KISSIMMEE — Perennial state contender Brandon is gearing up for what could be a 20th state crown, but first things first. Having already won county and district championships in recent weeks, the Eagles claimed the Class 3A, Region 2 title Saturday.
That gave the Eagles 22 straight region championships and 30 overall. Brandon finished with 318 points, well ahead of host Kissimmee Osceola's 172.5.
"Things are going right down to the end and looking good," said Brandon coach Russ Cozart, whose team qualified 14 wrestlers for state.
The Eagles had nine champions — Devan Berrian (103 pounds), James Flint (112), Victor Fugate (119), Kevin Norstrem (125), Tyler Liveratore (135), Clark Glass (152), Wally Figaro (160), Kyle Koziel (171) and Mike Ettore (189).
The top four in each weight class advance to the state meet that begins Friday at Lakeland.
Palm Harbor University's Aaron Hartman defeated Brandon's two-time state champion Rossi Bruno in the 130-pound semifinals. Bruno won his consolation final to advance.
Bloomingdale had two finalists, Skip Reagor lost his 135-pound final, and Kenny Rach lost his 189 final by pin.
Chamberlain had one finalist in Audrick Barr (125).
2A-3: Durant fourth
PUNTA GORDA — With a pair of individual finals runnersup, Durant placed fourth at the Class 2A, Region 3 tournament at Charlotte High. Riverdale repeated as champion with 202.5 points, followed by the host Tarpons (155.5).
Junior Chase Haley (119 pounds) and sophomore Keith Watford (160) both claimed second. Senior Gilbert Stokes also qualified for Lakeland with a fourth-place finish at 171.
"I was hoping to get five or six, honestly," said Durant coach Dennis Kitko, who pointed out that all three are first-time qualifiers.
Hillsborough junior Ben Richards also reached the finals but placed second.
A-3: Jesuit takes third
Jesuit had two region runnersup and qualified four wrestlers for state overall while placing third at the Class A, Region 3 meet at Bradenton Southeast.
Anthony Cimino (152) and Kyle Walker (160) were second as Jesuit (90.5 points) finished behind winner Northside Christian (147.5) and South Fort Myers (131).
Eric McKinney, Special to the Times