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CV girls wrestling program makes history
Central Valleys varsity girls wrestling team reached new heights while competing at the Western Athletic Conference Championships this past weekend in Los Banos. The Hawks won the team title for the first time in program history. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Central Valley's varsity girls wrestling program accomplished several firsts while dominating at the Western Athletic Conference Championships on Saturday in Los Banos.

The Hawks racked up 239 points en route to winning the team title.

All 12 of Central Valley's grapplers brought home individual medals.

The Hawks qualified six wrestlers for the finals, four of which claimed championships.

"It's the best we've ever done as a team," coach Rob Beckhart said. "I'm happy for the girls. They've worked hard."

"It's really special," Central Valley junior Brianna Quiroz added. "We're breaking CV records."

Hawk Nayeli Pelayo won all three of her matches while placing first in the 189-pound bracket.

Quiroz (150 pounds, 2-0 record), Carla Martinez (137s, 2-0) and Aryanna Jimenez (111s, 2-0) also claimed titles.

Olivia Chaboya (160s, 2-1), Emily Mendoza (121s, 2-1) and Ellena Markham (116s, 1-1) all took second.

Natalia Torres (170s, 3-1), Julia Avila (106s, 3-1) and Vanessa Contreras (101s, 3-1) finished third in their respective weight classes.

Esther Esceverri (143s, 1-1) and Isabella Pelayo (131s, 1-2) both placed fourth.

"I'm really proud of us," Quiroz said. "We all wrestled our hardest today. With this being our last year in the WAC, we wanted to win the championship."

"Half the kids we took we're in the finals," Beckhart said. "It's just nice to see them have success. We have some tough girls."

Central Valley has managed to reach new heights this winter despite competing with a new lineup.

The Hawks returned just four wrestlers from a year ago.

"Most of the girls are new to the sport," Beckhart said. "The goal was to be as competitive as they could. It's been a learning curve for most of them."

The WAC tournament was staged at Los Banos.

Crosstown-rival Ceres High totaled 52 points on its way to finishing sixth in the team standings.

All three of the Bulldogs' wrestlers medaled, including Hillary Ortega, Azucena Rodriguez and Briahnna Canales.

Ortega (150s, 1-1), Rodriguez (160s, 2-1) and Canales (116s, 2-2) took second, third and fourth, respectively.

"We had over 50 girls between six teams compete," Beckhart said. "That's a positive for the sport of girls wrestling in general. Two years ago, we didn't even have enough girls to have a tournament."

"Girls wrestling is exploding," Quiroz added.