Central Valley High School's varsity wrestling program improved its all-time record versus Ceres High in conference dual-meet action to 4-5 last week.
Competitive in the early going, the Hawks turned the crosstown clash into a blowout while cruising to a 52-22 win over the Bulldogs on Jan. 13 at Phil de la Porte Gymnasium.
"It's a great win," Central Valley head coach Rob Beckhart said. "I really expected it to be closer. We got a little momentum behind us. I told the kids to enjoy it. But we still have three duals to go."
"The result tonight is disappointing," Ceres High head coach Steve Festa said. "We fell short. They wrestled really well. Our guys didn't. We could have competed better. That's something we have to accept. That's going to drive us to work harder."
The first-place Hawks moved to 3-0 in the WAC dual-meet standings. Central Valley has won its last nine matches dating back to last season.
The second-place Bulldogs dropped to 1-1 in league.
The top two squads in the WAC qualify for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Team Duals, to be held at Lincoln of Stockton on Feb. 7.
Barring a major collapse, Central Valley should secure the conference's No. 1 seed for the second consecutive year.
Ceres High and Los Banos will battle for second place.
"It's not over yet," Beckhart said. "Ceres High has a good team. I wouldn't count them out. The key thing for us is to keep working hard."
"It's going to be tough," Festa said. "We're going to have to earn our spot to team sections. We have the talent to do it."
Ahead by just eight points, Central Valley seized control by winning five of the final six matches.
"Momentum is key in a dual meet," Beckhart said. "The kids were engaged. They were watching every match. They were rooting for each other."
Luis Saucedo won by pin (2:29) over Ceres High's Michael Vargas at 113 pounds.
Christian Oliver won by pin (1:20) over former Hawk Aaron Page at 126 pounds.
"This is the match I've been looking forward to all season," Oliver said. "We've never wrestled. I prepared like crazy. I didn't think I'd win by pin. I just kept working hard. I stayed on top and controlled the match."
Angel Gonzales won by pin (4:20) over Ceres High's Roman Acosta at 132 pounds.
Jose Castillo won by pin (2:33) over Ceres High's Brandon Ramirez at 138 pounds.
Severo Vazquez won by major decision (15-4) over Ceres High's Aiden Moore at 145 pounds.
Wilber Arellano lost by pin (1:43) to Ceres High's Luis Camarillo at 120 pounds.
Central Valley held a surmountable 24-16 lead following the conclusion of the first eight matches. The Hawks and Bulldogs both won four times.
Andrew Marquez won by pin (1:49) over Ceres High's David Caravalho at 152 pounds.
Gabriel Martinez won by pin (0:31) over Ceres High's Spencer Nelson at 170 pounds.
Joaquin Garcia won by pin (0:57) over Ceres High's Diego Diaz at 182 pounds.
Adrian Badillo won by pin (1:14) over Ceres High's Daniel McElwain at 195 pounds.
John Alba won by decision (6-2) over Central Valley's Luis Torres at 160 pounds.
Abel Morales won by major decision (9-1) over Central Valley's Jason Beckhart at 220 pounds.
Rudy Gonzales won by pin (2:55) over Central Valley's Isaac De La Cruz at 285 pounds.
Tyler Fleming won by decision (13-9) over Central Valley's Claudia Martinez at 106 pounds.
"We tried our best," Tyler said. "I thought it was going to be close. I didn't think they were going to win by 30 points. They're really good."
Martinez challenged Fleming.
"I wanted to win so badly," Fleming said. "She's a state champion. That concerned me. I knew everyone was going to talk smack if I lost. That pushed me. I had to keep it simple. I don't think I used one real move. It paid off."
Daniel Raya, one of Ceres High's team captains, did not compete against Central Valley because of a death in the family.
"I chose to make moves in our lineup and it didn't work," Festa said. "I take full responsibility. I didn't give us the best chance to win. I had eight guys wrestling up a weight class."
The Hawks beat the Bulldog for the second year in a row.
"I have respect for every program," Festa said. "I still believe we have the best wrestlers in Ceres. We didn't show it tonight. It's good to have adversity. That's what makes good wrestlers great. We're going to work hard and get better. We're not going to quit."
"We've been working hard all week," Oliver said. "Coach has been pushing us. I thought it was going to be closer. We were ready. We had to win this. They did a great job, too."
"The kids responded," Beckhart said. "It's difficult to come into someone else's gym and win. It's a testimony to how the kids have gelled together. The bottom line is they care about each other. They don't want to let each other down."
Central Valley's final three WAC dual opponents are Pacheco, Patterson and El Capitan.
Ceres High will face Los Banos, El Capitan and Livingston.
"Everyone is happy," Oliver said. "We can't get ahead of ourselves. We need to keep wrestling hard. I didn't think our team would be this good. The young guys have stepped up. We're a lot more conditioned than other teams. We run stairs pretty much half of practice."