At the BCAA wrestling tournament in Pompano Beach, which culminated on Saturday night with Cardinal Gibbons winning the overall team title with 304.5 points, all eyes were on Richerd Desir-Jones of St. Thomas as he wrestled in the 285-pound class in the final match of the night against Nathaniel Crowley of Cypress Bay.
Desir-Jones, who on Wednesday signed a National Letter of Intent to play football at the University of Florida, is an accomplished wrestler and is now a county champion.
He pinned Crowley at the 1:44 mark of the match and is excited to compete in the state championships, where he hopes to add a state wrestling title to the state football titles that he has already accumulated.
As a team, St. Thomas finished in third place with 236.5 points. Cypress Bay came in second with 282.5 points.
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“I am extremely proud of this accomplishment, because I have worked real hard with my coaches and my teammates, and we will let this sink in, but this is not the end of the road for me,” Desir-Jones said after the match. “I still have a state title that I want to win, and I will not consider this a successful season without one.”
St. Thomas coach Rob Wimberly was pleased with what he saw of Desir-Jones and believes that he is just as good a wrestler as he is a defensive lineman.
“He might be a very good football player, and he might love to play football. However, wrestling is his passion. It is in his blood,” Wimberly said.
“I have never seen a kid work so hard and try to be the absolute best every single day. This kid is a tremendous athlete.”
Cardinal Gibbons coach Frank Pettineo left the Broward County wrestling tournament a champion for the 13th time.
The title the Chiefs earned on Saturday tied Pettineo for the most Broward County championship wins by a coach in history. He tied former McArthur coach John Lyzott.
“We took care of our business very well [Saturday night]. I could not be prouder of these guys,” Pettineo said. “Everyone came out and did what they had to do. We got a lot of good efforts from our kids. I am very proud of them.”
Freshman Gabriel Gibson won the first title of the night for Cardinal Gibbons, defeating Anthony Silvestre of Hollywood Hills in the 113-pound weight class. Gibson’s brother, Dominick, a junior, took top honors in the 120-pound class in the next match.
Dominick sustained a broken leg in last year’s tournament finals and finished in second place. He was determined to bounce back and make the most of his opportunity this season.
“I have to be thankful that I got the chance to finish what I started last season,” Dominick Gibson said.
“To win the county championship was one of my goals at the start of the season, and now that I have accomplished that I have to look to the future and see what else we can accomplish.”
In the 145-pound class, Gibbons’ Eric Byelick completely overwhelmed Javier Fuertes of Cypress Bay, winning the match 13-3. Byelick took control early in the match and never looked back. He accused the Lightning wrestler of intentionally trying to stall him and keep him from scoring.
“He was just trying to stall and keep me from scoring,” Byelick said. “I had to chase him the whole time. He kept running away from me and never wanted to get it on. He might have ran, but I caught him when it counted.”
Alex Lopouchanski won the title in the 160-pound class for Cardinal Gibbons, as he outpointed good friend Dilano Taylor of Stranahan 10-3.
The match was lopsided from the beginning as Taylor did not put up much of a fight against the senior, who has a record of 43-0 this season. The two trained together when Lopouchanski was enrolled at South Broward.
“He got the first fall, but from there on out I got myself together, and he did not stand too much of a chance of beating me,” Lopouchanski said.
“I am glad that I won, but I would have rather not wrestled against my friend in the finals. I can celebrate the fact that I won, but it was unfortunate that I had to beat my friend to become a champion. I guess that is just the way it goes.”
Gibbons also got a big win from Julian Georgescu in the 170-pound class, as he pinned Josiah Gittman of St. Thomas late in the match to come away with the victory. The match was particularly close until Georgescu won with his superior technique.
Team standings: 1. Cardinal Gibbons 304.5; 2. Cypress Bay 282.5; 3. St. Thomas 236.5; 4. Coral Springs 134; 5. Cooper City 106.5; 6. McArthur 106; 7. South Broward 103; 8. Everglades 85; 9. Hollywood Hills 84; 10. South Plantation 82.
Individual results: 106: Steven Londono, Coral Springs, defeated Christian Arachabaleta, St. Thomas. 113: Gabriel Gibson, Cardinal Gibbons, defeated Anthony Silvestre, Hollywood Hills. 120: Dominick Gibson, Cardinal Gibbons, defeated Ignacio Fuertes, Cypress Bay. 126: Justin Cohen, Cypress Bay, defeated Garet Rawiszer, St. Thomas. 132: Jonah Gomes, St. Thomas, defeated Adonis Concepcion, Cypress Bay. 138: Grant Aranoff, St. Thomas, defeated Tyler Sage, Cypress Bay. 145: Eric Byelick, Cardinal Gibbons, defeated Javier Fuertes, Cypress Bay. 152: Amadeus Concepcion, Cypress Bay, defeated Nilson Bretas, Coral Springs. 160: Alex Lopouchanski, Cardinal Gibbons, defeated Dilano Taylor, Stranahan. 170: Julian Georgescu, Cardinal Gibbons, defeated Josiah Gittman, St. Thomas. 182: Nino Sannasardo, Cardinal Gibbons, defeated Jose Torres, McArthur. 195: Diego Bell, Cardinal Gibbons, defeated Carlos Osterling, Cypress Bay. 220: Patrick Peterson, Western, defeated Robert Valende, South Broward. 285: Rashard Desir-Jones, St. Thomas, defeated Nathaniel Crowley, Cypress Bay.