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Panther Wrestlers Strong At Home, In Tournaments


El Portal wrestlers took on Savage from Modesto on March 8, facing off with one of their rivals from the past.

“At the beginning of the match the score was tied 15-15 before we went on a run to pull away 63-30, with 18 different wrestlers picking up wins that night,” said head coach Dimos Birakos.

Then it was Prescott Junior High on Thursday night at home.

“Unlike Tuesday this was not so close as we won 23 matches out of 29 matches to win 69-18. Once again everyone stepped up to make sure the team improved to 12-1 for the season while winning the 12th match in a row,” Birakos said. “The wrestler of the night was Charles Dias who picked up three wins for us.”

The Panthers were slated to host Creekside Patterson on Tuesday, March 15 after The Times went to press.

“They took third at the Panther Duals with their only loss coming to us so they will be ready,” Birakos noted.

El Portal grapplers also had two different tournaments that took place over the weekend. Garrett Nash and Brad Huggland competed in the prestigious Tournament of Champions up in Sacramento and both went 2-2 for the day, a strong showing considering this is a qualifying tournament and they only take the best middle school kids from across the state of California.

“As for the rest of the Panther wrestlers we traveled to Turlock High School to compete in the Tiger Classic where 20 out of 26 finished in the top four with 13 of those bringing back medals,” Birakos said.

Champions were 6th grader Austin Roberts, 7th grader Fabian Torres, and 8th grader Miguel Granillo. In 2nd place were Aidan Krieger, Ty Harris, Luke Anderson, Charles Dias and Dylan Parks. Finishing in 3rd place were Levi Hale, Bryan Hale, Justis Dutt, Phillip Ellis and Gabby Menesis.

“Beyond wins and scores, last week was also a pretty big week due to grades coming out which determines if our wrestlers can continue wrestling for us or not and this can be a stressful time for a coach,” Birakos said. “We managed to do fairly well in this category as we had 20 out of 33 wrestlers receive a 3.0 GPA or higher with Aidan Krieger receiving a perfect 4.0. This brings our team GPA average to 3.0.”

Five Panthers will be wrestling in Fresno this weekend at the SCWAY State Tournament while the other 28 should be competing at the Hammer Tourney hosted by Savage Middle School.