GULFPORT — One match has fueled Boca Ciega’s De’Jhaun Monroe to take the 103-pound weight class by storm this season.
That match still eats at him — and he wasn’t even part of the bout.
Monroe’s older brother, Dejour, wrestled last season for the Pirates in the 112-pound class, compiling a 36-7 record going into regionals and capturing the first individual district title for Boca Ciega since 2007.
A promising run at state seemed in the works, but Dejour’s season ended 30 seconds away from a trip to Lakeland when he fell in the Class 2A, Region 3 championships at Charlotte. The loss inspired his younger brother to work even harder.
“I’m always trying to do better for my brother,” Monroe said.
“He worked real hard trying to make it to states last season, but I’m going to have to make it for him. I tell him all the time when he’s home from college I’ll get there.”
The family’s bloodlines are rooted in the sport. Monroe’s father, Cory, is a volunteer assistant with the Pirates and also wrestled for Boca Ciega.
Coach Tobey Alvarez knows expectations are high on Monroe, but is not shy about saying that the 5-foot-7 junior is already further along than his brother.
“He’s more advanced than Dejour was at this point,” Alvarez said. “…What impresses me about him is his ability to learn and execute. He’s also got that, ‘You did good, but I can do it better’ attitude about him.”
The medical magnet student is ranked 14th in Class 2A in the 103 class and has a 16-2 record. He has his sights set on going 8-0 at the Southside Duals this weekend.
But that’s no bold prediction.
It’s just another step at claiming redemption for his family and possibly setting a mark for another Pirate to chase one day.
14th annual Southside Duals
When/where: Friday, weigh-ins, noon; first round, 1:30 p.m. Saturday, restart, 10 a.m.; finals, 5 p.m. at Boca Ciega
Teams: Boca Ciega, Dixie Hollins, East Lake, Gibbs, Golden Gate, Labelle, Lakewood, Largo, Lely, Palmetto Ridge, St. Petersburg, Tarpon Springs
2009 champion: Palmetto Ridge
Skinny: Palmetto Ridge is looking strong again. But don’t overlook Largo, which is ranked No. 15 in Class 2A according to Scout.com. In the 103-pound class, a matchup between Dixie Hollins’ Tyler Sunseri and Boca Ciega’s De’Jhaun Monroe should be interesting. Both are possible state contenders come February.
The favorites: Tyler Sunseri (103), Dixie Hollins; Benny Ison (112), Palmetto Ridge; Cole Hardman (119), Lakewood; Dana Harrington (125), Dixie Hollins; Guillermo Moreno (130), Lely; Clarence Longley (135), Largo; Cody McKinnon (140), Largo; Josh Jeffries (145), Largo; Daveson Cyceron (152), Lely; Adrian Howell (160), Largo; Kenny Price (171), Lakewood; David Vogheny (189), Largo; Cole Wright (215), Palmetto Ridge; Anthony Steadley (285), Palmetto Ridge