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CV lady wrestlers claim another league title
• Hawks finish first at CCC finals, share overall championship
Central Valley had five individual champions at the CCC Tournament. Pictured: (left to right) Samantha Espinoza, Aryanna Jimenez, Nia Caraway, Carla Martinez and Brianna Quiroz.

Central Valley’s varsity girls wrestling team took first at the Central California Conference Tournament last Thursday at Merced High School.

The Hawks shared the CCC’s overall championship with Atwater, which topped Central Valley during the dual season.

Newcomers to the CCC, Central Valley claimed Western Athletic Conference overall, tournament and dual titles last winter.

“It was a lot harder this year moving from the WAC to the CCC,” fourth-year wrestler Brianna Quiroz said. “We knew we’d have Atwater to deal with.”

“Winning one championship is hard enough,” head coach Rob Beckhart said. “You have a target on your back. There’s pressure. I’m proud of them for being able to take care of business when they needed to. They’ve put themselves on the map locally in terms of girls wrestling.”

Central Valley amassed 196 points at the CCC Tournament.

Atwater totaled 180 points.

“We were all pretty confident,” Quiroz said. “We know our capability and what we can do.”

The Hawks brought home 17 individual medals from the league championships.

Central Valley had five individual champions, including Quiroz, Carla Martinez, Aryanna Jimenez, Samantha Espinoza and Nia Caraway.

“They did what I knew they were capable of,” Beckhart said.

Quiroz, Martinez and Jimenez placed first in league for the second year in a row.

Quiroz compiled a 2-0 record at 150 pounds.

“I’m proud of myself,” she said. “I didn’t know much as a freshman. I made the improvements I needed to make to become the wrestler I am.”

“Her commitment this year has been unlike no other,” Beckhart added. 

Quiroz was also a finalist for the Berl Middlebrooks Award, which goes to the CCC’s top individual wrestler.

“It’s nice to have someone around that knows what it takes to be successful,” Beckhart said. “She doesn’t miss practice. She works hard. She wants to be pushed.”

Martinez won all three of her matches at 131 pounds.

Jimenez won both of her matches at 116 pounds.

Espinoza won both of her matches at 170 pounds.

Caraway won one match at 143 pounds.

Kim Garcia (116s, 1-1), Abigail Garcia (121s, 1-1), Isabella Pelayo (126s, 1-1), Esther Esceverri (137s, 1-1) and Hannah Duncan (235s, 0-1) all placed second in their respective weight divisions.

Vanesa Contreras (101s, 3-1), Giuliana Gutierrez (160s, 0-1) and Angelina Sanchez (189s, 0-1) placed third.

Kelsy Naranjo (106s, 1-2), Emily Hill (111s, 0-2), Claudia Gomez (121s, 1-2) and Natalie Torres (170s, 1-2) placed fourth.

Alyssa Chaboya (101s, 0-2), Alejandra Garcia (121s, 0-2) and Alexis Ramirez (170s, 0-2) did not place.

Central Valley made program history this winter by winning its second straight conference championship.

The Hawks also had a record number of grapplers medal at a league tournament.

“It’s special,” Quiroz said. “I’m really grateful I’ve been able to be on the team. We all sacrificed. We never really got a break.”

“It’s nice to be able to sit back and see the girls have success in a sport that was dominated by men for a long time,” Beckhart said. “It’s a testament to their overall dedication. They work hard. The thing that’s exciting is our numbers continue to grow.”

Central Valley will be the host site for the Feb. 8-9 Sac-Joaquin Section South Regional Tournament.