Wrestler of the Year: James Flint, Sr., Brandon
Why we picked him: Having already earned three state titles and coming off last year’s disappointing state final loss, Flint had plenty of incentive to close out his high school career with a fourth state championship. Then came a torn meniscus in his left knee and that dream was all but over, right? Not really. A six-week layoff resulted in fewer matches, but Flint bounced back to cap an undefeated season (33-0) in the 126-pound. His title helped Brandon win another team crown.
Most impressive accomplishments: First of all, Flint had to rehab his knee and push himself in practice, knowing he had less than half a season to regain his spot on a team that simply never loses and continues to set individual and team records. Winning in the Graves and Ippolito tournaments preceded victories at the county, district and region levels. In the Class 2A state final, Flint capped a stellar high school career with a 5-0 win over Lake Gibson’s Sa’derian Perry.
Did you know? Brandon teammate Dylan Lucas and Flint were youth football teammates for the Brandon Cowboys and Lucas, who missed a playoff game for a club wrestling tournament, convinced his friend to come out for wrestling. The pair have wrestled each other in practice for years, and Flint was wrestling Lucas when he got hurt during the preseason. When Flint came back from his injury, the two resumed their practice regimen.
Up next: Flint has signed with Lindsey Wilson, an NAIA school in Kentucky.
Coach of the Year
Russ Cozart, Brandon. “The Streak” aside, Brandon just keeps turning out one state champion after another. The Eagles broke their own state record with 270.5 points in the Class 2A finals en route to their 25th state title and 14th in a row. For Cozart, it’s all about character, making his wrestlers aware of the school’s tradition and starting them young in his club wrestling program.
106: Frankie Bruno, So., Brandon, 51-0. Following in his brother’s footsteps — 2013 graduate Rossi is one of three Brandon wrestlers with five state titles — Bruno capped a perfect season with a state championship.
113: Kyle Norstrem, So., Brandon, 70-0. Another Brandon wrestler whose big brother (2013 graduate Kevin) won five state titles. Norstrem now has three to go along with his first undefeated season.
120: Anthony Artalona, 8th, Tampa Prep, 42-6. One of two county wrestlers not from Brandon to win a state title, the eighth-grader swept through states at 4-0.
126: Donoven Hough, Jr., Tampa Prep, 42-4. A two-time state champion, Hough came up just shy of a third with a close 4-3 loss in the Class A final.
132: Dylan Lucas, Jr., Brandon, 67-0. One of five Brandon wrestlers to go unbeaten, he won his fourth state title this year.
138: Devan Berrian, Sr., Brandon, 70-2. Came close to joining five teammates with state titles and unbeaten records, but still made states a third time and left with his first championship.
145: Troy Joyce, Jr., Brandon, 68-4. One of seven finalists for the Eagles, Joyce was a state runnerup and helped his team break its state record with 270.5 points.
152: Brian Buser, So., Jesuit, 51-8. One of the Tigers’ outstanding underclassmen who helped his team win a third straight district title and finish as the Class 2A runnerup.
160: Dakota Greene, Jr., Brandon, 69-1. Came within one match of being Brandon’s sixth undefeated state champion, but finally got his title on his third try.
170: Dontae McGee, Jr., Brandon, 58-0. One of five Brandon wrestlers with a perfect season who got his state title after finishing fourth last season in his state debut.
182: Luis Peguero, Sr., Robinson, 48-1. A defending state champion who lost in the state final, Peguero was the state winner of the Russ Mauger Award for sportsmanship and leadership.
195: Nick Mosco, Fr., Jesuit, 31-4. Mosco came within an overtime defeat of his first state title. He was state runnerup a second straight year.
220: Robert Enmon, Jr., Brandon, 67-3. Just another Eagle who helped set a state record for team points by placing third in his division.
285: Austin Underwood, Sr., Jesuit, 35-0. One of three Jesuit wrestlers in the state finals and the team’s lone champion.
106: Jarrett Roop, Fr., Jesuit, 30-14
113: Anthony Zucco, Sr., Jesuit, 30-14
120: Ty Lucas, Fr., Brandon, 46-4
126: R.C. Consuegra, Jr., Jesuit, 48-13
132: Landon Carter, Jr., Tampa Prep, 34-18
138: Adam Lewis, So., Jesuit, 37-5
145: Chris Moore, Jr., King, 53-14
152: Tommy Fretwell, Jr., Brandon, 52-12
160: Marc Iurato, Sr., Jesuit, 38-13
170: Charles Watts, Sr., Blake, 40-14
182: Joe Marcano, Fr., Brandon, 55-14
195: Brad Grundy, So., Berkeley Prep, 24-8
220: Kendonte Nichols, Sr., Robinson, 46-9
285: Robert Mosley, Jr., Chamberlain, 53-7
Alonso: Nathan Brantley (285); Armwood: Kyre Kelly (106); Brandon: Bailey Shepherd (195); Chamberlain: Triston Howe (152); Citrus Park Christian: Bradley Bolesta (160); Durant: Austin Haley (120); Gaither: Nick Peschek (120); Jesuit: John Mooney (182); King: Marcus Mosley (126); Lennard: Evan Ratliff; Riverview: Kizhan Clarke (120), Connor Barrick (195); Robinson: Kionte Crocker (145); Sickles: Andrew Martin (152); Tampa Bay Heat: Cullen Tefler (106), Noah Ridley (113); Tampa Prep: Aaron Mills (106), Leo Tarantino (138)