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Wrestler of the Year: Kevin Norstrem, Sr., Brandon (61-1)
Why we picked him: On his way to a record-tying fifth straight title, Norstrem was defeated only four times in his five-year prep career. Before his difficult loss at a national tournament in Minnesota while he had a minor bout with the flu, the senior had gone without a blemish in a Brandon uniform since his sophomore campaign, bringing his record to 186-1 the past three years. He wrapped up his career with a 12-6 decision over Lyman’s Jayden Semrad in the Class 3A 138-pound final.
Most impressive accomplishment: One season after teammates Rossi Bruno and Clark Glass became the first to accomplish the feat, Norstrem became the third wrestler in the state tournament’s 49-year history with five state titles. His ability to handle almost every opponent in his path with a 290-4 career record led to Norstrem being ranked third in the country by InterMat Wrestling and sixth in the nation by FloWrestling.
Did you know? Competing on the mat since he was 5, Norstrem has been named an All-American numerous times over and won multiple national championships. His most impressive victory may have been the national title he won in Fargo, N.D., at the Junior Greco-Roman Nationals in 2011. According to Amateur Wrestling News, Norstrem, a five-star recruit, was ranked as the fifth-most sought after senior in the country. He committed to Virginia Tech last fall, giving the Hokies one of the top five recruiting classes. He also holds a 5.39 GPA.
106: Geoff Doback, Fr., Brandon, 53-2. In his first season in the Eagles’ lineup, Doback reached the Class 3A final, suffering only his second loss of the season on the biggest stage in 3-1 decision to Kissimmee Osceola’s Ariel Dominguez.
113: Donoven Hough, So., Armwood, 43-3. Already the most decorated Hawks wrestler in program history, Hough has two state titles in his first two varsity seasons. His 7-5 overtime victory over Brandon’s Kyle Norstrem at the Hillsborough County Championships was arguably the match of the tournament.
120: James Flint, Jr., Brandon, 57-2. Flint found out just how difficult making the run for five state titles is. He began his career with a crown in eighth grade at Tampa Bay Christian, then carried it on with two more in his first years as an Eagle. He fell 3-1 to Palm Harbor University’s Jared Prince in the final at state.
126: Dylan Lucas, So., Brandon, 58-1. Like the Norstrem brothers, Lucas has yet to experience anything other than success in Lakeland. The sophomore won his third straight state title with a 17-1 technical fall over South Dade’s Justin Ramirez in the title bout.
132: Victor Fugate, Sr., Brandon, 54-9. The senior enjoyed his first time on the medal stand in Lakeland after earning fourth place in Class 3A. Fugate had to forfeit in the consolation final after suffering a concussion in the semifinals.
138: Joseph Affronti III, Sr., King, 46-9. This senior ran into Kevin Norstrem over and over again this season, but those obstacles hardened Affronti once he got to Lakeland. He came within one win of getting onto the podium in his first trip to the tournament.
145: Troy Joyce, So., Brandon, 52-7. Joyce is one of those wrestlers who found out how big of a change going from Class A to 3A really is. After making the state final as a seventh-grader at Tampa Bay Christian, Joyce got back to the medal stand this season with a fourth-place finish.
152: Dakota Greene, So., Brandon, 52-7. Greene wasn’t in the postseason lineup last year, but making his first trip to state since placing sixth as an eighth grader at Tampa Bay Christian paid off. He cruised to a third-place finish, losing his only match 3-1 to runnerup Aaron Hartman of Palm Harbor University.
160: Jacob Haydock, Sr., Brandon, 65-2. A silver medal after consecutive state titles in Florida and Oklahoma cemented Haydock’s legacy as one of the better wrestlers to come through the Eagles program. Haydock lost 6-5 to Gateway’s Christian Vazquez in the final.
170: Travis Berridge, Sr., Brandon, 62-2. After years as one of the Eagles’ top wrestlers, Berridge broke through for his first state title in his senior campaign, convincingly beating East Bay’s Nissan Anderson by an 11-2 major decision in the final. It was his fourth trip to state, netting a fourth- and a second-place finish before this.
182: Dontae McGee, So., Brandon, 56-9. McGee won two matches at state as an eighth-grader at Admiral Farragut. He wasn’t a member of Brandon’s lineup lsat year, but given the opportunity as a sophomore, he worked his way to a fourth-place finish in Class 3A.
195: Demetrius Hill, Sr., Hillsborough, 40-3. The area’s best chance for a state placer after finishing fifth last year didn’t get his chance. Hill won both district and county titles, but before the first round at regionals, he missed weight, ending his state hopes.
220: Austin Underwood, Jr., Jesuit, 45-2. One season after he barely qualified for regionals with a fourth-place district finish, Underwood went all the way to the Class 2A state final, losing 7-6 to Riverdale’s Edwin Ettiene.
285: Darren Lester, Jr., Brandon, 53-10. Lester won the county title with an 11-2 major decision over Middleton’s Emanuel Rivera. He qualified for his first trip to the Lakeland Center, where he was the only local heavyweight in 3A to win a bout on the mat.
106: Anthony Zucco, Jr., Jesuit, 41-9
113: Kyle Norstrem, Fr., Brandon, 62-2
120: Jacob Wasserman, Sr., King, 50-7
126: Adam Lewis, Fr., Jesuit, 44-2
132: Herminio Camacho, Sr., Lennard, 43-8
138: Kionte Crocker, Jr., Robinson, 40-15
145: Tyler Sierra, Sr., Lennard, 47-8
152: Eric Massey, Sr., Berkeley Prep, 31-6
160: Robert Witte, Sr., Armwood, 38-12
170: Luis Peguero, Sr., Robinson, 50-7
182: Christopher Rodriguez, Sr., Robinson, 44-11
195: Nick Mooney, Jr., Jesuit, 33-4
220: Robert Enmon, So., Brandon, 55-9
285: Robert Mosley, So., Chamberlain, 42-11
Berkeley Prep: Brad Grundy (170); Durant: Austin Haley (126), Keith Watford (182); East Bay: Nissan Anderson (170); Gaither: Nicholas Peshek (113); Hillsborough: Jacob West (113); Jesuit: Max Gallagly (170); Lennard: Miguel Nunez (152); Middleton: Emanuel Rivera (285); Plant City: Lance Dounges (285); Riverview: Tyler Downey (170), Connor Barrick (195); Robinson: Jose Munoz (106), Jeremy Andujar (120), Kendonte Nichols (220); Tampa Prep: Nick Mosco (170); Tampa Bay Christian: Cullen Telfer (106), Anthony Artalona (113), Ty Lucas (120)
Coach of the Year
Russ Cozart, Brandon. Cozart led Brandon to its 24th state title and 13th in a row, and everyone knows that he has more state title rings than he has digits on his fingers and toes. But many don’t see the hard work and year-round dedication that goes into these championships. Last summer, the longtime Brandon coach took three of his wrestlers (Kyle Norstrem, James Flint and Dylan Lucas) all the way to Baku, Azerbaijan, for the FILA World Cadet Greco-Roman Championships. Under his tutelage, Norstrem was one of only a handful of Americans to place, finishing eighth at 110 pounds.