By Stephen Spiewak
Brandon High School (Fla.) is known for wrestling and its 459-match winning streak, which spanned nearly four decades before it came to an end last year.
In the midst of arguably high school sports' most impressive streak was an astounding personal feat by one of the Eagles' most feared wrestlers, Eric Grajales.
After logging undefeated seasons and capturing state championship medals at 103 pounds, 112 pounds and 130 pounds in his first three high school seasons, respectively, Grajales polished off a flawless prep career by capturing a state title in the 135-pound weight class Saturday night.
Grajales, who many consider the nation's top wrestler in his weight class, will graduate from Brandon owning a career record of 218-0 and four state titles. He has accepted a full scholarship to wrestle next fall for the University of Michigan.
"He's just been like a little Tasmanian Devil," Brandon head coach Russ Cozart told TampaBay.com. "He just gets in there and he tears people up."
Seeking to dictate the style and tempo of matches, Grajales has imposed his will on opponents since he first stepped onto the mat as a freshman.
"I like to make people wrestle the way I like to wrestle," Grajales told TampaBay.com. "So regardless of how they're used to it, I'm going to bring them into how I like it."
Grajales is hardwired for Brandon wrestling. His father, Cesar Sr., was a member of the Eagles' 1982 team, helping Cozart capture his first state title. His brother, Cesar Jr., also won four state titles for Brandon, suffering only two losses in his career, both at the hands of out-of-state opponents.
His unsurpassed dominance over the last four years has some people wondering if Grajales is perhaps the best Tampa Bay area high school athlete in history.
"Think about it," wrote John. C Cotey and Joey Knight. "A 218-0 career record and four state titles (garnished nicely by four district and region crowns) in four years. How can anyone top that?"
Grajales' career may be even more impressive than that of former Brandon wrestler David Craig, who was selected "Wrestler of the Streak" after going undefeated and capturing four state titles from 2003-2006.
According to Cotey and Knight, the major difference is that Craig wrestled in 184 matches, 34 fewer matches than Grajales.
Though Grajales is prepared to launch another successful wrestling stint at the University of Michigan, his end goal has an even greater scope.
"I hope to win NCAA's multiple times," Grajales said. "Then after that, there's the World Championships, and the Olympics."
MORE: Guide to wrestling championships in each state