For all the victories St. Thomas Aquinas senior wrestler Grant Aronoff has earned over his four-year high school career, Saturday’s loss will be a painful memory.
The two-time defending state champion suffered stunning 8-6 overtime loss to Johnny Lovett of Miami Southridge in the state semifinal match at 145 pounds at the Silver Spurs Arena.
Aronoff (55-2), a University of Pennsylvania signee, was a heavy favorite to win his third consecutive state championship.
“He tried to stall out a two-point win instead of continuing to wrestle and put it away,” St. Thomas Aquinas coach Robert Wimberly said. “He was mentally lazy.”
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Aronoff, who had more than 200 career victories in his high school career at St. Thomas, was pleased, but clearly disappointed with Saturday’s outcome
“It was a lot of fun,” Aronoff said. “I’m looking forward at starting my new life in Philadelphia and start competing up there.”
Aronoff built a 4-2 lead in the second period and after the match was tied at 4-4. He regained the lead at 5-4 on an escape and led 6-4 before Lovett’s last second reversal in the third period tied the score at 6-6.
“He was looking forward to the match ahead and it cost him,” Wimberly said. “The other guy worked harder than he did. He was looking for an easy way out and got bit in the rear for it. I saw it coming and tried to warn him.”
Darian Estevez (60-6) of Somerset Academy lost in the 132-pound championship in Class 1A to Jonathan Conrad of Tampa Carrollton Day School by a 5-2 decision.
Estevez had an opportunity to take control of the match when Conrad injured his right ankle in the first period that would limit his mobility. Estevez was never able to take advantage.
Ryan Smenda of Fleming Island decisioned Matthew Toribio of Cypress Bay in the Class 3A 220-pound championship 9-4. Ben Golden of Lake Highland Prep was a 6-0 winner over Daniel Miranda of Somerset in the Class 1A 220-pound title match.
▪ Team scores (Top 30): 1. South Dade 230; 8. Wellington 61; 12. St. Thomas Aquinas 41; 13. Cypress Bay 40.5; 26. Royal Palm Beach 15; 30. Forest Hill 14.
▪ Championship finals — 220: Smenda (FLIS). D. Toribio (CB) 9-4. Consolation finals (locals only) — 113: Portilla (CB) d. Duran (SODA) 8-2; 145: Aronoff (STA) p. Isola (OVIE) 1:44.
▪ Team scores (top 10): 1. Lake Highland Prep 333; 4. Somerset 99; 5. Cardinal Gibbons 92.5; 6. American Heritage-Delray 80; 10. Jupiter Christian 48.
▪ Championship finals (locals only) — 132: Conrad (CDS) d. Estevez (SOM) 5-2; 220: Golden (LHP) d. Miranda (SOM) 6-0. Consolation finals (locals only) — 106: Layton (JUPC) d. Gillis (SOM) 3-1; 132: Flanagan (LHP) d. A. Temes (GIBB) 1-0; 145: Valledor (SOM) d. E. Temes (GIBB) 4-2; 160: Green (CLAY) d. Ley (CG) 11-7; 185: Benton (SOM) d. Hall (JUPC) by injury default.