Last Saturday, January 31st, the wrestling team hosted their only home event in support of Greco Roman Bouzakis, the little boy who inspired the formation of Team Greco and the start of the annual Live Greco Invitational. Schools from all over the county including Plant, Gaither, Robinson and others showed up to compete for various titles as well as to support Greco and his family.
The idea for Team Greco all began after Greco’s diagnosis of Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) which is an inoperable brain tumor located on the brain stem. Wrestling Coach Paul Noble, having been a long time friend of the Bouzakis family, wanted to do something to show his and the team’s support. Last year, he started the Team Greco campaign at school, selling shirts and even getting one of the football games dedicated to Greco and his family. He told Toni Bouzakis that next year he wanted to put on a wrestling event.
“He said, Toni next year we are going to do wrestling, and when we sat together and discussed that, I was in tears,” said Bouzakis. “I said Paul, it’ll be too late. We are told he’s going to die.”
Thankfully, after being given a 2-11 month guarantee, Greco is currently living right around the 17 month mark with his tumor at a stable status. With all of the support the Bouzakis’s have had, they decided to create a new branch of Team Greco which includes a kid’s duel competition that travels around the country competing in different wrestling tournaments.
“At our first competition at Dixie Nationals last year, we didn’t even have full teams and we didn’t do very good,” said Bouzakis. “This year we took six full teams.” She says its all about teaching the fundamentals of wrestling and making sure the kids have lots of fun.
As for the tournament itself, some standout wrestlers would include Senior Team Captain Zamir Ode and Freshman Juan Bautista. Ode, of the 120 pound weight class, encountered a bloody nose during his first match, but still managed to take down his opponent. Bautista, of the 220 weight class won the top title of the competition taking home the first Live Greco Invitational belt.
The team continues to rally behind Greco and his family, being his biggest fans as he goes through his battle. “We all just want to honor Greco and his family,” said Ode. “We want to assure them that they still have our support.”
Emily Goldbach / Editor-in-Chief
**for more information about Greco and his condition or to donate, be sure to visit www.livegreco.com