Sometimes as we’re looking toward the future of a new season, it’s helpful to look back at the past.
We did that for a couple of months in the spring with our “The Season” recaps. No one in Florida recaps every team within their given coverage area, and we even learned a couple of additional lessons along the way there.
But one thing that often informs any preview of an upcoming season — even one as crazy as this one promises to be, between the impact of the FHSAA state duals series and the impact of “open” enrollment — is the tradition of what has gone before.
Area bragging rights are one such thing.
With that said, who — or better yet, which district — won 3A-Region 3? (our second of eight non-local posts, and I decided I would keep the same format as for the ones closer to me).
There are a few ways to figure this out. I’ve tried a couple in the past. This year, I’m going to try to keep it simpler. Maybe. I’ve been told I over-complicate things at times, most often by myself.
1. Points scored at the region (staged in Lake Worth). In a fairly solid three-team battle for the top, what carried the day for District 12 was the presence of team champion St. Thomas Aquinas and its 195-point total, which was enough for the 12s to overcome District 10, 465-442 for first among the four districts in the region. The 12s had the fifth-highest point total among all 16 3A districts. Though the 10s had only six teams, one of them was runnerup Wellington and another was third-place Forest Hill, and those three teams were the only ones to go over 100 points. District 9 was third, well ahead of District 11, 392.5-273.
2. Region champions. This measuring stick led to a less clear result, as both District 12 and District 10 had six champions apiece. The 12s bagged titles at 113/120/132/138/152/195, while the 10s took firsts at 106/126/170/182/220/285. On this measurement, then, it’s a bit less clear. District 9 picked up the other two titles in the region, with firsts at both 145 and 160, while District 11 did not win a region championship.
3. State qualifiers. Looking at this indicator, the waters get muddied a bit more. As it turned out, District 10 came away with the most qualifiers for states, with 17 overall (in addition to the six champs, the 10s had four runners-up, four 3rds and three 4ths). And, as the math broke down, District 9 had the second-most qualifiers (15 total, six runners-up, two 3rds and five 4ths) with District 12 moving 14 to states (two runners-up, three 3rds and three 4ths). I would say that’s due to the 12s’ ability to rack up maximum bonus points. District 11 finished with 10 qualifiers (two runners-up, five 3rds and three 4ths).
4. Wins earned at the region. I checked each kid’s region performance. Wins were based upon contested matches (brackets that gave kids byes meant those kids did not receive wins, but brackets that listed forfeits, where the forfeiting wrestler was still on the bracket, did get a +1 for those). Kids that did not compete for whatever the reason but qualified out and were listed on the bracket were given 0-2 records. Here, District 12 re-asserted itself, outpacing the other three districts in terms of total wins and winning percentage, as the 12s had an overall contested-match record of 111-95. Both District 9 and District 10 had positives as well. District 9 had the next most wins (101), but District 10’s win-loss record of 97-90 was better than 9’s 101-100. District 11 finished at 73-97, the only district in the group under .500.
In a competition between areas, the teams in District 12 “won” Region 3, but Districts 9 and 10 both had some things they could take away for themselves. Here’s a couple of notes on each district:
Best weight class: The 9s had three weights finish with 10-6 tournament records, so I’ll break the tie by picking the one with two qualifiers and a champ. That would be 160, led by champion Jared Fleitas of Ft. Pierce Central, and fourth-place finisher Nicholas Schmidt of Jupiter. Treasure Coast’s Chris Durette added a blood-round appearance as well.
Toughest struggle: 182 was a tough weight for the 9s, as the four reps at that weight were 3-8 overall, with just one Saturday qualifier.
Best weight class: The 10s had three weight classes crack double-digit wins, but the group that did so with the fewest losses was at 170, with Eric Saber of Wellington and Mitchell Clark of Seminole Ridge going 1-2 and reprising their district final. Palm Beach Central’s Rohan Richards also got to the blood round, advancing to the championship semis.
Toughest struggle: Despite three wins and a blood-round appearance from Wellington’s Robert Saldarriaga, the district champ, the 10s at 120 were 4-8 as a group.
Best weight class: While 120 was a struggle for District 10, it was District 11’s best performance, with two state qualifiers in runnerup Sean Campbell of Park Vista and third-placer Damian Swint of Atlantic Community. All four wrestlers contributed and created a 10-6 weekend.
Toughest struggle: 170 was probably the 11s’ biggest challenge, as the quartet advancing out of districts finished 3-8 as a group, with one Saturday qualifier.
Best weight class: The 12s didn’t struggle often, but their best weight was 138, where all four wrestlers survived into Saturday, led by St. Thomas’ eventual state champion, Region 3 champion Grant Aronoff. Monarch’s Zain Cruz also had three wins, reaching the blood round in the process, as the 12s finished 11-6 at this weight.
Toughest struggle: 106 was probably the one weight where the 12s ran into some trouble, with just two collecting wins (Douglas’ Jason Wolk did get to the blood round, however) in a 5-8 weekend.
It’s tough for any kid to lose a match in the blood round, but the seniors who fell in the blood round deserve a special bit of kudos — particularly since many of them are now off doing other things (college, work, military, and the like). So this space will give props to them, in order of ascending weight class:
Robinson Cid (Wellington, 113)
Mike Medio (Santaluces, 126)
Leo Cusumano (Martin County, 132)
Hunter Carrithers (Ft Pierce Central, 132)
Zain Cruz (Monarch, 138)
Jiovanni Clarke (Taravella, 145)
Jonathan Roger (Monarch, 152)
Ethan Bennett (Royal Palm Beach, 160)
Rohan Richards (Palm Beach Central, 170)
Ryan Maine (St. Thomas, 182)
Julio Mirambeaux (Forest Hill, 195)
Dylan Berman (Boca Raton, 195)
Andrew Dennis (Plantation, 285)