Saturday, September 22, 2018

Brandon’s state wrestling dominance ends after 18 years

KISSIMMEE — Brandon saw its national-record streak of 459 consecutive dual-meet victories end in 2008. Now, 10 years later, another long-standing mark has finally run its course.

The Eagles, winners of 18 straight and 27 overall state titles heading into the Class 2A tournament, placed second Saturday at Silver Spurs Arena.

Lake Gibson, which has won two of the past three district titles at Brandon's expense, won after finishing second to Brandon in last season's state series. The Braves had 160.5 points to Brandon's 139.5 on Saturday.

"We've had a great run," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "We set records for other people to try and break, so good luck with that."

Brandon could take solace in its two state champions — Trey Lane and Noah Ridley who each went unbeaten — and six others who cracked the top six to place. That group included: Andreus Bond, second at 145 pounds; Onid Olavarria, fourth at 160; Jose Berdecia, fifth at 106; Tyler Forrest, fifth at 113; Hunter Lefevre, fifth at 126; Alex Rosario, sixth at 132.

RELATED: ZCA's John DeAugustino leads plethora of Class A champs

"I'm proud of this team now," Cozart said. "We have eight place winners and two state champions."

Lane, a junior with a 63-0 record, won his second state title with a 9-5 decision over Alexander Godinez of Hialeah Miami Lakes at 120 pounds.

"(Going unbeaten) means a lot," said Lane, who placed second in last year's state tourney. "Just knowing that I'm the best and I haven't gotten beat all year."

Lane added that he hopes the Eagles can win another state title next season, putting this year's team finish in perspective by saying, "It's sad, but there's obstacles in life. You can't let those set you back."

Ridley capped a perfect 81-0 season with a pin of Tate's Nathan Golmon in 4:31 of the 152-pound class. For Ridley, it marked his fifth state tourney, but first championship.

"I fell short all four years and worked my butt off to finally get a state title," said Ridley, whose previous best was second place as a sophomore. "It feels great."

RELATED: Countryside, Plant land Class 3A champs

Brandon senior Noah Ridley gets a hug from coach Russ Cozart moments after Ridley captured the Class 2A state title at 152 pounds. Ridley finished his senior season with an 81-0 record. (Scott Purks, Special to the Times)
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