Wrestling

South Dade wrestling team grappling with history

 

State wrestling tournament

When: Friday and Saturday.

Where: The Lakeland Center, 701 W. Lime St., Lakeland.

Admission: $7 per session.

Friday’s schedule: Weigh-ins, 10 a.m.; first round and wrestlebacks begin at noon.

Saturday’s schedule: Weigh-ins, 8 a.m.; semifinals, 10 a.m.; wrestlebacks (third and fourth rounds), 12:30; sonsolation/championship finals, 6.


Special to the Miami Herald

South Dade junior wrestler Pat Lugo, who finished third at state last year, went into this season with a monumental goal.

He didn’t want to just go undefeated.

He wanted to go through the whole season without suffering a takedown. With the state tournament set for Friday and Saturday in Lakeland, Lugo is 54-0 with a clean sheet on takedowns.

“What he’s done so far is like a quarterback going 54 games without throwing an interception,” South Dade coach Vic Balmeceda said.

Lugo, a 138-pounder, is expected to a win a state title this weekend, providing valuable points for South Dade in its quest to win its ninth team championship and its first since 2008.

No Miami-Dade County team has won a wrestling title in the interim.

South Dade is considered the favorite in Class 3A, but Balmeceda said this figures to be the most wide-open tournament he has seen in more than a decade.

Balmeceda compares this year’s event to 2002, when St. Cloud won by a half-point over Southridge. A total of five teams — including Winter Springs, Krop and South Dade — were bunched within less than five points that year.

“The difference is that no one seemed to want to win it that year because St. Cloud won with only (78) points,” he said. “This year, you could have five schools score over 120 points.”

Those five are South Dade, Osceola, which finished second last year and won state in 2009, Palm Harbor, Winter Springs and St. Thomas Aquinas. Winter Springs tied South Dade with the most wrestlers qualified in 3A with 11.

Osceola has a virtual lock at 160 pounds in Fox Baldwin, who is going for his fourth consecutive state title.

“He’s going to pin his way through the state tournament,” Balmeceda said. “He’s that good.”

South Dade has two virtual locks in the Lugo brothers. Ozzy, a sophomore at 106 pounds, is 54-1 and has not lost all year to a 3A wrestler.

Meanwhile, Palm Harbor has Jared Prince, who is expected to win the 126-pound title. His brother, Connor, could win at 132, but he will likely have to go through South Dade’s Justin Ramirez, a two-time state runner-up.

Those two could meet early — in the second round — and they are very familiar with one another. Ramirez beat Prince last year in the state semifinals. But Prince has beaten Ramirez twice this season.

Besides the Lugos, South Dade had three other wrestlers win regional championships: senior Maleek Williams (126 pounds); senior Anthony Cooper (152); and senior Demond Richardson (220).

Williams, a three-time regional champ, finished third at state last season. Cooper wrestled all last season with a knee injury but is finally healthy. And Richardson, who finished fifth at state last year, missed matches this year while he tried to get in the right weight class.

South Dade is going to need big performances from all those wrestlers — plus others such as regional runner-up Isaiah Crosby (145) — to win state.

“It’s so evenly matched,” Balmeceda said, “all our kids have to be at their best.”

Read more Miami-Dade High Schools stories from the Miami Herald

  • Roundup

    Two Cooper City athletes sign with colleges

    Cooper City pitcher and first baseman Johnny Haney signed a scholarship with the Point Park University (Pittsburgh) baseball team. The left-hander is 6-0 so far this season with 31 strikeouts, three complete games and 1.28 ERA. He is hitting .317 with a homerun, 13 RBI and 16 runs scored.

  • High Schools roundup

    Doctors Charter boys’ track relay teams qualifiy for states

    The Dade Christian boys’ track 4x100 relay team will head to the State Championship for its second year in a row. Abigael Neus, Sam Mompremier, Jeanmaxon Adrien, and Cameron Floyd. Darwin Abreu qualified fourth overall in the mile. The 4x400 relay team, Torrian Wallace, Jovyn Pierre, Andrew Dodds, and Jonathan Gill needed to finish fourth out of 16 teams and run under a 3:42 to qualify for states. Freshman Jonathan Gill lead the team to a time of 3:36, awarding them fourth place to also qualify them for states.

  • State Tennis Championship

    Ransom Everglades’ Allegra Hanlon galls short of state title

    Everything seemed in place for Allegra Hanlon to end her high-school career with one more tennis championship. Then the rains came.

Get your Miami Heat Fan Gear!

Join the
Discussion

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category