You would never know it by the looks on their faces in the picture above, but it was a pretty darn good weekend for Miami Springs wrestlers (from left) Daniel Preciado, Alex Duran and James Medal.
The three were holding up their respective ribbons following last weekend’s Region 2A wrestling meet at Martin County High School in Stuart, where Preciado finished third in the 126-pound division, while Medal and Duran both made it to their championship matches in the 138-pound and 145-pound division, respectively, before losing and having to settle for second place.
For their efforts, all three, just as they did a year ago, qualified for this weekend’s state wrestling finals in Lakeland, which required a fourth-place-or-better finish. The one who really had to be disappointed was junior Liberty Carrasco. After winning his first- and second-round matches on Friday to make it to Saturday’s semifinals, all he had to do was either win his semi or one wrestleback if he lost the semi and he would have punched his ticket to Lakeland as well. But Carrasco dropped both and had to settle for fifth.
“I tell anyone that will listen how incredibly tough it is once you make it to regionals,” said Springs coach Dave Ryan. “For these kids to have battled all the way back to state after having made it last year is a tribute to their work ethic and determination. The fact that they were disappointed shows what competitors they are.”
Duran won his weight class last year and went to Lakeland as a No. 1 seed and got to face a No. 4 seed from another region. Now, both he and Medal will be No. 2 seeds facing No. 3 seeds from another region, making for a tougher road to the finals.
After winning their first three matches (two on Friday and one semifinal Saturday morning), Medal and Duran squared off against Joey Muccio of Melbourne and Stevie Vonniederhausern from Palm Bay in their respective title matches. In a rarity, Medal got pinned by Muccio at 2:27, marking his first time getting pinned in over a year before, Duran fell to Vonniederhausern in a 15-0 technical fall.