LAKELAND — With a 25th team title and 14th championship in a row all but clinched for Brandon, the focus has turned to individual accolades for the dominant Eagles.
A tournament-high 10 wrestlers clinched semifinal berths in Class 2A for Brandon (101.5 points), led by Dylan Lucas (132 pounds).
"The big thing is that they (the wrestlers) want it more than you (as the coach)," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "They want to be in that championship match."
Lucas is looking fourth individual title, only one from a record held by former teammates Rossi Bruno, Clark Glass and Kevin Norstrem. The junior is 64-0 this season and the odds-on favorite to capture a fourth crown.
Brandon senior James Flint (126) might be in store for a fourth title as well if he maintains his dominance. With three titles already to his credit, Flint (30-0) looks to avenge a runnerup finish last year that stopped him from the five-title pace.
Kyle Norstrem (113), Frank Bruno (106) and Dontae McGee (170) are also favorites to stand atop the podium tonight with gold around their necks. Norstrem is 67-0 with two state titles under his belt as a sophomore; Bruno (48-0), also a sophomore, has yet to taste state gold. McGee (55-0) looks for his first state title as a junior after finishing fourth last year.
Other Eagles advancing to the semifinals were Ty Lucas (120), Devan Berrian (138), Troy Joyce (145), Dakota Greene (160), and Joe Marcano (182).
Jesuit is putting forth a strong performance for the second straight year. The Tigers had five semifinal qualifiers including Jarrett Roop (106), R.C. Consuegra (126), Adam Lewis (138), Nick Mosco (195) and Austin Underwood (285).
Lewis was the 2A runnerup at 126 pounds last year, and Mosco, wrestling for Tampa Prep last year, was the 170-pound state runner-up in Class A. Underwood was the runner-up at 220 for the Tigers last year as well.
Tampa Prep is staging solid run in Class A. Donoven Hough (126), a state champ for Armwood last year at 113 pounds, has led the Terrapins. Joining him will be Anthony Artalona (120) and Leo Tarantino (138).
Robinson's Luis Peguero (182), who won the 170-pound title in Class A last year, is back in the semifinals. Tampa Bay HEAT competitors Cullen Telfer (106) and Noah Ridley (113) will also compete today for a state title.
Pinellas has 15 alive: Pinellas County had 15 competitors with a shot at individual state titles, headlined by defending champion Jared Prince (120 pounds), the Palm Harbor University junior who took gold in the same weight class a year ago. Prince and his brother Connor (126) are both undefeated at 64-0 and 63-0, respectively. Undefeated Dixie Hollins heavyweight Andre Matthews, Seminole's Anthony Parisi (138) and Dunedin's Anthony Dampier (170) are among the other Pinellas semifinalists.