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Newcomer Saucedo making a difference as key member of CVs wrestling team
CVHS junior grappler No. 7 in sections 108-pound rankings
Luis Saucedo is enjoying a productive first season with Central Valleys varsity wrestling team. The Modesto High transfer had a 27-9 overall record as of Monday. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

A resident of Modesto for his entire life, Luis Saucedo moved to Ceres before the start of the 2014-15 school year.

Saucedo, formerly of Modesto High, is now a key member of Central Valley High School's new-look varsity wrestling program.

"I went to Modesto High because that's where my family went," the junior grappler said. "I love being here. I'm getting to know a lot of people. It feels natural. This is where I learned to wrestle. I grew up in the Ceres Hawks youth program."

Luis helped the Hawks improve to 8-2 overall and 4-0 in the Western Athletic Conference dual-meet standings on Jan. 20 in Ceres.

Saucedo won by pin (0:43) over Pacheco's Carlos Villasenor in the 120-pound division.

Central Valley prevailed as a team, 66-13.

The Hawks won all six of their WAC duals this past season.

"I had a feeling we were going to do well this year," Luis said. "We still have talent in the room."
Luis had an overall record of 27-9 as of Monday.

Saucedo was No. 7 in the Sac-Joaquin Section's Jan. 16 rankings for 108-pound grapplers.

Luis finished fifth with an impressive 8-2 mark at the Tim Brown Memorial this past weekend in Sacramento. The tournament featured over 600 wrestlers.

"This year is a redemption year," Saucedo said. "I'm 99.9 percent sure I'm going to state. I'm beating guys that are ranked in the state."

"He'll be a shoo-in to win league at 108 pounds as long as he stays healthy and makes weight," Hawks head coach Rob Beckhart said. "He'll also have an opportunity to place first at Divisonals."

Saucedo competed at the varsity as a sophomore and freshman at Modesto High.

Luis placed second in the 115-pound weight class at the Modesto Metro Conference Championships last season.

Saucedo compiled a 2-2 record at Masters, finished in eighth place at Divisionals and was runner-up at the MMC finals his freshman year.

Saucedo's training partner at Modesto High was two-time state-meet champion Israel Saavedra.

Other Panther teammates included Emilio Saavedra, and Angel and Adam Velasquez.

Emilio, Israel's older brother, placed three times at the state finals. He took first in 2014. He had a career record of 115-6. He earned a scholarship to Old Dominion University.

Angel and Adam both qualified for state last season. The Velasquez brothers now compete for Pitman High School.

"I watched the way the Saavedra brothers wrestled and imitated them," Saucedo said. "All they do are basic moves. I stick to the basics. That's why I'm winning."

"Wrestling in that room, he never got any credit," Beckhart said. "He gets noticed here."

Saucedo joined a Central Valley squad, which lost 10 of its 14 starters to graduation.

"He's had great workout partners the last couple of years," Beckhart said. "It's good to have that experience."

Luis has made an immediate impact since earning a spot in Central Valley' starting lineup. "I'm proud to be a Hawk," Luis said. "Everybody here tries their best and that's what matters. We just keep our mindset positive."