For the second year in a row, the BCAA wrestling championship presents a three-team race — one many expected — after Day 1 Friday at Pompano Beach High School.
St. Thomas Aquinas, the reigning titleholder, leads Cardinal Gibbons by 1.5 points (131 overall) with the hope of capturing its ninth county championship.
The Raiders (18-1) send eight of their 11 wrestlers to the semifinals.
They didn’t field a 220-pounder or heavyweight because, according to coach Rob Wimberly, football players didn’t come out after a long season winning the Class 7A state title.
Last season, Aquinas held just a 2.5-point advantage heading into the final day, but collected a 20.5-point margin over Gibbons by the end of Day 2.
At state, the Raiders finished fourth in Class 3A.
“It’s kind of how we thought it would go,” Wimberly said. “We expect to put eight in the finals. If we do that, we’ll take care of business just like last year.”
In the 113-pound weight class, Alex Uhre looks to become just the second four-time BCAA champion. Another Raider, Guy Gibson, achieved the feat from 2000 to 2003.
Shiquan Hall, who won two titles at South Dade before transferring, could win his fourth county title in the 132 division.
The Chiefs (10-0) also qualified eight semifinalists, including twins Jamal and Jamel Morris. Both remain undefeated on the season.
Jamal, a two-time state champion, competes at 126, and Jamel wrestles at 120. The latter is a two-time county winner. Gibbons placed third in the Class 1A state competition last season.
“County’s is always a good measure of how to make corrections two weeks prior to districts,” Gibbons coach Frank Pettineo said.
“Experimenting with weight classes, trying to get better competition before the meet. It will be a tight race [Saturday].”
But instead of Coral Springs as the third horse in the race like in 2012, South Broward (22-6) trails St. Thomas Aquinas and Cardinal Gibbons by 11.5 and 10 points, respectively, with seven semifinalists.
Allen Held previously coached Hallandale Beach to its lone county victory in 1997, which also took place at Pompano Beach High.
“Our guys came out and wrestled hard and know if they take care of their business everything will fall into place,” Held said. “They believe they have a chance to win a county title, and right now they’re wrestling like they can. Hopefully, we can pull off some magic and beat the teams we’re not supposed to.”
Top-10 team scores: St. Thomas Aquinas 131, Cardinal Gibbons 129.5, South Broward 119.5, Cypress Bay 95, Miramar 84, Everglades 82.5, Coral Springs 82, Cooper City 79.5, Douglas 74, Western 61.
Semifinal match ups – 106: Jonathan Francois (PLA) v. Ross Clark (CG), Randy Garay (HAL) v. Jonah Gomes (STA); 113: Alex Uhre (STA) v. Danny Strent (CB), Joshua Brown (MIR) v. Steven Nogradi (EVG); 120: Jamel Morris (CG) v. Jonathan Baca (FTL), Devon Lira (WES) v. Chase Cruz (DOU); 126: Jamal Morris (CG) v. Caleb Carter (MON), Tuqwan Stone (MIR) v. Sal Guerrerio (STA); 132: Shiquan Hall (STA) v. Javier Gonzalez (CB), Jon Elder (SB) v. Fabian West (COR); 138: Anthony Vazquez (CG) v. Rami Sadek (COR), Quintan Tenner (EVG) v. Alex Lopoushanski (SB); 145: Eddie Pierce (SB) v. Eric Perez (CC), Nick Limpiris (CG) v. Brian Perez (STA); 152: Kris Iglesias (STA) v. Ernie Levy (MIR), Hunter Gatto (CB) v. Kenny Boyd (STR); 160: Jeiko Dasileira (CG) v. Johnny Weiss (STA), Nate Delevoe (SB) v. Randolph Prudhomme (EVG); 170: Gio Jiovenetta (STA) v. Eugene Kinchen (MIR), George Poole (CS) v. Tevin Medina (SB); 182: Romario Anderson (CS) v. Trevor Martin (CG), Aris Knight (ELY) v. Alex Sinor (SB); 195: Jonathan McNamara (CB) v. Ryan Thomas (CG), Stephan Wilson (DIL) v. Jordan Sanchez (CC); 220: Michael Marshall (NOV) v. Jamal Minnis (PIP), Nick Wade (CS) v. Malique Johnson (PLA); 285: Kevin Jacques (SB) v. Michael Jean-Baskin (ELY), Carlby Mendes (EVG) v. Dylan Seidle (CB).