Central Valley’s varsity boys wrestling program qualified five grapplers for the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships in Stockton later this week.
Ruben Valenzuela, Natanael Lezama, Kyle Hendrix, Thomas Carrillo and Juan Lezama were all awarded individual berths after finishing in the top eight in their respective weight classes at the Division-III Tournament on Saturday at Oakdale High School.
Hawk teammate Davian Lemus will attend Masters as an alternate.
Valenzuela won the 182-pound title. He took first at the Central California Conference finals the previous week.
“I’m more focused this year,” said Valenzuela, who improved his overall record to 31-3. “I’m working harder. My confidence got higher, too.”
Valenzuela won all three of his matches at Divisionals.
“It feels good winning but I have to stay humble and keep working hard,” he said.
Valenzuela pinned Oakmont’s James Mintmier in the first round (1:10) during the championship match.
“It ended fast,” he said. “I did the same thing to him in the second round at the Tim Brown Invitational.”
Valenzuela also beat Ponderosa’s Matt Fregoso (decision, 7-3) and Del Campo’s Cielo Trevino (major decision, 16-6).
He improved his overall record to 31-3.
“I have a lot of room for improvement,” said Valenzuela, who was fifth in his weight class in the Sac-Joaquin Section’s latest rankings. “I have to keep practicing.”
Natanael Lezama placed fourth at 220 pounds.
He compiled a 3-2 record.
Lezama beat Central Catholic’s Ramsey Ferrer (pin, 0:57), Kimball’s Conner Burns (pin, 1:05) and Rio Linda’s Michael Phipps (pin, 2:47).
Hendrix (152 pounds, 3-2 record) placed seventh.
“I’m pretty excited to keep wrestling,” he said. “I didn’t compete the first month of the season. I didn’t want to take a chance and get injured again.”
Hendrix fractured his right tibia in his right leg during the summertime.
“I’ve been doing well the last three seasons,” Hendrix said. “I wanted to give it one last go. The injury set me back. But I wasn’t going to give up. I didn’t want to let my team and family down.”
Hendrix collected wins against Merced’s Marcus Almanza (decision, 7-6), Lincoln’s Daniel Palmer (pin, 2:20) and Kimball’s Jaiden Pelech (decision, 8-2).
“My goal was to do the best with where I’m at,” said Hendrix, whose stamina is not where it should be due to the amount of practice time he missed while recovering from his injury. “It’s hard to go three rounds. All I can do is get better. I’m going to train hard.”
Carrillo (195s, 1-3) and Juan Lezama (170s, 2-3) both placed eighth.
Carrillo beat Del Campo’s Charles Hunziker (pin, 0:59).
Lezama beat Lincoln’s Jalen Hill (pin, 2:35) and Rio Linda’s Freddie White (pin, 1:00).
Lemus (120s, 1-2) placed ninth.
He beat Weston Ranch’s Adrian Hopkins (major decision, 22-12).
Central Valley’s Roman Ramirez (160s, 1-2) and Julian Padilla (285s, 0-2) also competed at Divisionals.
Ramirez beat Placer’s Aidan Alvarez (pin, 1:06).