When the dust settled from Friday’s first and second round of the Region 4-3A wrestling finals at Ronald Reagan High School, defending state champion South Dade was doing what it normally does each year at about this time. Looking back at everybody else behind them.
Thanks to 10 of the 13 wrestlers coach Vic Balmaseda brought with him winning both their first- and second-round matches and thus advancing to Saturday’s semifinals, the Bucs lead 30 other teams with 91.0 points, 11 points ahead of its closest pursuer, Southwest.
The semifinals will begin at 10 a.m. with the finals, following all wrestleback competition, set to begin at about 6:30 p.m.
Balmaseda watched as most of his wrestlers, including three defending state champions in the Lugo brothers, Ozzy and Patricio, along with Isaiah Crosby easily advanced to the semis, pinning all three of their opponents in second-round wins.
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Patricio Lugo kept his record perfect at 57-0 when he pinned Southwest’s Jordan Delacruz at 3:24.
The biggest drama of the day came in the final quarterfinal match in the 285-pound class when there was a last-second, controversial finish. That’s when South Dade’s Kyron Taylor led Matthew Dulin of Columbus 2-1 with less than five seconds left. As the clock expired and the two wrestlers were about to go out of bounds, Dulin took Taylor down for a two-point takedown and 3-2 victory. Balmaseda argued vehemently that the clock had hit zero before the timer tapped the referee on the shoulder signaling the clock expiration.
“The three losses we had, those matches could’ve gone either way, especially that last one, that was a tough loss for Kyron,” said Balmaseda. “I thought the takedown might’ve come a little late, but that’s the way it goes.
“This tournament I like the least because there’s too much finality to it. You’ve worked all year long, 60-something matches under your belt, you lose two matches this weekend and your season’s over. If we finish first, great, but the bottom line is you need to carry as many kids to state as possible to score points for you up there.”
The hard-luck member of the Bucs was Alberto Pedraza. South Dade had no entry in the 170-pound division because Pedraza broke his hand last Wednesday and could not compete.
Team Standings — 1. South Dade 91.0, 2. Southwest 80.0, 3. Southridge 60.0, 4. Cypress Bay 58.0, 5. Braddock 52.0, 6. North Miami 46.0, 7. Columbus 45.5, 8. Palmetto 40.0, 9. Cooper City 38.0, 10. Coral Gables 29.0, 10. South Broward 29.0, 12. Coral Reef 25.0, 13. Miami Beach 24.0, 14. Everglades 23.0, 15. McArthur 22.0, 16. Western 20.0, 17. Killian 19.0. Semifinal Pairings (10 a.m.) — 106: McCray (SR) vs. Victor (BR); Martinez (COL) vs. Varona (SD). 113: Garcia-Ramirez (SW) vs. Mompoint (NM); M. Codinach (COL) vs. Delisca (SD). 120: Gonzalez (SW) vs. Cannon (SD); Jordan (CC) vs. Marshall (SR). 126: Caceres (BR) vs. A. Codinach (COL); Valdes (SW) vs. O. Lugo (SD). 132: Urquiza (SW) vs. Kinsey (SR); Cherenfant (NM) vs. Dominguez (BR). 138: Sage (CB) vs. Del Cueto (SW); Londono (W) vs. Sierra (SD). 145: Chester (PAL) vs. Perez (SR); Marcelin (NM) vs. Ramirez (SD). 152: Amaya (SM) vs. P. Lugo (SD); Hughes (CR) vs. Lopez (BR). 160: Merieles (KIL) vs. Chery (NM); Hernandez (SW) vs. Crosby (SD). 170: Prudhomme (EV) vs. Dolorit (SW); Acosta (CP) vs. Ortiz (McA). 182: Torres (McA) vs. Hope (BR); Sotolongo (SW) vs. Sierra (COL). 195: Osterling (CB) vs. Scott (NM); Brown (SW) vs. Hill (SD). 220: Macugosky (CC) vs. Rodriguez (SD); Mann (COL) vs. Hamilton (SR). 285: Stephens (CG) vs. Moss (PAL); Minnis (EV) vs. Dulin (COL).