Central Valley’s varsity boys wrestling program will face a new challenge this winter.
The Hawks will compete in the Central California Conference.
Central Valley moved from the Western Athletic Conference to the CCC as part of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s realignment plan.
“We know what we’re up against,” said coach Rob Beckhart. “We still expect to be competitive. We want to represent our school and city the best we can.”
The Hawks’ top returning grapplers are Ryan Palecek (Sr., 195s), Kyle Hendrix (Jr., 145s), Natanael Lezama (Jr., 220s), Moises Galeana (Sr., 285s), Thomas Carrillo (Jr., 220s), David Martinez (Sr., 170s), Antonio Castillo (Sr., 132s), Roman Ramirez (Jr., 160s) and Juan Lezama (Jr., 195s).
Central Valley’s top newcomers are Davian Lemus (So., 120s), Elijah DeLeon (Fr., 138s), Nicholas Genasci (Fr., 106s), Juan Melgoza (Fr., 126s) and Ruben Valenzuela (Fr., 170s).
“I like the group I have right now. We have some talent. Hopefully, we can continue to have success.”Coach Rob Beckhart
“I like the group I have right now,” Beckhart said. “We have some talent. Hopefully, we can continue to have success.”
Palecek placed second in the 170-pound weight bracket at the 2017-18 WAC Championships.
Castillo (113s), Hendrix (132s), Martinez (160s), Carrillo (182s), Galeana (215s) and Natanael Lezama (195s) all finished third in their respective divisions.
Ramirez (145s) took fourth.
Hendrix was fifth at Divisionals.
Palecek, Galeana and Natanael Lezama were sixth.
Central Valley’s CCC dual schedule will include matches against El Capitan, Merced, Golden Valley, Atwater, Buchach Colony and Patterson.
The CCC Championships will be staged on Jan. 31 in Merced.
Central Valley took third at the WAC Tournament last year. The Hawks also placed third during the conference dual season (2-3).
Central Valley sent a program-record 14 grapplers to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Championships.
“It’s going to be a challenge for us every week,” Beckhart said. “To be honest with you, we’re probably a year out from that (contending for the CCC title).”
The 2016-17 Hawks placed first at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Tournament and Team Dual championships and claimed their second straight Western Athletic Conference overall title. Central Valley fell short in its quest of capturing a fourth consecutive WAC dual-meet crown. The Hawks still managed to take second at Divisionals and league finals despite competing with a revamped roster.
“I’m lucky to be at Central Valley,” Beckhart said. “We’ve been able to establish a tradition of having kids that are scrappy.”