LAKELAND -- Before his Class 1A FHSAA final on Saturday night, Cardinal Gibbons junior Jamal Morris donned a black shirt with the Superman logo on the front and “Triple Threat Jamal” on the back in red lettering.
Morris, seeking his third state title, earned a 5-1 decision over Lake Highland Prep’s Nick Vestal in the 120-pound division to become the first Gibbons wrestler since Jonathan Taylor (2000-03) to achieve the feat.
During his perfect 41-0 season, Morris wore calf-high pink socks with orange trims at every tournament. Teammate Anthony Vasquez’s father had given him the pair to honor cancer awareness. Following Friday’s bouts, he had refused to wash them because of superstition.
“Trying not to go too hard too quick and wrestle hard,” said Morris, who battled fatigue on Day 1 after facing flu-like symptoms all week. “I was pushing myself in the beginning of the year, and now [it’s] winning my third state title.”
Four other Broward wrestlers captured individual titles at the Lakeland Center, including one that also continued his reign at the top.
Somerset eighth grader Chase Singletary experienced a growth spurt between last year’s title at 113 and the start of this season. He went from 5-8 to 6-1, competing in the 145-pound class.
It took a few matches for him to discover the different styles — 113 is always moving whereas 145 is a bit slower — and ease into his new body. His pin at 1:38 over Cardinal Gibbons junior Nick Limperis capped a 38-2 season in Class 1A.
His teammate, fellow eighth grader Franco Valdes, earned a 9-4 decision over Wakulla’s Zach Malik at 113. As a seventh grader, Singletary brought Somerset the first individual title in program history.
“It feels amazing, there’s nothing like it to win two,” said Singletary, who finished as a runner-up as a sixth grader. “Some people never get a chance to win. To be blessed like that to do what I’m doing is amazing.”
Archbishop McCarthy junior Radley Gillis concluded his year 65-1 with the Class 2A state title at 106 in a 4-2 decision against Nature Coast’s Sean Nguyen.
Gillis, who started wrestling when he was 4 years old, gave up the sport before returning in eighth grade. Four years later, he helped avenge his father, Keith, the 103-pound runner-up in 1988.
“It’s the best feeling in the world,” Gillis said. “I’m on top of the world right now just finishing what I’ve been training for my whole life. I never took my eye off the prize, and I finally got it. And I can still do it again next year.”
South Broward senior Kevin Jacques ended the night on a high note, making up for 2012’s fifth-place finish with his 6-2 decision over Gainesville Buchholz’s Deontrae Neal in the heavyweight division. He went 58-1 in his final year.
With 22 seconds left in a tied bout, Jacques converted a takedown, unaware of the time. Afterwards he said he didn’t think it would go to overtime and that worrying about the clock would “mess up the match.”
“It’s something I’ve been working for a long time,” said Jacques, who began wrestling in fifth grade under coach Allen Held. “Now I’ve finally got it. Last year, I failed, and senior year I got it. It shows what I was working for.”
Junior Kenny Boyd fell short in becoming the first Stranahan wrestler to win an individual title since 145-pounder Lenworth Green did so in 1982 when he dropped a 10-5 decision to Lincoln’s Tristan Sommer.
A pair of St. Thomas Aquinas senior wrestlers dropped their respective finals, including Shiquan Hall, who was hoping to win his third state title. Southwest Miami senior Nosomy Pozo earned a 12-3 major decision over him in the 126.
Brandon’s Kyle Norstrem, younger brother to four-time state champion Kevin, pinned Alex Uhre at 5:34 in the 113-pound division. Uhre, a University of Virginia signee, was a four-time county winner.
Class 3A team scores: Brandon 251, Osceola 163.5, St. Thomas Aquinas 90.5, Columbus 73, Palm Harbor University 71.5, South Dade 71, North Miami Beach 61, Southwest 53.5, Jupiter 49, Winter Springs 48 Class 2A team scores: Springstead 98, Lake Gibson 94.5, Olympic Heights 93, Riverdale 67, Nature Coast 54, Jesuit 47, Lincoln 42.5, Jensen Beach 42, Homestead 41.5, Ridgeview 40 Class 1A team scores: Lake Highland Prep 149.5, Clay 123, Cardinal Gibbons 111, University Christian 73, Somerset Academy 67, Wakulla 67, Fivay 61, Pasco 56.5, Doral Academy 52, Villages 51.5 Class 3A Individual Championships – 113: Kyle Norstrem (BRA) pin Alex Uhre (STA) 5:34; 132: Nosomy Pozo (SWM) maj. dec. Shiquan Hall (STA) 12-3; 285: Kevin Jacques (SB) dec. Deontrae Neal (BUH) 6-2.
Class 2A Individual Championships – 106: Radley Gillis (ACM) dec. Sean Nguyen (NC) 4-2; 152: Tristan Sommer (LIN) dec. Kenny Boyd (STR) 10-5.
Class 1A Individual Championships – 113: Franco Valdes (SOM) dec. Zach Malik (WAK) 9-4; 126: Jamal Morris (CG) dec. Nick Vestal (LHP) 5-1; 145: Chase Singletary (SOM) pin Nick Limperis (CG) 1:38.
Class 3A Consolation – 152: Dakota Greene (BRA) dec. Kris Iglesias (STA) 4-2; 170: Gio Jeovenetta (STA) maj. dec. Spencer Lacey (OSC) 8-0.
Class 1A Consolation – 106: Zach Sherman (PLA) dec. Dale Browning (CLAY) 3-1; 120: Jamel Morris (CG) dec. Brady Moser (PLA) 3-0; 132: Anthony Vasquez (CG) dec. Matthew Seymour (TV) 5-4.