LAKELAND — Brandon wrestlers cruised to their 13th consecutive state team championship, and their 24th overall, led by the record-tying performance of Eagles senior Kevin Norstrem.
Norstrem (138 pounds) scored a 12-6 decision over Lyman’s Jayden Semrad to capture his fifth individual title at the Class 3A meet Saturday. The accomplishment ties the Virginia Tech commitment with former teammates Rossi Bruno and Clark Glass for the most state gold medals in history. He wrestled varsity as an eighth-grader.
“I trained very hard to win (this match),” Norstrem said. “The pressure is off a little bit, but I can’t get complacent. This is a building block to what I have to do in the future.”
Coincidentally, because brother Kyle Norstrem (113) and teammate Dylan Lucas (126) won their championship matches before him, the Eagles standout became the 100th individual state champion in school history, by far the record in state annals.
Brandon senior Travis Berridge (170) finally captured his first state crown, an 11-2 decision over East Bay’s Nisson Anderson.
“I was not going to lose in the state final,” Berridge said. “After having my brother (Zaq) and father wrestle (for Brandon), this really couldn’t be a better finish. All of my family (is) in the stands to see this.”
When the day was over, the Eagles (251 points) had easily outpaced runnerup Kissimmee Osceola (163.5) for the state team crown.
No other program topped 100 points in Class 3A, but for the expectation-driven Eagles, their four individual champions was the lowest total for the team since 2008, when they also had four.
Jeff Doback (106), James Flint (120) and Jacob Haydock (160) all fell short of their goals with losses in the finals.
Armwood’s Donoven Hough, who won the state title at 106 pounds last season, repeated with a championship at 113 this season in Class 2A. Hough is the first two-time champion for the Hawks after scoring 3-2 decision over Columbia’s Cole Schreiber.
Robinson’s Luis Peguero (170) also emerged with a Class A title after defeating another Hillsborough County standout, Tampa Prep’s Nick Mosco, 3-1 in the finals. The victory was the Knights’ first since David Mitchell won the lone gold for the program in 1974.
Other locals to reach individual finals were Jesuit’s Austin Underwood (220) and Adam Lewis (126). Underwood lost 7-6 to Riverdale’s Edwin Etienne when a takedown was waived off at the buzzer. The Tigers (48 points) finished sixth in Class 2A despite not having an individual champion.