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Wrestlers hungry for success
Rob Beckhart has been promoted to head coach of Central Valley High School's wrestling program. He was an assistant the past two seasons and volunteered for one year.

"I'm not planning on leaving," said Beckhart, a 1990 Modesto High graduate and Ceres resident. "My commitment is to the team. I want to build the program. I kind of feel we're in the same position Ceres High was in last year. We just have to go out and do it."

Central Valley's top returners are Josh Beckhart (215, Sr.), Jaime Lomeli (152, Sr.), Anthony Centeno (145, Jr.), Alex Alvarez (119, Sr.), Jaime Tadeo (160, Sr.) and Evan Elliott (189, Sr.).

Beckhart accomplished his goal of qualifying for the Sac-Joaquin Masters Tournament as a junior. He finished fifth at Divisionals and second in the Valley Oak League. Josh posted a 24-13 overall record. Eleven of his wins came via pin. Six of his losses were to state qualifiers.

Centeno fell one win shy of a Masters berth during his first season with the Hawks. He placed sixth in the 130-pound division at Divisionals. Anthony placed fourth at the VOL meet.

Tadeo and Lomeli took fifth and sixth, respectively, at the league championships.

Tadeo was an alternate for Divisionals.

Lomeli's season was cut short thanks in large part to ankle sprains.

The Hawks have a host of newcomers. Nestor Berumen (135, Sr.), James Jackson (285, Sr.), Vince Martinez (125, Fr.) and Michael Manzur (103, Fr.) will be major contributors.

"Nestor's a super strong kid," Beckhart said. "He probably has the best work ethic in the room. James is really athletic for his size. He went to Ceres High the last three years."

For the first time in program history, Central Valley will field complete lineups at the varsity and junior-varsity levels.

The Hawks have more than 40 members.

Coach Beckhart increased participation by recruiting during the fall sports season.

"One of the first things I did was talk to freshman and sophomore football players," he said. "This is the most kids we've had on the wrestling team. The big thing is we need to gel."

Central Valley dropped all eight of its VOL dual-meet matches in 2009-10.

The Hawks could experience a major turnaround this year while competing in the Western Athletic Conference.

Central Valley will battle Ceres High, Central Catholic, Livingston, Patterson and Los Banos.

Los Banos returns a host of talent from last year's Central California Conference championship squad.

Ceres High, which finished second in the VOL a season ago, lost multiple standouts to graduation.

Private-school Central Catholic would have been favored to win the WAC title again but lost its head coach and several top wrestlers to Oakdale High School.

"The VOL was tough," Beckhart said. "I don't expect the competition to drop off too much. I'd like to see us be as good as Ceres High."

Central Valley has had four different head coaches during its six-year history.

Beckhart replaced Bobby Posadas, Grace Davis' new leader.

Posadas (2008-10) directed the Hawks for two seasons, including one with Joe Stewart (2006-09).

Stewart took over for Jon Nowicki (2005-06), who left for his alma mater (Ceres High) after Central Valley's inaugural season.

Former Bulldog Oscar Peral and Downey graduate Mike Senseney will assist Beckhart.

"We're hoping we can change the tradition," Beckhart said. "The kids are very cohesive this year. Everybody is pulling for the team."