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Local wrestlers do well at conference tourney
Central Valley's and Ceres High's varsity wrestling programs enjoyed a tremendous amount of success while competing in front of their home fans at the Western Athletic Conference Championships last week.

Host Central Valley finished in second place with a score of 168.5 at the seven-team tournament.

Ceres High took fourth (126.5).

Los Banos won the team title (210.5).

Patterson (156), Livingston (103), Central Catholic (93) and Pacheco (34) placed third, fifth, sixth and seventh.

Central Valley and Ceres High combined to qualify 19 of their 25 wrestlers for the Sac-Joaquin Section Division IV meet, to be held this Friday and Saturday at Union Mine High School.

"Being able to do that at home was good to see," Hawks head coach and tournament director Rob Beckhart said. "I'm proud of everybody. We've been working hard since September. We set a lot of goals for ourselves and met them."

Added Bulldogs head coach Jon Nowicki: "The kids did a great job."

Eleven of Central Valley's 14 grapplers advanced to divisionals, including Josh Beckhart, Jaime Lomeli, Michael Manzur, Vince Martinez, Johnny Proctor, James Jackson, Jeffrey Phetsomphou, Anthony Centeno, Jaime Tadeo, Evan Elliot and Miguel Espinoza.

Josh Beckhart won the 191-pound championship.

He cut 13 pounds leading up to the tournament.

"He did it the right way," Rob Beckhart said. "He ate breakfast, lunch and dinner everyday. He didn't starve himself. He just increased his exercise. He was running 10 miles a day."

Lomeli, Central Valley's 154-pounder, exacted revenge against Patterson's Zack Whitney in the finals. Jaime won by decision, 7-2.

"I'm happy for him," Rob Beckhart said. "He just wrestled a smarter match."

Manzur (105 pounds), Martinez (127s), Proctor (217s) and Jackson (285s) all finished second in their respective weight classes.

Michael and Vince are freshmen.

Phetsomphou (114s), Centeno (142s), Tadeo (162s) and Elliott (173s) placed third.

Espinoza (132s) took fourth.

Ceres High had three individual champions at the WAC tournament: Gabe Balderas (114s), Wesley Schwieger (121s) and Nick Serratos (173s).

Nick Moran (142s) finished in second place.

Gabriel Solis (127s) and Raj Singh (147s) placed third.

Joey Bettencourt (105s) and Andrew Cefre (137s) took fourth.

"The city of Ceres had finalists in most of the weight classes," Nowicki said. "That's an amazing feat"

Hughson finished second overall at the Trans-Valley League championship meet, held last Saturday in Ripon.

Jesse McDaniel (147s, first), Ernie Villegas (121s, second), Leo Vasquez (127s, second), Andrew Patrick (132s, second), Taryn Huber (142s, second), Alex Cortez (184s, second), Chase Herrin (105s, third), Colton Rosenbaum (137s, third), Jorge Barajas (173s, third) and Adam Padilla (217s, third) secured individual berths to the Sac-Joaquin Section Division V tournament.

Pitman junior Kyle Martinez, formerly of Central Valley and Central Catholic, placed second overall in the 215-pound division at the Central California Conference tourney on Thursday at Buhach Colony High School. He qualified for the Division I competition.