When the dust settled early Friday evening, it was a familiar team once again on top after the first day of action at the GMAC boys’ wrestling tournament at Reagan High School.
Juggernaut South Dade, the four-time defending state champion and looking for an eighth consecutive GMAC title, is at it again. Despite three last-minute scratches including Luis Peraza, the No. 1 seed in the 106-pound division who injured his knee, the Bucs still managed to get a dozen wrestlers through into Saturday morning’s semifinals which will begin at 10 a.m.
But for a change, South Dade isn’t running away with it.
Coach Jim Husk saw his Columbus wrestlers enjoy a big day as the Explorers got eight wrestlers into the semis and didn’t lose a single one of their 14 as the other six are still alive in wrestlebacks. South Dade’s 163 point total is just 22 ahead of Columbus at 141 and 36 ahead of third-place Southwest.
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“I think we’re starting to peak and this is the perfect time to be doing that,” said Husk, who is a wrestling icon in Miami-Dade County, now coaching in his 53rd year, the last 14 at Columbus. “Obviously, we know that South Dade is the premier team in Dade County, and we’re just kind of honored to be hanging right there with them at this point.”
Leading the way for Columbus was heavyweight Dylan Perez, who easily defeated both of his opponents and will square off against Southwest’s Christian Sanchez in the semifinal and has his eye on his first individual GMAC title.
“It feels really good knowing we’ve got a shot going into [Saturday],” said Perez, a junior who plays defensive line on the football team, has a 4.7 GPA and got offered from Ivy League school Penn this week. “It just goes to show you how hard these coaches are working every single day to make us better and now you see it paying off.”
Other Columbus wrestlers to reach the semifinals were Justin Valdes (113), Charles Huffman (120), Sebastian Melguizo (126), Ryan Doll (132), David Milton (138), Ryan Gonzalez (145) and Henry Fernandez (220).
Team standings: 1. South Dade 163; 2. Columbus 141; 3. Southwest 127.5; 4. Southridge 97.5; 5. Palmetto 96; 6. Coral Park 81.5; 7. Coral Gables 66; 8. Goleman 65; 9. Ferguson 63.5; Hialeah-Miami Lakes 63.5.
Semifinals: 106: Chris Busutil (SR) vs. Corey Gallivan (PAL); Delanow Noel (NM) vs. Omar Corrales (CP). 113: Justin Valdes (COL) vs. Isaac Duran (SD); Jacob Delgado (SD) vs. Sebastian Calmet (SUN). 120: Bretli Reyna (SD) vs. Fashawn Renejuste (CG); Charles Huffman (COL) vs. Alex Godinez (HML). 126: Tyler Orta (SD) vs. Destin Jones (PAL); Sebastian Melguizo (COL) vs. Daishaun Felton (MB). 132: Julian Hernandez (SW) vs. Ryan Doll (COL); Joshua Swan (SD) vs. Angel Perez (CG). 138: Alexis Urquiza (SW) vs. Jason Duarte (SD); Brandon Ochoa (SM) vs. David Milton (COL). 145: Johnny Lovett (SR) vs. Kane Vandemark (PAL); Ryan Gonzalez (COL) vs. Andy Dematas (SW). 152: Brevin Balmeceda (SD) vs. Christian Dorta (SR); Chris Ordones (CP) vs. Cardeionte Wilson (PAL). 160: Todd Perry (SD) vs. Jonathan Oro (CP); Oscar Perez (GOL) vs. Adrian Vidaud (SW). 170: Mikael Fundora (SD) vs. Jizreel Jeudy (PAL); Angelo Madruga (SM) vs. Michaeal Fernandez (SW). 182: Leonard Wooten (SR) vs. Josh Mizelle (PAL); Kevin Perez (SD) vs. Sammy Bencid (CP). 195: Julio Pardo (HG) vs. Ethan Vargas (SW); Christopher Smith (NOR) vs. Denzel Addison (NM). 220: Kenneth Crouse (SD) vs. Jonathan Vill (NW); Taso Kourtakis (SR) vs. Henry Fernandez (COL). HWT: Trayvonne Jackson (SD) vs. Jonathan Esquivel (SUN); Dylan Perez (COL) vs. Christian Sanchez (SW).