It happens every year – Miami-Dade and Broward show that there are few areas in the state that can match the talent that these two counties produce.
As the state championships take place Friday and Saturday at the Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, a number of teams and competitors from this hotbed of wrestling talent will compete for that coveted state title.
Several performers from last year return to defend their state titles, but there is no guarantee, especially when there is this much talent.
Each season, over 600 teams and countless wrestlers aim for that title. This year, South Florida will send 120 athletes to continue the dominance they have established since the sport began in the 1960’s.
As South Dade looks to continue its reign as one of the elite programs, there were some tremendous wrestlers who spent the past four months traveling across the state and nation showcasing their many skills.
The event always draws a crowd – and this year will be no exception.
Veteran head coach Vic Balmeceda knows the feeling well. Being the favorite going into the state championships, his Bucs rolled through another region and certainly figures to be the team standing on the podium once again.
Two-time defending region champion St. Thomas Aquinas, Miami Southridge and Southwest Miami will have some competitors, but not enough to take the team title.
PREDICTED STATE CHAMPS: South Dade
As South Broward made a push in the region, coming up with two individual champions, the Bulldogs will be no match for nationally rated Brandon or Lakeland’s Lake Gibson, both of whom have more placers and will figure to battle it out for the team title. Miami Norland and Stranahan will also score some points
PREDICTED STATE CHAMPS: Brandon.
As Orlando’s Lake Highland Prep figures to be the team to beat once again, Cardinal Gibbons is fresh off another region title, just beating out Somerset Academy. Those two programs will make a push, but will have to put things into gear to push the Highlanders. Coral Springs Charter, Mater Lakes, Miami Jackson and Calvary Christian also will have some athletes to score points.
PREDICTED STATE CHAMPS: Lake Highland Prep.
HEADED TO STATE:
106 Pounds: Chase Gillis, Archbishop McCarthy, 8th; Santiago Portilla, Cypress Bay, Jr.; Bretli Reyna, South Dade, Fr.; Justin Valdes, Christopher Columbus, So.; Anthony Valverde, South Broward, Sr.; Jorge Vazquez, Southwest Miami, Fr.; and John James Yancy, Cardinal Gibbons, Fr.
113 Pounds: Ryan Boncamper, Miami Killian, Sr.; Alek Chitty, Coral Springs, Charter, 8th; Darian Estevez, Somerset Academy, 8th; Julian Hernandez, Southwest Miami, So.; Jed Huercamp, Cardinal Gibbons, So.; Charlie Huffman, Christopher Columbus, Raiden Johnson, Coral Springs, So.; Donovan Ortiz, St. Thomas Aquinas, So.; Michael Sarron, Coconut Creek, So.; Andrew Valverde, South Broward, Sr. and Elijah Varona, South Dade, Sr.
120 Pounds: Omar Armengol, Mater Lakes, So.; Steve Erched, Douglas, So,; Daishaun Felton, Miami Beach, Jr.; Alexander Godinez, Hialeah Miami Lakes; Luis Hernandez, Braddock, Jr.; Tyler Orta-Khwaly, South Dade, So.; Zach Luis, Southwest Miami, Jr.; Dylan Mira, Doral Academy, 8th; Brandon Moreau, Cardinal Gibbons, So.; Stephen Moreno, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr. and Lucas Willis, Archbishop McCarthy, 8th.
126 Pounds: Marcus Abreu, Coral Park, Sr.; Hector Candelario, Somerset Academy, Jr.; Niko Chitty, Coral Glades, So.; Gianni Guerreirio, St. Thomas Aquinas, So.; Giovanni Martinez, Hialeah Gardens, Sr.; David Mompoint, North Miami, Sr.; Devon Smith, Mater Lakes, Sr.; Derrod Walker, Monsignor Pace, Sr.;
132 Pounds: Allen Bryant, Cardinal Gibbons, So.; Jose Fuertes, Cypress Bay, Sr.; Alexander Lopez, Southridge, Jr.; Alyis Mursuli, Southridge, Jr.; Vinny Sessa, St. Thomas Aquinas, Jr.; Anthony Temes, Somerset Academy, Jr. and Alex Urquiza, Southwest Miami, Jr.
138 Pounds: Grant Aranoff, St. Thomas Aquinas, Jr.; Kahris Blackman, Central, Sr.; Alejandro Estrada, Mater Lakes, Sr.; Joey Lopez, Cardinal Gibbons, Sr.; Alberto Mendoza, Southridge, Sr.; Joel Ramirez, South Dade, Sr.; Ahmed Saleh, West Broward, Sr. and Franco Valdes, Southwest Miami, Sr.
145 Pounds: Brevin Balmeceda, South Dade, Fr.; Amadeus Concepcion, Cardinal Gibbons, Sr.; Liam Jones, Cooper City, Sr.; Johnny Lovett, Southridge, Jr.; David Sastre, Miami Sunset; Jordan Taylor, Coral Springs Charter, Jr.; Daniel Valledor, Somerset Academy, Jr. and Cardeionte Wilson, Miami Palmetto, Jr.
152 Pounds: Vinnie Blasucci, Somerset Academy, Sr.; Adonis Concepcion, Cardinal Gibbons, Jr.; Mike Fernandez, Christopher Columbus, Jr.; Connor Jones, Cooper City, Sr.; Antony Kinsey, Southridge, Sr.; Bryce Marcus, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr.; Nestor Nunez, Mater Lakes, So.; Todd Perry, South Dade, So. and Danny Perez, Miami Sunset.
160 Pounds: Mikaelle Fundora, South Dade, Jr.; Jahmahr Hyacinthe, Davie Nova, Sr.; Guervens Jean, Miami High, Sr.; Osvani Ley, Cardinal Gibbons, Jr.; Najat Morgan, Miami Beach, Sr.; Alex Rodriguez, Miami Springs, Sr.; Augustin Smith, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr. and Juan Vernaza, Somerset Academy, Sr.
170 Pounds: Noah Anderson, Monarch, Sr.; Nick Benton, Somerset, Fr.; Angel Delcueto, Southwest Miami, Sr.; Anthony Machado, Miami Westminster Christian, Sr.; Richard Mayol, Ronald Reagan, Sr.; Adrian Perez, Miami Beach, Sr. and Luis Rios, Southridge, Sr.
182 Pounds: Sammy Bencid, Coral Park, So.; Jorge Benitez, Southwest Miami, Sr.; Smiley Campbell, Coral Springs, Sr.; Raul Gierbolini, Somerset Academy, Sr.; Cole Harvey, South Dade, Jr.; Jordan Johnson, Plantation American Heritage, Jr.; Michael Lopouchanski, Cardinal Gibbons, Sr. and Leonard Wooten, Southridge, Jr.
195 Pounds: Denzel Addison, Miami Norland, Jr.; Gustavo Atencio, Everglades, Sr.; Gabriel Barrocas, Ronald Reagan, Sr.; Andrew Bradley, Monsignor Pace, Sr.; Carmine D’ascoli, Christopher Columbus, So.; Josiah Gittman, St. Thomas Aquinas, Sr.; Daniel Miranda, Somerset Academy, Fr.; Jordan Moltimer, Coral Springs Charter, Jr.; Marshall Sweet, Killian, Sr.; Devonte Wellons, Northwestern, Sr. and Christopher Williams, Cardinal Gibbons, Sr.
220 Pounds: Reese Auclair, Fort Lauderdale, Sr.; Ronald Dimpflmaier, Taravella, Jr.; Chei Hill, South Dade, Sr,; Giovanny Mentor, Killian, Sr.; Michael Mireles, Southwest Miami, Sr.; Rafael Rodriguez, Coral Springs Charter, Sr.; Joseph Schultz, Belen Jesuit, Jr.; Cole Schwartzberg, Mater Lakes, Jr.; Matthew Torribio, Cypress Bay, Jr. and Shanoyd Whyte, Dillard, So.
285 Pounds: Brandon Bodden, Miami Jackson, Sr.; Deandre Carr, Stranahan, Sr.; Adam Fox, Cardinal Gibbons, Sr.; Trayvonne Jackson, Killian, Jr.; Robert Perez, Christopher Columbus, Sr.; Jaafari Stephens, Coral Gables. Jr.; Kyron Taylor, South Dade, Sr. and Sumandre Valier, Miami Edison, Sr.