South Dade’s wrestlers easily rolled to their fifth consecutive GMAC title Friday — although the tournament was not without bloody controversy.
The Bucs placed finalists in 10 of the 14 weight classes and earned five individual championships. The Bucs totaled 331.5 points during the two-day tournament at Reagan High.
North Miami, which finished with 208 points and three individual champions, came in second.
South Dade’s champions included Ozzy Lugo (106 pounds), Justin Ramirez (132), Patricio Lugo (138), Anthony Cooper (152) and Alberto Pedrazza (160).
“We can’t wrestle any better than that,” South Dade Coach Vic Balmeceda said. “We had a couple of slipups here and there, but to have 10 kids in the GMAC finals and 12 out of 14 (in the top four) is tremendous.”
Balmeceda said those words halfway through Friday’s finals, when the Bucs had already clinched the title. About an hour later, however, South Dade’s Maleek Williams lost the 120-pound final to Franco Valdes, who won by disqualification.
The match was stopped when Williams apparently scratched Valdes, leaving a cut mark on his back, near his right shoulder.
“It was a weird ending,” Valdes said of his first GMAC title. “First he head-butted me a few times in the face, then he gouged me in the eye. Then he grabbed me in the private parts, and then he scratched me in the back.”
Valdes said he had lost to Williams in their three previous matches, all over the summer. Valdes said Williams used dirty tactics then, too, and also cut him over his right eye.
Williams was not available for comment as he was taken off the area to avoid further trouble in the heated aftermath.
Balmeceda, though, didn’t deny his wrestler was at fault.
“[Williams] got too physical,” Balmeceda said. “He’s a very emotional kid, and he can get out of whack when things start happening bad.
“The first thing that happened is that he head-butted (Valdes) when he went for a shot. Whether its incidental or on purpose, it’s a point [given to Valdes]. Then he pushed [Valdes’] face, and he deserved a penalty.”
Balmeceda said he does not think the disqualification will keep his wrestler from competing in the upcoming district, regional and state tournaments.
South Dade’s last wrestler of the night was also disappointing for the Bucs as Isaiah Crosby, who had been ranked No. 1 in the state until last week, lost his second consecutive match to Columbus’ Damian Penichet in the 145-pound final. Penichet won, 9-3.
“All the points we scored and the 10 finalists, and we leave on a sour note because of the last two matches,” Balmeceda said. “It’s amazing how two matches can ruin a whole tournament of domination.”