In the last year they will be wearing Modesto High singlets together, Emilio and Isreal Saavedra look to double up at state.
By TREVOR HORN | Contributor
At one time Emilio Saavedra was considered a freshman phenom. Now he gets referenced as Israel’s older brother.
With one last shot, the senior from Modesto High is trying to make sure that his swan song is that of a duet with his brother on the big stage.
Emilio Saavedra won the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters wrestling title as a freshman at 103 pounds before taking third at the California Interscholastic Federation State Championships.
As a sophomore, he missed out on a second consecutive Masters title, finishing in third followed by a fourth place finish at state at 120 pounds two years ago.
And then during his junior year, he was regulated to cheerleader and big brother role as Israel Saavedra busted on the scene to win the Masters and state title at 103 pounds.
Emilio didn’t make weight at the Modesto Metro Conference, thus ending his season before it could even begin.
But Saturday afternoon at Stockton Arena, the brothers stood on the podium, as champions, ready to make amends for the season lost.
Emilio (36-2) defeated Brandon Clailborne of Oak Ridge-El Dorado Hills 9-3 in the 138 pound finals for his second Masters title.
Twenty minutes earlier, without needing to break a sweat, Israel won his second Masters title in as many years by forfeit after Vacaville’s Gionn Peralta, a former foe of his brother’s, injury defaulted.
Now both have a chance to become state champions, together, in this last opportunity.
“It’s a good experience and feeling,” said Emilio, currently ranked third in the state at 138. “It’s my senior year and our last together. It’s pretty cool.”
Israel sits atop the rankings at 120 pounds with a 38-2 record and is the top seed in the state meet that begins Friday at Rabobank Arena in Baskerfield.
The experience is one that is not lost on the brothers, knowing they have a chance to make history.
“I think we are both pretty ecstatic about (this) weekend,” Emilio said. “We both want to walk away with state titles. It would be great to be the first state champion brothers at (Modesto) High.”
Emilio will wrestle next season at Old Dominion, nearly 3,000 miles from home.
“It feels great to have him push me in practice all these years,” Israel said. “We are usually always in the same room, so it will be (weird).”
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