South Dade’s tough national schedule typically prepares it for the grind of the postseason.
The Bucs seem to be peaking once again as they prepare to navigate the road to state that goes through a tough Miami-Dade County region.
South Dade held off a tough challenge from rival Southwest and secured its eighth consecutive GMAC wrestling championship Saturday at Ronald Reagan/Doral High.
“We got through the meat grinder that is the GMAC’s without injury so that’s the big part of it,” said South Dade coach Victor Balmeceda, whose team is aiming to win its fourth consecutive state title this season and county-best 12th overall. “I’m really satisfied with the team’s overall performance.”
The Bucs, who finished with 308 points, had seven wrestlers win individual GMAC championships, including three that kept their undefeated seasons going.
Bretli Reyna (46-0) pinned Coral Park’s Sebastian Calmet to become only the second freshman to win a GMAC title while undefeated. Seniors Chei Hill (46-0) and Kyron Taylor (42-0) won the 220-pound and heavyweight titles, respectively.
Elijah Varona and Brevin Balmeceda each won their second GMAC titles in a row. Varona prevailed with a 21-7 major-decision victory at 113 pounds over Southwest’s Julian Hernandez, and Balmeceda scored a 17-2 tech fall over Southridge’s Johnny Lovett. Also, junior Christian Morales (126) and sophomore Todd Perry (152 pounds) won their first county titles.
Team runner-up Southwest, which entered the day half a point behind South Dade, finished 43 points behind but walked away with four individual champions.
Senior Franco Valdez won his fourth GMAC title with an 11-2 victory at 138 pounds. Junior Alex Urquiza won his first county title with a 14-8 triumph at 132, senior Angel Delcueto earned a 14-5 major decision at 170 pounds, and senior Jorge Benitez beat Killian’s Giovanny Mentor 9-2 to win at 182 pounds.
Killian posted one of its highest finishes in a long time by finishing fifth. The Cougars were led by senior Marshall Sweet, who improved to 25-0 for the season with a 1:35 pin of Columbus’ Carmine Dascoli.
Miami Beach had one of the most emotional victories of the tournament when junior Daishaun Felton earned some payback against Braddock’s Luis Hernandez with a 17-10 victory and the 120-pound title. Felton, a first-time GMAC champion, had never defeated Hernandez, having lost to him six times during the club season.
Felton celebrated after the match with his adoptive father, Miami Beach coach Fred Robby, who said Felton was the Hi-Tides’ first GMAC champion in at least seven years.
Robby adopted Felton seven years ago after his mother died and has mentored and guided him along his path to become an accomplished wrestler since.
“He’s such a hard worker and just a great kid,” Robby said. “I couldn’t be happier for him.”
Braddock came away with an individual champion of its own when senior Jesus Bencomo rallied to beat Miami High’s Guervens Jean 14-13 in a dramatic match at 160 pounds.
The GMAC also held its second annual girls’ tournament and crowned four individual champions — Coral Gables’ Katalina Bartelt (112 pounds), Jackson’s Tsiania Jones (130) and Mary Rodriguez (heavyweight), and Palmetto’s Eunique Davis (150) — all of whom scored pinfalls.
Team standings: 1. South Dade 308; 2. Southwest 265.5; 3. Southridge 191; 4. Columbus 175; 5. Killian 145; 6. North Miami 113.5; 7. Coral Gables 94; 8. Reagan 82.5; 9. Coral Park 81.5; 10. Miami Beach 74.
Boys’ Championship finals – 106: Bretli Reyna (SD) pin Sebastian Calmet (CP) 4:40; 113: Elijah Varona (SD) maj. dec. Julian Hernandez (SW) 21-7; 120: Daishaun Felton (MB) dec. Luis Hernandez (BR) 17-10; 126: Christian Morales (SD) dec. Marcus Abreu (CP) 7-4; 132: Alex Urquiza (SW) dec. Alyis Mursuli (SD) 14-8; 138: Franco Valdez (SW) maj. dec. Alberto Mendoza (SR) 11-2; 145: Brevin Balmeceda (SD) tech Johnny Lovett (SR) 17-2; 152: Todd Perry (SD) dec. Anthony Kinsey (SR) 2-1; 160: Jesus Bencomo (BR) dec. Guervens Jean (MHS) 14-13; 170: Angel Delcueto (SW) maj. dec. Luis Rios (SR) 14-5; 182: Jorge Benitez (SW) dec. Giovanny Mentor (KIL) 9-2; 195: Marshall Sweet (KIL) pin Carmine Dascoli (COL) 1:35; 220: Chei Hill (SD) maj. dec. Michael Mireles (SW) 17-6; HWT: Kyron Taylor (SD) dec. Trayvonne Jackson (KIL) 8-2.
Consolation finals – 106: Chris Busutil (SR) maj. dec. Justin Valdes (COL) 14-2; 113: Ryan Boncamper (KIL) dec. Charles Huffman (COL) 5-4; 120: Tyler Orta (SD) maj. dec. Angel Perez (CG) 12-3; 126: David Mompoint (NM) dec. Angel Curiel (COL) 11-4; 132: Alexander Lopez (SR) dec. Carlos Leon (CG) 8-1; 138: Ryan Gonzalez (COL) d. Alejandro Estrada (JAC) injury default; 145: Cardionte Wilson (PAL) dec. Rashaund Williams (NM) 9-7; 152: Danny Perez (SUN) dec. Noel Fuentes (SW) 8-1; 160: Adrian Vidaud (SW) dec. Angelo Madruga (SM) 3-2; 170: Mikael Fundora (SD) dec. Richard Mayol (RR) 4-0; 182: Adrian Nova (RR) pin Chris Pardo (SM) :26; 195: Gabriel Barrocas (RR) maj. dec. Kenneth Crouse (SD) 11-3; 220: Jonathan Esquivel (SUN) pin Remy Wilson (BTW) :44; HWT: Jaafari Stephens (CG) dec. Melchisede Jeudy (SR) 6-4.
Girls’ championship – 112: Katalina Bartelt (CG) pin Hillary Geffard (JAC) 1:05; 130: Tsiania Jones (JAC) pin Stephanie Benavides (KIL) :12; 150: Eunique Davis (PAL) pin Paola Forchu (JAC) 1:12; HWT: Mary Rodriguez (JAC) pin Juliette Vazquez (CG) 1:21; Girls’ consolation – 112: Samantha Smith (CR) pin Alejandra Perez (CG) :37; 130: Courtney Solomon-Eddin (BTW) pin Betsy Rodriguez (SD) 1:09; 150: Marianna Valentina (RR) pin Coldsmirley Leon (JAC) :08.