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New-look Hawks plan to continue winning wrestling tradition
Central Valleys varsity boys wrestling team returns several key grapplers from last years team, including Sac-JoaquinSection Division-IV champion Severo Vazquez. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Central Valley's varsity boys wrestling program hasn't lost a Western Athletic Conference dual in three years.

The Hawks amassed a perfect 18-0 record from 2013-16.

"We don't really talk about the streak," head coach Rob Beckhart said. "We just try to focus on each opponent. I'm sure there are teams out there that want to beat us because of the success we've had."

Central Valley will rely on a handful of veterans and a host of newcomers this winter as it aims to build upon on its winning tradition.

"Nobody expects much from us because we lost a bunch of kids to graduation," Beckhart said. "We have enough experience to carry us. I hope we're underestimated."
The Hawks return just three full-time varsity starters from a year ago in David Lezama (285s), Severo Vazquez (145s/152s) and Christian Oliver (138s/145s).

Vazquez won three of five matches en route to finishing in the top 12 at the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament as a junior.

Severo compiled a 28-15 record on the season.

He finished first at the Division-IV Championships and second at the WAC finals.

Christian amassed a 24-9 overall record his junior year.

He won two of four matches at Masters.

Oliver took first at Divisionals and second in league.

Lezama won the heavyweight title at the WAC Championships.

He placed second at Divisionals.

David posted a 1-2 record at Masters.

Ryan Hendrix (132s), Will Sprouse (132s) and Tyler Beckhart (220s) also returned to the team.

Beckhart and Hendrix both placed fourth at the conference finals last year.

Central Valley's top newcomers are Kyle Hendrix (113s), James Murphy (160s), Nathan Curry (170s) and Angel Rico (195s/220s).

Murphy, Curry and Rico competed at the junior-varsity level a season ago.

"We're young," Rob Beckhart said. "I got a great group of freshmen. If they work hard, they'll be able to do some damage over the next few years."

Crosstown-rival Ceres High has the experience and talent to end Central Valley's run of dominance in the WAC.

"We know the WAC is going to be tough," coach Beckhart said. "Every week is going to be a challenge for us. Ceres is the team to beat. We're going to surprise a lot of people."

Central Valley enjoyed its best season to date during the 2015-16 school year.

The Hawks placed first at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Championships and Team Duals for the first time.

Central Valley claimed its second straight WAC overall title.

The Hawks also extended their unbeaten streak versus conference-dual competition.

"When I first came here, coaches, wrestlers and parents from other schools didn't know where Central Valley was," Rob Beckhart said. "We don't have that problem anymore. I'm excited for the kids. They work hard and deserve the recognition they get. I just want them to feel like they're a part of something bigger than themselves."