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Central Valley High School varsity wrestling program hungry for more success
Hawks confident despite losing host of talent to graduation
Luis Saucedo, formerly of Modesto High, will be a major contributor for Central Valley during the 2014-15 wrestling campaign. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley High School's varsity wrestling program enjoyed a banner year last winter.

The Hawks compiled a perfect 6-0 record during the Western Athletic Conference dual-meet season. Central Valley secured the WAC's No. 1 seed for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Team Duals.

The Hawks placed third at the WAC Championships. Ethan Rotondo, Adrian Vizcaino and Rick Brown claimed titles in their respective weight divisions.

Central Valley qualified one individual for State, four for Masters and 10 for Divisionals.

Hit hard by graduation, Central Valley will compete with a revamped roster in 2014-15. The Hawks' lineup features 10 new starters and four veterans.

"We lost a tremendous amount of talent," head coach Rob Beckhart said. "It's time to turn the page. It's exciting because I get to mold and teach a new generation of wrestlers. This group of kids understands what it takes to be successful. They care about each other. The big thing is to keep working hard."

Returning starters include Joaquin Garcia (senior, 195 pounds), Jose Castillo (Jr., 138s), Sev Vazquez (So., 152s) and Cristian Oliver (So., 132s).

Adrian Badillo (Jr., 195s), Gabriel Martinez (Jr., 170s), Jason Beckhart (Jr., 220s), Alex Alvarado (Jr., 152s), Cory Cantaloube (So., 132s) and Ricardo Briseno (Jr., 120s) returned to the team as well.

Luis Saucedo (Jr., 113s), Ryan Hendrix (So., 126s), Isaac De La Cruz (Sr., 285s), Andrew Marquez (Jr., 160s), Claudia Martinez (Jr., 106s) and Angel Castaneda (Jr., 106s) are newcomers.

"We're pretty young," coach Beckhart said. "I want my kids to give effort and not quit. Our goal is to be competitive."

Garcia started competing for the Hawks as a freshman. "This is his year to do something," Rob Beckhart said. "He'll be the role model for everyone else. He works hard. He's not afraid to step up and be vocal."

Saucedo transferred from Modesto High. He took second at the Modesto Metro Conference Championships and eighth at Divisionals.

"That's like winning the lottery," coach Beckhart said. "He has great technique and ability. I'm hoping we can push him to reach his goals. He wants to be a state-placer."

Central Valley captured the WAC dual-meet regular season crown-its first league team title in the sport-with a 40-30 victory at Los Banos.

The Tigers placed first in the WAC the previous three years.

"I don't anticipate us dropping off a whole lot," Rob Beckhart said. "I'm pretty confident we can be competitive. We have an opportunity to do something this year if everyone buys into the program."

Central Valley will move forward without Rotondo, Vizcaino and Brown.

"Other kids will step up," coach Beckhart said.

Vizcaino made history this past season by becoming Central Valley's first-ever state-meet qualifier in boys wrestling.

Adrian captured his third consecutive WAC title.

He placed fourth at Masters and second at Divisionals.

Vizcaino had a 116-55 record during his four-year career.

Rotondo moved to Washington. Ethan didn't perform like a freshman against varsity opposition last year. He qualified for Masters Tournament, finished second at Divisionals and captured a first-place medal at the WAC Championships while competing at 108 pounds.

Rotondo compiled a 32-11 overall record. Ethan and Brown tied for first on the team with most wins.

"It's a challenge," coach Beckhart said. "We have 50 kids. Most of them are new. We're looking to surprise people. We're hoping they count us out."