By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Hawks second at Divisionals
Central Valleys varsity boys wrestling team brought home a second-place plaque from the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Championships. - photo by Contributed to the Courier

Central Valley's varsity boys wrestling team finished in first place at the 2016 Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Championships.

The Hawks managed to take second at Divisionals this year despite competing with a revamped lineup.

"I couldn't be prouder of these kids," head coach Rob Beckhart said. "They've surprised some people."

Central Valley's Christian Oliver, David Lezama, Severo Vazquez, Ryan Hendrix, Angel Rico and Tyler Beckhart all qualified to compete at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Championships this week in Stockton.

Oliver, Lezama, Vazquez, Hendrix, Rico and Beckhart were awarded berths after finishing in the top four in their respective weight classes at Divisionals, staged Feb. 17-18, at Union Mine High School.

"For these kids to get to this point, it says a lot about who they are and what they've done," coach Beckhart said. "I'm happy for them. The majority of the kids, five of them, are seniors. It's great they get to experience this."

Oliver placed first at Divisionals for the second year in a row.

Christian won all three of his matches this past week while competing in the 138-pound weight class.

He wasn't slowed by a middle broken finger.

"For him to be able to do what he's done is incredible," Beckhart said. "He has an opportunity to be a state qualifier. He's in an extremely tough weight class."

Christian (21-7) improved his career record to 87-40.

Oliver finished first at the 2017 Western Athletic Conference Championships and was third at the Ceres Invitational.

"He's been a big part of what we've done the last four years," Rob Beckhart said. "He has the best winning percentage of any kid I've coached. He's a super, technical wrestler. He's smart. He's a student of the sport. He reads the brackets and knows who everybody is. He's like a coach on the mat."

Lezama, Central Valley's heavyweight grappler, compiled a 3-0 record on his way to a first-place finish.

"I think people underestimate David all the time," coach Beckhart said. "He's a tough kid. He works hard. He doesn't miss practice. He wants to be the best. He's a kid you want to root for."

David (30-10) won the 285-pound title at the WAC finals. He also placed first at tournaments in Ceres, Oakdale, Sonora and Corona.

He was eighth at the Tim Brown Memorial Invitational.

Lezama has climbed as high as 37th in the state rankings for 285-pound wrestlers this season.

"He's the best heavyweight Central Valley has ever had," Rob Beckhart said. "He was unknown when the season started. He's wrestled all the tough kids. He knows what it's going to take to get to state."

Vazquez (145s, 2-1 record) took second.

Hendrix (126s, 4-2) took third.

Rico (195s, 2-2) and Beckhart (220s, 2-2) both took fourth.

Will Sprouse (132s, 3-2), Kyle Hendrix (113s, 3-3), Ryan Palacek (152s, 1-2), James Murphy (160s, 0-2), Antonio Castillo (120s, 0-2) and Anthony Voss (106s, 0-2) also represented the Hawks at Divisionals last week.

Sprouse took fifth and just missed securing a berth to Masters.

Hendrix took sixth.

Palecek, Murphy, Castillo and Voss did not place.

Crosstown-rival Ceres High won the team title at Divisionals this winter.

"We knew Ceres had the best team," coach Beckhart said. "Our main focus was to win as many matches as we could. Our kids knew what the expectations were and they went out and performed. For our team to come in second is huge for our program moving forward. We made a big statement. Wrestling is a tough sport. Every year is a challenge."

The Masters meet will be staged this Friday and Saturday at Stockton Arena.