The Panthers went into the state tournament looking to claim another title. They did it in dominating fashion.
There’s one word in the English language that few successful coaches like to use: Dynasty.
Although there’s no real definition for what defines a sports dynasty, many will say a team needs to win at least three titles in a short period of time.
If that’s to be believed, then Dr. Phillips’ third consecutive state title — which it claimed last weekend — is enough to proclaim the Panthers a dynasty.
Although head coach Kirwyn Adderly won’t be mad at having his team labeled a dynasty, he would prefer folks use another word: Dominant.
“It’s kind of odd for me, because I’m the one who helped make that (dynasty) happen,” Adderly said with a laugh. “I love our school — our school supports us greatly — so anything we can do to make our school proud. We are in it to win it all the time. … So, if people want to use that word, then they can use that word — I’m not using that word.”
Dominant is just as good a word as dynasty for this Panthers team, especially when considering how incredible a performance was put on by the girls wrestling team.
Over the two-day tournament, the Panthers finished with a total of 287 points — a whopping 123.5 points ahead of second-place Freedom, and 180 points ahead of third-place University.
By the second day, Adderly knew they were in good shape — so much so that the team changed its game plan.
“From the moment when it was sealed up, I thought we wrestled really well on Friday and then after Friday — after how well we wrestled — I felt that we were in a really good position,” Adderly said. “Going into the semifinals, I knew we couldn’t be caught —that’s always a good position for us, because then I don’t have the team worrying about the team title, and it’s all about their individual results.
“They wrestled much better when I told them to go ahead and focus about your individual stuff and don’t worry about the team stuff,” he said. “That worked out really well.”
On the individual level, the Panthers took care of business. They snagged six individual championships and 13 total spots on the podium.
It was also a moment of redemption for junior Jessica Corredor, who, after finishing runner-up the last two years in the 100-pound class, finally took home an individual title.
The top seed in her division, Corredor — who went undefeated during the season — pinned her first four opponents before pinning Wekiva’s Zariah Curtis in the final to take the title.
“I’m probably happiest for her, because she took second the last two years,” Adderly said. “Last year, she was undefeated and lost in the state finals to a girl who’s wrestling in college. It’s good for her and her journey. She has been there — been in the finals since her freshman year — (and had) a couple of disappointments but then came back.”
"Going into the semifinals, I knew we couldn’t be caught — that’s always a good position for us, because then I don’t have the team worrying about the team title, and it’s all about their individual results."
— Kirwyn Adderly
Corredor is one of the team’s four nationally ranked All-Americans.
Along with Corredor, defending state champion Karolina Ortiz battled through a tough match in which she won 2-1 in triple overtime to claim a title in the 128-pound class. This was also the second season Ortiz went undefeated, making her one of the most dominant wrestlers in school history.
Rounding out the rest of the state-title winners were Jennifer Charles who took home the title in the 134-pound class, while Shania Gowan repeated in the 162-pound finals. Shedeline Ulysse captured her third consecutive title in the 222-pound class, and last — but certainly not least — senior Amani Guzman claimed her second consecutive title in the 287-pound class.
Although many would take this time in the offseason to maybe sit down for a few minutes to catch their breath, that’s not the case for the Panthers girls wrestling team. They already are looking forward to getting back to work, Adderly said.
“Yesterday I got texts from the girls that were like, ‘So when do we start practice for offseason? When is our meeting for offseason?’ And I was like, ‘Hey, we’re off for a week or so, relax,’” Adderly said. “The lineup will change next year, but the goal will be the same: To win another state title. We will get challenged throughout the season, but we will still have that goal at the end.”