On Day 1 of the Class 3A regional wrestling tournament on Friday, South Dade held a double-digit lead with 81.5 points at Ronald W. Reagan/Doral High School.
South Dade sophomore Justin Ramirez, who finished as the 126-pound runner-up to five-time state champion Rossi Bruno of Brandon last season, reached Saturday’s semifinal along with seven of his teammates.
Though Bruno graduated, his replacement — Dylan Lucas — looks to be Ramirez’s biggest challenge at state.
“Working harder and finishing my moves right,” Ramirez said. “This year I finally have a chance. [I’ve got to] win the regional, keep my weight down and put me on a good side of the bracket.”
North Miami Beach, second with 70.5 points, led all schools with nine wrestlers in the semifinals, while Miami Columbus fielded six. Miami Braddock and Miramar each sent five.
Also making their respective semifinals were wrestlers in the state consolation round last year: Miami Southwest’s two-time GMAC champion Nosomy Pozo (132), Bulldog Jose Felipe (145), Explorer Sonny Gulesian (152) and South Miami’s Jean Concepcion (182).
“There’s so much finality to this tournament,” Balmaceda said. “You really feel for the kids and you’re nervous every match because you know how important it is. You’ve got be a good psychological coach to get them wrestling loose, tell them they’re prepared that they’ve done 50 matches before this for this reason.”
Team scores: South Dade 81.5, North Miami Beach 70.5, Miami Christopher Columbus 64.5, Miami Southwest 63.5, Miami G. Holmes Braddock 58, Everglades 50, Miami Palmetto 43, South Broward 41, Miami Southridge 36, Miramar 35.5.
Semifinal matchups – 106: Nicholas Villamil (BRD) v. Adriel Garcia-Ramirez (COL), Erik Zorrilla (SWM) v. Brandon Gonsalves (SD); 113: Steven Nogradi (EVER) v. Maleek Williams (SD), Joshua Brown (MIR) v. Gustavo Villamil (BRD); 120: Alexander Lesesne (MIR) v. Alex Edwards (SR), Luc Poliard (NMB) v. David Temple (PAL); 126: Tuqwan Stone (MIR) v. Justin Ramirez (SD), Lerch Oremar (NMB) v. Alexander Brooks (PAL); 132: Nixon Chavez (VAR) v. Nosomy Pozo (SWM), Damian Penichet (COL) v. Patricio Lugo III (SD); 138: Geoffrey Nicholas (BRD) v. Wayne Tarpley (MIA), Robert Powell (COL) v. Isaiah Crosby (SD); 145: Jose Felipe (BRD) v. Ritchie Guillaume (NMB), Daneil Harth (COL) v. Alberto Pedraza (SD); 152: Ernie Levy (MIR) v. Sonny Gulesian (COL), Matthew Rodriguez-Kirk (NMB) v. Barry Jones (CC); 160: Nathaniel Delevoe (SBA) v. Anthony Cooper (SD), Marvyns Joseph (NMB) v. Giovanny Lins (MB); 170: Eugene Kinchen (MIR) v. Courtney Stubbs (NMB), Diego Garcia (COL) v. Raekwon Reggler (AM); 182: Jean Concepcion (SM) v. Lazaro Segura (SWM), George Knowles (BRD) v. Charles Decca (PAL); 195: Jordan Sanchez (CC) v. Henry Haynes (SD), Tirso Batista (NMB) v. Adolfo Sotolongo (SWM); 220: Eliezer Garcia (CP) v. Juan Herrera (SWM), Steven Decius (NMB) v. Nicholas Wethy (COL); 285: Kevin Jacques (SB) v. Sterling Shippy (CR), Daniel Leon (NMB) v. Cornell Gilmore (PAL).
• Region 4-1A finals — All 14 Cardinal Gibbons wrestlers remain active after day one of the Region 4-1A finals. Semifinal rounds in the championship and consolation bracket will take place Saturday.