoza Balbuena (Fr.).

“We do work them hard,” Cordova said. “They’re at practice three hours a day. We only had two girls quit.”

Brianna Espinoza took first at the CCC finals, placed fourth at the Sac-Joaquin Section South Regional Tournament with a 1-2 record and won one of three matches at the Masters Championships in the 235-pound weight class as a freshman.

Soriah Corona took second at the CCC finals and compiled an 0-2 record at South Regionals at 103 pounds.

Carranza took second at the CCC finals at 123 pounds.

Mia Mendoza took third at the CCC finals, placed eighth at South Regionals with a 1-3 mark and posted an 0-2 record at Masters at 160 pounds.

Keilany Torres dropped a pair of matches at 108 pounds at South Regionals.

Soriah Corona and Mia Mendoza are team leaders.

Mendoza and Corona have been wrestling for four and three years, respectively.

“They set the example of working hard in the room,” Cordova said. “They know what to expect and what it means to win a championship.”

Central Valley’s CCC dual schedule features matches against Atwater, Buhach Colony, Merced, Golden Valley, El Capitan and Patterson.

The Hawks will host the league finals on Feb. 4.

“Win or lose, our goal is for them to learn something from each of their matches,” Cordova said.

Central Valley won nine individual medals while claiming the CCC tournament title last year.

The Hawks earned 134 points en route to finishing ahead of Merced (94), Atwater (92), Buhach Colony (84), Patterson (69), Golden Valley (64) and El Capitan (47).

The Hawks have placed first as a team in league three out of the past five seasons.

Central Valley claimed CCC titles during the 2021-22 and 2018-19 seasons and the WAC crown in 2017-18.

The 2020-21 season consisted of just scrimmages due to COVID-safety reasons.

“We’re building an atmosphere where the girls feel included and safe,” Cordova said. “They’re willing to put in the hard work to get better and do well for the team.”