Each match could be the end of a season or high school career for 97 Hillsborough County wrestlers competing in Class 3A and 4A regional tournaments and for 27 more in the 2A state tournament this weekend.
Brandon, defending 4A state champion, has the lineup to dominate the Class 4A, Region III tournament at the Eagles' gym. Chamberlain, East Bay, Bloomingdale, King and Gaither should make strong team showings.
Brandon placed 12 wrestlers in the finals of last week's 4A-District 6 meet and nine of them won individual championships. All nine are among the favorites to win at the regionals or at least place in the top four.
Stein Edwards (112), defending state champion Dennis Kitko (119), Darrell Tabor (125), Eric Trout (130), Dereck Tabor (135), Marcel Dinard (152), Mike Reynolds (160), Charles Guyton (189) and Paul Burke (220) won district championships for Brandon.
Hillsborough County should dominate the 160-pound weight with District 5 champ Tim Craig of Bloomingdale, 4A-5 runner-up Roger Castle of Armwood, and Reynolds battling for the belt.
Leto's Thomas White and Brandon's Brandon Robbins will be in another battle that could go all the way to the state finals in the 171-pound weight class. White won the district title 6-5 at the buzzer last week.
Eric Rivera (275) and Darrell Westbrook (140) of East Bay, Lon Passoff (145) of Chamberlain, Guy Rogers (103) of King, and Robert Brown (145) of Armwood are also cotenders for regional titles.
Sarasota and Clearwater Countryside, who have won state championships in recent years, will also have strong contingents in the tournament.
Only Jesuit's James Delossantos (112) and Jefferson's Mondie Richardson (130) won individual championships in the Auburndale-dominated 3A-District 10 matches at Jesuit last week.
The Bloodhounds, hosts for the Class 3A, Region III tournament Friday and Saturday, put 12 into the finals and won 10 titles.
Fort Myers and Auburndale are two of the strongest 3A teams in the state and will battle in the 3A-Region III tournament. Only 23 locals qualified to compete in the field of 224 wrestlers.
Tampa Catholic's Travis DelRosal (112) has a good chance to capture a 2A state championship, as does teammate Boni Tejedor (189), but Berkeley Prep's Al Kaplin (189) and Jon Moore (220) and Tampa Prep's Alec Stall could also place in the top four.
Hillsborough County wrestlers competing in the Class 2A state tournament Friday and Saturday are from Tampa Catholic (TC), Tampa Prep (TP), Berkeley Prep (BP) and Temple Heights (TH).