Birmingham Doubles Up at LA City Wrestling Duals Taking Home Boys and Girls Titles
A celebratory mood was in the air Tuesday night at the LA City Duals Championships before one whistle was blown. Perhaps the home supporters knew what was on the horizon. Birmingham High School hosted the City Dual finale as the Patriots girl’s wrestling team took down the Eagle Rock Eagles 60-19, en route to their sixth team dual title in the past seven years.
Following the girls, it was the boy’s turn to flex their muscles in front of their home crowd. The Patriots boys dominated Banning High School to the tune of 72-12, winning all but the last two matches of the evening, to capture another dual title for the San Fernando Valley powerhouse program.
Senior Briana Hernandez got the ball rolling for the Patriots, starting off the competition at 101 pounds. Hernandez raced out to a 9-0 lead in the first period on her way to an impressive pin over her opponent to give her team a 6-0 lead. The next bout at 106 pounds between Delilah Barragan and Cecile Ranciere of Eagle Rock provided more parity. In one of the only matches of the evening that lasted all three periods, it was Ranciere that came out as the victor. In a valiant effort to save her team the extra team points, Barragan of Birmingham fought multiple times off her back to surrender a major decision instead of a pin, bringing the team total to 6-4. The two schools split the next two matches, making the team score 12-10. The Patriots would go on to win five of the next six matches to take a comfortable lead heading into the upper weight classes. The lone win for the Eagles in that span came at 138. Georgia Silvar executed a lateral drop to perfection earning a pin for the Eagles. Silvar provided a shot of much-needed adrenaline for the Eagles in a dual that was quickly getting out of hand. The match of the night came at 160 pounds between Bailey Gutierrez and Abbie Walters. Walters of Eagle Rock used a pair of slick duck under takedowns to score against the stingy Gutierrez. In what was easily the most competitive match of the dual, Walters edged Gutierrez in overtime providing one of the few bright spots for the visiting Eagles. Birmingham went on a roll the rest of the match without dropping another bout.
Eagle Rock did surrender four forfeits resulting in 24 free points for the Patriots. Incomplete lineups are an issue that plagues numerous teams around the valley. Holes in the lineup are an issue that Birmingham’s architect of the program, former division one wrestler and Head Coach Jimmy Medieros seems to avoid every year. “We really commit to getting kids to try out. We have a lot of different things that I have implemented that really center around building excitement and enthusiasm for the program. Every kid must recruit a freshman to come out for the team. Some of them stay, some of them do not but it creates the numbers needed for success”. Next for the girls is the regional tournament February 11 at San Pedro High School where Coach Medeiros is confident his girls can keep the success flowing and continue to build on the momentum of their dominating performance.
Not to be outdone by the performance that preceded, the Patriots boys wrestling team put on a show for the throngs of supporters that came out to cheer them on against Banning High School. At 106 pounds impressive freshmen Henry Aslikyan showed why he is the favorite to take home the city crown. Smooth takedown after smooth takedown, Aslikyan cruised to victory pinning his opponent with ease and providing the Patriots with the maximum amount of team points to get the train rolling for Birmingham. In the next match at the 113-pound weight class, Alejandro Orozco of Banning came tantalizingly close to getting a win for the Pilots. In what was the best match of the night on the boys’ side, Aiden Martinez came back to edge Orozco in overtime to keep the momentum on the side of the Patriots. Unfortunately for the Pilots, that was as close as they would get to tasting victory for the next ten matches. Birmingham rolled through the middle-weight classes rattling off pins at the next 6 weight classes leaving no doubt about the outcome. With the dual already in hand going into the 220-pound bout, Caleb Nuhl-Yandall provided a fiery and spirited effort to give the Pilots their first victory of the dual. Nuhl-Yandall delivered the lone bright spot for the Pilots in a dual that was never competitive. Giovanni Yandall earned the only other points for Banning in the last match of the evening when Birmingham heavyweight Brandon Alcaraz was unable to continue due to a knee injury. When it was all said and done, Birmingham proved to be too much for Banning as they crushed the Pilots 72-12.
The Patriots should head into next week’s regional tournament riding high and full of confidence. In a special post-match celebration, it was all about the Patriots receiving both the boy’s and girls’ city plaques in front of their home crowd. When asked about the expectations he has for his team in next week’s tournament, Coach Medieros had a simple four-word answer; “We should win it”. Based on Tuesday’s performance it would be hard to argue otherwise.