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The Corcoran High Panther wrestling team lost it first dual match of the season last Wednesday. The Panthers were defeated by defending champions Granite Hills out of Porterville 47-27 and are now 2-1 in the East Sequoia League.


The Panthers lack of experienced wrestlers showed against a seasoned Granite Hills.


“We did well for having 10 of our 14 varsity spots being occupied by freshmen, first year wrestlers, and even two very tough girls. It was a learning experience for this young team.” said coach Andy Saldana.


There were some bright spots for the Panthers who recorded pins by Leonard Rodriguez at 147 pounds; 154 pound Aaron Panduro pinned his opponent; 195 pounder Jose Gonzalez recorded a fall and freshman heavyweight Edgar Hernandez pinned his Granite opponent.


The match of the night took place at 140 pounds and it pitted freshman sensation Joe Romero against defending valley champion Andy Alvarez. Romero controlled the matched and silenced the Granite Hills crowd defeating Alvarez 8-4.


The Panthers wrestled at The True Wrestler Invitational which was held Jan. 24 in Tulare. CHS had five wrestlers come home with medals. Freshman Edgar Hernandez took sixth at 285, frosh Manuel Madrid placed fourth at 220, senior Aidan Viveros took fourth at 170 pounds, sophomore Leonard Rodriguez placed fifth at 140 pounds and Romero took first place at 134 pounds.


Most recently the Panther squad wrestled at the Central Valley Invitational which was held in Visalia Saturday. Three wrestlers placed and they were all freshman. They were Madrid, third at 220 pounds, Hernandez, third at 285 pounds and Romero, second at 140 pounds.


In Visalia, Romero moved up a weight class in hopes of squaring off with the number one ranked wrestler in all of California Jaden Enriquez of Tulare.


Romero got that meeting in the tourney final. Romero was stormed from the whistle and was tossed in a headlock by the Greco Roman National Champion. Down 5-0 after the first period, Romero managed an escape but got caught in another patented headlock. He escaped once again but couldn’t muster any offense, Enriquez managed two more takedowns and Romero two more escapes. The final match score was 14-4.


The loss was the end to a remarkable run of victories for Romero–20 straight victories, including three tournament championships and twice being named tournament MVP.


The Panthers returned to league action at Sierra Pacific in Hanford yesterday (Wednesday). Details were not available at press time. The team’s final home match is next Wednesday, Feb. 11 when they host Strathmore. The match will begin at 5:30 p.m.


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