Central Valley High School boys wrestlers Ruben Valenzuela, Nick Genasci and Juan Melgoza brought home individual medals from the Asics Southern California Challenge.
The Hawks totaled 86 points while finishing 12th overall at the 48-team tournament, which was staged Dec. 29-30 at Santa Ana High School.
Millikan (180), Western (168.5) and Corona Del Mar (150.5) took first, second and third, respectively.
“There were a lot of state-ranked wrestlers there,” coach Rob Beckhart said. “The kids had to wrestle hard if they wanted to place.”
Valenzuela placed second in the 184-pound weight bracket.
“The kid he lost to took seventh at state two years ago,” Beckhart said. “If Ruben’s 100 percent, maybe you see a different outcome in that match.”
Valenzuela won three of four matches while competing with an injured shoulder.
He beat Santa Ana Valley’s Dominic Roldan (pin), Corona Del Mar’s Anthony Gonzalez (pin) and Hesperia’s Frankie Stevenson (pin).
Valenzuela lost to St. John Bosco’s Mark Ayala (pin) in the finals.
Valenzuela and Ayala are ranked ninth and 10th, respectively, in the state.
Valenzuela improved his overall record to 17-2.
“I firmly believe if Ruben’s 100 percent and wrestles hard, nobody can beat him at state,” Beckhart said. “He knows he has a target on his back.”
Genasci placed fourth at 115 pounds.
“This is the best I’ve seen Nick wrestle the four years he’s been at Central Valley,” Beckhart said.
Genasci won three of four matches.
He beat South Hills’ Jhonny Hernandez (pin), Corona Del Mar’s Angelo Gonzalez (decision) and Capo Valley’s Jason Gomez (pin).
Genasci lost to eventual-runner-up Nikhil Guerrero of South Hills (pin).
“He should have made it past semifinals,” Beckhart said. “He ended up pinning himself. The move that he was trying to do put himself in a bad position. He wasn’t able to recover.”
Melgoza placed fifth at 154 pounds.
“Juan beat some really tough kids,” Beckhart said. “It was nice to see him break through. Hopefully, he can keep it up.”
Melgoza posted a 4-2 record.
He beat Hesperia’s Aiden Valencia (pin), Western’s Chris Merecado (pin), Santa Fe’s Nick Sepulveda (major decision) and Santa Ana’s Aaron Lopez (decision).
He suffered a pair of losses to Mater Dei’s Ruben Rodriguez (technical fall, pin).
Rodriguez placed third.
“He lost to the same guy twice,” Beckhart said. “He’s ranked 25th in the state.”
Joey Zuniga, Roberto Rosales, Andrew Torres, Makhai Smith, Camden Cai, Alex Vargas, Albert Gonzales, Adan Garcia, David Contreras, Enrique Gonzalez, Elijah DeLeon and Juan Alonzo gained valuable mat time at the ASICS Challenge.
“Everybody got to wrestle,” Beckhart said.
Zuniga and Rosales both compiled 2-2 records at 122 pounds.
Zuniga beat Cleveland’s Ethan Le (pin) and Centennial’s Jacob Salas (decision).
He lost to Santa Ana’s Lazaro Lopez (decision) and El Camino’s Adrian Bowcutt (pin).
Rosales beat Salas (decision) and Le (pin) at 122 pounds.
He lost to Corona Del Mar’s Brendan Muse (pin) and Hesperia’s Andrew Diaz (pin).
Torres compiled a 2-2 record at 184 pounds.
He beat Santa Fe’s Oscar Sanchez (pin) and Santa Ana Valley’s Dominic Roldan (pin).
Torres lost to Hesperia’s Frankie Stevenson (pin) and University’s Owen Choiu (pin).
Smith compiled a 2-2 record at 222 pounds.
He beat James Monroe’s Cruz Martinez (pin) and San Marino’s Matt Negroe (pin).
Smith lost to Western’s Gerardo Orozco (pin) and Cleveland’s David Campos (pin).
Cai compiled a 2-2 record at 287 pounds.
He beat Imperial’s Ethan Arreola (pin) and Santana’s Josh Dulin (pin).
Cai lost to Godinez’s David Lucero (pin) and Mater Dei’s Jaycob’s Renteria (pin).
Vargas and Gonzales compiled 1-2 records at 134 pounds.
Vargas beat Millikan’s Chris Hernandez (pin).
He lost to Imperial’s Christopher Guizar (pin) and Serra’s Kilian Hannegan (pin).
Gonzales beat Santana’s Aiden Thornton (pin).
He lost to Granite Hills’ Devon Wells (technical fall) and Escondido’s Anthony Solis (pin).
Garcia compiled a 1-2 record at 140 pounds.
He beat Chaparral’s Damion Diaz (major decision).
Garcia lost to El Toro’s Miles Greenberg (pin) and Marina’s Shane Lerma (decision).
Contreras, Gonzalez, DeLeon and Alonzo compiled 0-2 records at 108, 128, 162 and 172 pounds, respectively.
Contreras lost to Western’s Paulino Lazaro-Lopez (pin) and Santa Fe’s Sebastian Teroy (pin).
Gonzalez lost to El Toro’s Isaac Mendoza (pin) and Corona Del Mar’s John Strapp (pin).
DeLeon lost to Canyon Springs’ Jeremiah Martin (decision) and University’s Danny Mattar (pin).
Alonzo lost to Imperial’s Jesse Romero (pin) and Santa Fe’s Daniel Saucedo (pin).
Central Valley was supposed to compete at the Sierra Nevada Classic, Dec. 28-29, in Reno. The event was postponed due to winter weather.
“It got canceled because of the snow,” Beckhart said. “All the roads were closed.”