LAKELAND — History was made by Brandon at the Lakeland Center on Saturday.
That seemingly has been said or written just about every year around this time, but now it’s for a different reason.
Yes, the Eagles (216.5 points) did win yet another Class 3A state team title, their 12th in a row and 23rd overall.
Yes, they did outscore and overwhelm their next closest opponent, Miami South Dade, by more than 80 points, but that isn’t the historic achievement either.
Two individual wrestlers, who have been wearing Brandon singlets for the past four seasons, became the first athletes in state history to ever win five state titles.
Rossi Bruno (126 pounds) and Clark Glass (160) each started their careers at private schools and were competing against older wrestlers while they were in middle school. Glass won a state title in seventh grade at Tampa Prep, and Bruno did the same as an eighth grader at Tampa Bay Christian.
Now seniors at Brandon, the two wrestlers achieved something that had not been done even once before.
“It’s a great feeling that I really can’t put into words,” Bruno said after receiving his medal. “All the work and the practices that we put in all year fade to the background when you stand up (on that podium).”
Bruno pinned South Dade’s Justin Ramirez to earn his victory and slip into the record books first. Glass won a 16-0 technical fall decision over Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas’ Gio Jeovenetta.
The pressure of the weekend never seemed to bother the friends. In fact, the two made a running joke out of it.
“Clark and I have been teammates for a long time,” Bruno said, “and I always joke with him that you media guys are going to talk about how I am the first five-time champ (because the lighter weight class goes first).”
Joining Bruno and Glass as Brandon champions were Dylan Lucas (106), James Flint (113), Kevin Norstrem (132), Jacob Haydock (170), and Kyle Koziel (182). Norstrem (132) is now a four-time state champion and will have a chance to join Glass and Bruno in his senior campaign next year.
Norstrem’s younger brother, Kyle, an eighth-grader at Tampa Bay Christian, won his first state championship in the Class A 106-pound weight class with a 10-0 major decision over Monsignor Pace’s Ray Moreno.
Armwood’s Donoven Hough broke through a difficult field at 106 pounds in Class 2A for a state title victory over King’s Jacob Wasserman. His 2-1 decision gave Armwood only its second state champion in school history and first since 2007.