Even without one of its best wrestlers, and only able to muster one individual champion, South Dade found a way to keep its GMAC dominance going.
Highlighted by Justin Ramirez’s pinfall victory at 126 pounds, the Bucs finished at the top of the standings of a closely contested GMAC championship tournament Friday night at Hialeah Gardens.
Columbus and North Miami Beach, who finished second and third respectively, finished with four individual champions.
But South Dade showed off its depth by earning numerous points in the wrestleback rounds to win its third GMAC title in a row. Ramirez pinned North Miami Beach’s Lerch Omar in 5:14 to lead the Bucs, who were without Maleek Williams, a defending GMAC champ at 113 pounds. Williams suffered an asthma attack prior to Thursday’s opening round and did not make weight.
“We’re banged up and we have some injuries,” South Dade coach Victor Balmaceda said. “The guys wrestled through it, and they had the belief to keep our tradition going.”
Columbus, which finished only 21 points behind South Dade, was hoping to earn its first GMAC title. But the Explorers left with some notable accomplishments.
Nick Wethy won his second consecutive GMAC crown defeating Homestead’s Demond Richardson at 220 pounds in a 6-0 decision.
Henry Powell scored a tough 4-2 win over South Dade’s Isaiah Crosby to win at 138 and Dan Harth won the 145-pound title with a 6-2 win over Miami Springs’ Alex Duran.
“We have about five kids that are performing really strong for us and lot of young kids that, if they would have had a little better performance, would have put us over the top,” Columbus coach Jim Husk said.
The most satisfying win for any of the Explorers came at 152 pounds when Sonny Gulesian beat North Miami Beach’s Ritchie Guillaume 4-2 in overtime. Gulesian, whose brothers, Mark and George also wrestled at Columbus, won his first GMAC title something that eluded Mark during his career and George was only able to win once.
“Finally,” Gulesian said. “I called my brothers and told them. We’re always arguing about who’s the best in our family. They said to keep it going and that if I win at state this year, I’ll have bragging rights for good.”
Although Guillaume lost, North Miami Beach continued to make strides. The Chargers placed a school-record seven wrestlers in the finals to go along with its quartet of champions.
Marcus Martinez secured a championship at 113 with a 4-3 win over Goleman’s previously unbeaten Ricardo Rendueles. Marvins Joseph pinned Miami Beach’s Giovanni Lins to win 160, Courtney Stubbs beat Columbus’ Diego Garcia 10-5 to win at 170, and Daniel Leon secured the heavyweight crown by beating South Dade’s Donald Mesier 4-3.
In one of the best matches of the finals, Southwest’s Nosomy Pozo repeated as GMAC champion by beating Columbus’ Damian Penichet 4-2 in overtime. The Eagles finished with two individual champs.
In another thriller, South Miami’s Jean Concepcion rallied from an 8-3 deficit in the final period of the 182-pound final to force overtime, and beat Palmetto’s Charles Decca 10-8.
Team standings: 1. South Dade 235; 2. Columbus 214; 3. North Miami Beach 201.5; 4. Southwest 194.5; 5. Homestead 182; 6. Braddock 150.5; 7. Palmetto 126; 8. Southridge 99; 9. Coral Reef 94.5; 10. North Miami 89.5; 11. Miami Springs 74.5; 12. Ferguson 72; 13. South Miami 67.5; 14. Sunset 63; 15. Miami Beach 60; 16. Central 55; 17. Varela 45; 18. Goleman 43; 19. Miami High 41; 20. Mourning 38.