GRAPPLING WITH SUCCESS
An Impressive 137 Area Wrestlers Head To Lakeland
By LARRY BLUSTEIN | Senior Analyst
By now, St. Thomas Aquinas head wrestling coach Robert Wimberly knows the drill.
Win the County tournament, run away in the district and region events and then head to the Class 3A state tournament with plenty of hope and optimism – mixed in with a dose of reality.
If the Raiders are to follow up last weekend’s dominating performance, when they head to the Lakeland Center on Friday and Saturday for the state championships, they will have to accomplish it against a program that has dominated wrestling in Florida – and has run off streaks that no other high school team in any other sport – has ever come close to.
No matter how well St. Thomas will wrestle this weekend – with some quality competitors up and down the lineup – the reality is that Brandon will have more wrestlers in the semifinals and finals to overcome such an obstacle. Brandon has won 23 state titles and has recorded more individual champions than anyone – and it’s not even close.
“The only thing I can ask of my team is go out and do what they have done all year,” Wimberly said. “We cannot worry about what Brandon does. We can only control what we can control.”
St. Thomas leads a contingent of 137 wrestlers from Miami-Dade and Broward Counties who are ready to put on a show.
The Raiders figure to score plenty of points with standouts such as 113-pounder Alex Uhre, Two-time state champion Shiquan Hall (132-pounds), Kris Iglesias (152) and Johnny Weiss (160).
HOMESTEAD IS A REAL FORCE
There are so many tremendous programs across the state that has quality wrestlers. After last weekend, you can add a team that will have a huge shot this weekend in Lakeland.
The Broncos took the lead from the first day of the 2A regional at Stuart Martin County High and never looked back. They captured the region and will be a huge favorite to be in the mix this week for the team title.
Among the Homestead wrestlers to keep an eye on include Olsen Delisca (106), Ripoli O’Connor (138), Keith Simmons (182), Desmond Richardson (195) and Anthony Wint (220).
GIBBONS AIMS TOWARD STATE CROWN
The one thing that Cardinal Gibbons doesn’t need is the formula to win a state championship. Head coach Frank Pettineo and his team understands what it takes to bring home yet another Class 1A state crown, and with 11 wrestlers headed to Lakeland, this is certainly a team to keep an eye on.
With last weekend’s quality region title, which this program annually earns, the Chiefs are certainly one of the teams that have a very good chance to win yet another state title.
“We came out last week and just put it all together,” said Pettineo. “Now, we have to maintain the intensity and focus that helped us win yet another regional.”
In addition to defending state champion Jamal Morris (126), the Chiefs also feature Anthony Vasquez (132) among others who took home regional titles.
Headed to Lakeland? If not, check the FHSAA.org website for live updates.
SOUTH FLORIDIANS HEADED TO STATE
Matias Caceres (Ferguson).
Ross Clark (Cardinal Gibbons).
Olsen Delisca (Homestead).
Jonathan Francois (Plantation).
Randy Garay, Hallandale).
Mike Gibson (Coral Springs).
Radley Gillis (Archbishop McCarthy).
Brandon Gonsalves (South Dade).
Joseph Lopez (Sommerset).
Zach Sherman (Plantation American Heritage).
Nicholas Villamil (Braddock).
Erik Zorilla (Southwest Miami).
Joshua Brown (Miramar).
Dominick Gibson (Cardinal Gibbons).
Jake Gillis (Archbishop McCarthy).
Maher Jaser (Mourning).
Steven Nogradi (Everglades).
Joseph Padron (Plantation American Heritage).
Danny Strent (Cypress Bay).
Alex Uhre (St. Thomas).
Franco Valdes (Sommerset).
Gustavo Villamil (Braddock).
Maleek Williams (South Dade).
Wilmer Almandarez (Hialeah Gardens Mater).
Vic Blasucci (Sommerset).
Jonah Gomes (St. Thomas).
Alexander Lesesne (Miramar).
Christopher Moreno (Doral Academy).
Jamel Morris (Cardinal Gibbons).
Brady Moser (Plantation American Heritage).
Luc Pollard (N. Miami Beach).
Joseph Shwihy (Flanagan).
David Temple (Palmetto).
Grayson Whipp (Monarch).
Alexander Brooks (Palmetto).
Caleb Carter (Monarch).
Yancarlos Guerra (Hialeah Gardens Mater).
Sal Guerrerio (St. Thomas).
Jamal Morris (Cardinal Gibbons).
Learch Oremar (N. Miami Beach).
Alexander Perez (Monsignor Pace).
Christian Perez (Doral Academy).
Daniel Preciado (Miami Springs).
Justin Ramirez (South Dade).
Tyler Sage (Cypress Bay).
Tuquan Stone (Miramar).
Joe Alvarez (Braddock).
David Colatori (Chaminade-Madonna).
Joe Haan (Sommerset).
Shiquan Hall (St. Thomas).
Nicholas James (Plantation American Heritage).
Patrico Lugo III (South Dade).
Damien Penichet (Columbus).
Nosomy Pozo (Southwest Miami).
Anthony Vasquez (Cardinal Gibbons)
Nick Abanosa (St. Thomas)
Devonta Bohannon (Homestead).
Erich Bylick (Calvary Christian Academy).
Isaiah Crosby (South Dade).
Danny Garcia (Doral Academy).
James Medal (Miami Springs).
Geoffry Nicholas (Braddock).
Scott Pomare (Archbishop Curley).
Robert Powell (Columbus).
Rami Sadek (Coral Glades).
Wayne Tarpley (Miami High).
Johntavious Broner (Homestead).
Alex Duran (Miami Springs).
Jose Felipe (Braddock).
Drayvan Golden (Miami Edison).
Ritchie Guillaume (N. Miami Beach).
Daniel Harth (Columbus).
Nick Limperis (Cardinal Gibbons).
Brian Perez (St. Thomas).
Eddie Pierce (South Broward).
Chase Singletary (Somerset).
Kenny Boyd (Stranahan).
Nicholas Chavez (Sommerset).
Sonny Gulesian (Columbus).
Kris Iglesias (St. Thomas).
Barry Jones (Cooper City).
Ernie Levy (Miramar).
Matthew Rodriguez-Kirk (N. Miami Beach).
Travon Norman (Homestead).
Ale Smith (Monsignor Pace).
Rodney Thomas (Cardinal Gibbons).
Sebastian Calderon (Braddock.
Jeiko Dasilviera (Cardinal Gibbons).
Nathan Delevoe (S. Broward).
Marvyns Joseph (N. Miami Beach).
Ripoli O’Connor (Homestead).
Ben Sinbela (Western).
Colin Tucker (Nova).
Johnny Weiss (St. Thomas).
Edney Alvarez (Southwest Miami).
Jose Fernandez (Florida Christian).
Diego Garcia (Columbus).
Gio Jeovenetta (St. Thomas).
David Phanor (North Miami).
Antonio Sannasardo (Cardinal Gibbons).
Dalvin Solomon (Piper).
Courtney Stubbs (N. Miami Beach).
Romario Anderson (Coral Springs).
Cynard Bailey (Northwestern).
Jean Concepcion (South Miami).
Charles Decca (Palmetto).
Adam Hude (Coral Springs Charter).
Aris Knight (Blanche Ely).
George Knowles (Braddock).
Joseph Morales (Mourning).
Matthew Poirer (Calvary Christian Academy).
Lazaro Segura (Southwest Miami).
Keith Simmons (Homestead).
Raul Vargas (Taravella).
Tirso Batista (N. Miami Beach).
Marquis Brown (Miami Jackson).
Henry Haynes (South Dade).
Jonathan McNamara (Cypress Bay).
Desmond Richardson (Homestead).
Adolfo Sanchez (Southwest Miami).
Jordan Sanchez (Cooper City).
Ryan Thomas (Cardinal Gibbons).
Diego Bell (Cardinal Gibbons).
Steven Decius (N. Miami Beach).
Juan Herrera (Southwest Miami)
Michael Marshall (Nova).
Jamal Minnis (Piper).
Daniel Perez (Columbus).
Kenneth Rosa (Coral Springs Charter).
Nicholas Wethy (Columbus).
Anthony Wint (Homestead).
Michael Jean-Baskin (Blanche Ely).
Keyon Burgess (Central).
Cornell Gilmore (Palmetto).
Jordan Ingraham (Booker T. Washington).
Kevin Jacques (South Broward).
Daniel Leon (N. Miami Beach).
Matthew Lynch (Westminster Christian).
Dylan Seidle (Cypress Bay).
Sterling Shippy (Coral Reef).
Have something to add to this Blog? Drop Larry Blustein a note at Floridakids1@aol.com.