KISSIMMEE — For a third-year program, Zephyrhills Christian Academy has grown up rather quickly. The Warriors, already with two district titles, now have a state champion in John DeAugustino.
A senior transfer from Pasco High, the three-time state qualifier won the 126-pound title in the Class A state championships Saturday at Silver Spurs Arena. DeAugustino edged Lake Highland Prep's Ryan Chauvin 5-4 for his 200th career win. With the Pirates the previous two seasons, he placed second and fourth, respectively.
"I couldn't have done it without the support of the entire school, and my family and friends who have helped me the past few years," DeAugustino said. "Sometimes you've just got to put it all out there."
ZCA nearly had two finalists with heavyweight Malik Jones taking third. The sophomore improved to 11-1 by rallying from a 4-0 deficit to pin Fort Myers Dunbar's Judas McKenzie in one minute, 44 seconds.
"I've been down 8-0, 7-0," Jones said, "you've just got to keep fighting back. I promised my coaches I'd be on the podium this year."
ZCA coach Mike Smith was hardly surprised at his team's early success, especially with the addition of Mark DeAugustino, the longtime Pasco coach and John's father who now is an assistant with the Warriors.
"I just believe we have really good athletic kids and Coach D came in this year to help us with the technical aspects," Smith said.
Tampa Prep and Carrollwood Day also left Kissimmee with state champions. The Terps had two champions among their four finalists while the Patriots won two titles.
For Tampa Prep, Ben Buhler (113 pounds) improved to 37-4 with a 5-4 win over Lake Highland Prep's Jake Wohltman. Teammate Anthony Artalona (49-2, 152 pounds) pinned Arnold's Drew St Amant in 1:54. Brothers Troy Nation and Colin Nation came up short in their finals at 138 and 160, respectively.
Carrollwood Day's Jonathan and Jacob Conrad won their championship matches. At 132, Jonathan defeated Pembroke Pines Somerset Academy's Darian Estevez 5-2 and brother Jacob beat Lake Highland Prep's Max Cosmides 4-0 at 170.
Carrollwood Day's Grayson Fisher took fifth at 145, and Nature Coast's Ashton Harding placed fourth at 195.