Central Valley's varsity wrestling program made history by capturing the school's first-ever section title in a team sport this past weekend in Stockton.
"I've learned not to underestimate these kids," Hawks head coach Rob Beckhart said.
Top-seeded Central Valley defeated third-seeded Ceres High 44-19 for the championship at the Sac-Joaquin Section Division-IV Team Duals on Saturday at Lincoln High School.
"I wasn't surprised Ceres High was in the finals," Beckhart said. "They have a good program. We work out together. It's a win-win for the city of Ceres. Both schools should be proud."
David Lezama, Jason Beckhart, Will Sprouse, Andrew Marquez, Christian Oliver, Luis Saucedo, Gabriel Martinez, Alex Alvarado and Severo Vazquez helped lead the Hawks past the Bulldogs during the all-Ceres finale.
Lezama won by pin (0:30) against Antonio Gonzalez at 285 pounds.
Beckhart won by pin (0:49) against Daniel McElwain at 222 pounds.
Sprouse won by pin (1:59) against Julian Lopez at 140 pounds.
Marquez won by pin (3:15) against Diego Diaz at 172 pounds.
Oliver won by pin (4:15) against Jaden Cooper at 134 pounds.
Saucedo won by major decision (12-0) against Luis Camarillo at 122 pounds.
Martinez won by major decision (18-6) against Conner Johnson at 197 pounds.
Alvarado won by decision (12-9) against Spencer Nelson at 162 pounds.
Severo Vazquez won by decision (3-2) against Aiden Moore at 154 pounds.
Adrian Badillo lost by decision (4-2) to Ceres High's Tyree Williams at 184 pounds.
Wilbur Arellano lost by decision (6-3 to Michael Vargas at 115 pounds.
Ryan Hendrix lost by decision (10-4) to Brian Becerra at 128 pounds.
Jose Castillo lost by major decision (16-5) to John Alba at 147 pounds.
Trent Craig lost by pin (4:36) to Frankie Mendez at 108 pounds.
"I give a lot of credit to Rob and his coaching staff for preparing their team," Bulldogs head coach Steve Festa said.
"It would have been devastating if we lost to Ceres High," Rob Beckhart added. "Fortunately, it didn't happen. They have a young team. They're going to be good for a while."
Central Valley rolled past Sierra Valley Conference champion Union Mine, 63-22, during their semifinal matchup.
Castillo won by pin (0:49) against Michael Griffiths at 147 pounds.
Beckhart won by pin (1:00) against Michael Ridge at 222 pounds.
Oliver won by pin (1:01) against Cameron Gist at 134 pounds.
Vazquez won by pin (3:12) against KC Morgan at 154 pounds.
Saucedo won by pin (4:45) against Isaac Heape at 128 pounds.
Martinez won by decision (8-1) against Sam Tolman at 184 pounds.
Alvarado won by decision (12-9) against Mason McLaury at 162 pounds.
Badillo won by decision (6-5) against Daniel Warden at 197 pounds.
Craig won by forfeit at 106 pounds.
Arellano won by forfeit at 115 pounds.
Brandon Senseney won by forfeit at 122 pounds.
Angel Gonzales won by forfeit at 140 pounds.
"It didn't matter who we wrestled," coach Beckhart said. "We weren't going to be denied."
Undeterred by its past failures, Central Valley accomplished a first this past week.
The Hawks finished runners-up in the section the previous two years, losing to Los Banos last season and Oakdale in 2014.
"We came back stronger this year," coach Beckhart said. "It shows a sense of resiliency. Our kids don't quit. They're fighters. They're unselfish. They're always pushing each other and trying to get better."
The bus ride from Ceres to Stockton was quiet.
"They kids were focused," Rob Beckhart said. "They weren't messing around. They knew what was in front of them and got the job done. It's pretty incredible. People didn't know what to expect from Central Valley four to five years ago. It's been a pretty remarkable turnaround. We've earned the respect of our peers."
"People know who we are now," Castillo added. "It feels good."
Oliver, Martinez, Vazquez, Badillo and Gonzales posed for a group picture with the blue section-title banner at the conclusion of Monday night's Central Valley-Ceres High varsity girls basketball game.
"We accomplished our goal," coach Beckhart said. "It's something the kids will always be able to look back on and be proud of. Wrestling isn't a sport that gets a lot of coverage or student-body support. Hopefully, the culture changes."
Central Valley, which has a perfect 12-1 dual-meet record this year, will compete at the Western Athletic Conference Finals this Friday at Patterson High School. The Hawks will claim their second straight WAC overall title with a top-two finish.