Riverview senior Jordan Pirkl is 12-0 this season and on course to become the school's first state champion.
By TERRY JONES
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 11, 2002
BRANDON -- When the early bell rings for working students to leave the Riverview High campus and report to their jobs, senior Jordan Pirkl moves quickly to earn a couple of hours pay.
After work, he dons his sweats and runs 4 miles from home to school for wrestling practice. After a 2-hour practice, he repeats the 4-mile run.
Some might say the 140-pounder is overdoing it, but he has a plan.
Pirkl and his coach, Willie Sargable, a former middleweight state champion at East Bay, believe he can become Riverview's first state champion.
"Jordan works hard and is certainly the standout for our team," Sargable said. "He has the skill and is pushing his conditioning to be able to face the state run."
Pirkl qualified for the state tournament as a sophomore. Last year, he finished with a 31-6 record and placed sixth.
This year, he is 12-0 with 11 pins. His only non-pin was a two-point decision over Brandon sophomore Tommy Hutchinson, who was fifth in the state last season. "Our district has three teams ranked in the top 20 in the state, including No. 1 Manatee," Sargable said. "Regionals and state is tougher. He can do it if he puts in what is needed in the next six weeks."
Once the district tournament begins, a wrestler has to maintain his weight throughout the postseason or be disqualified.
"I plan to do the best I can for the balance of the season and I will wrestle and train hard to try for a state championship, but I have a different attitude than many wrestlers striving for a state title," Pirkl said.
"I wrestle because it is fun. If my parents didn't enjoy seeing the matches so much, I probably wouldn't even wrestle."
Pirkl is also a success in the classroom. He's an honor student with a 3.8 grade point average and has been accepted to South Florida.
On the mat, Pirkl has quick moves for gaining an advantage over his opponents. "He is a great scrambler," Sargable said.
"Once he gets his opponent on the mat, he moves with the flow of the match and is hard to turn over. He seems to be able to scramble out of almost everything."
Pirkl agrees his best moves are on the mat, not on his feet.
"I work well from the top position," he said.
"Most guys prefer the bottom position, because they think it is easier to escape or get a reversal from that position. Once I get control, I don't like to give it up. I train hard at that."