In terms of league titles, Valencia High wrestling is 2-for-3. They won their second consecutive Tri-Valley League title in the team’s three-year existence Wednesday night at Peterson Grapplers in Valencia, defeating Fillmore 57-12. This year, they got there by going 3-0, achieving an undefeated record in league. The Vikings are hoping that the crown will give them momentum as the CIF-Southern Section Team Dual Championships approach. “It’s a big accomplishment for the team,” said Israel Galvan, a junior. “Everybody knows everybody, and this win is going to put us in people’s minds. Every time someone says Valencia High School, they’re going to be like, ‘They won league twice in a row.’”
Seven Vikings had pins in the dual and three others had wins. “It feels good because we’ve come a long way, especially with it only being our third year,” said sophomore Ben Gould. “We’re kind of like the underdogs because we haven’t been going for too long, but we had great numbers and everyone wrestled really well.” The CIF-Southern Section Team Dual Championships will be on Feb. 11. Last year, the Vikes had their team playoff run cut short after losing in the first round to Palos Verdes Peninsula High of Rolling Hills Estates. “I always say I have two brains,” said coach Brian Peterson. “One that is the fight in me that wants to … fight and try to win. But then the other part of me is the rational brain that just says, ‘Look, if we can outdo what we did last year and make quarters or semifinals of the team duals, it would be awesome.’ I just want to keep getting better.” Chance Rich, who has been out since late December with an elbow injury, will be back with his team in the 120-pound weight class. Rich played an integral part in last season’s success and reached the CIF Individual State Tournament.
Galvaz, a first-year wrestler, will be representing the Vikings in the 113 weight class, after battling Cory Faulconer for the spot. In the 170 class, Gould also hopes to make an impact. Gould is a second-year wrestler and has improved his technique so that he can rely less on sheer strength to win. Before the team tournament, however, Valencia will wrestle in the California Invitational Tournament at Morro Bay High this weekend and the individual league finals this coming Wednesday. Both the tournament and the individual finals will bring the team back down to Earth after the dominant team league win. “I think we knew we were capable, we knew we were going to do it,” Peterson said. “But now we’re at a stage where we have to really get ready. I have to keep pushing these kids and keep them hungry.”