The season has been perfect for Joey Miuccio, so far. Today and Saturday, he can erase the “so far.”
Miuccio, a Melbourne High senior, is one of 32 Brevard County high school wrestlers competing at the state tournament in Lakeland today. Fourteen weight classes in three classes will be whittled down to semifinalists today, while early-round losers will continue to compete to win a medal by finishing among the top six.
Miuccio has two of those medals and has been to the state meet three times. It was last season, when he did not finish as a medalist, that has helped propel him to an unbeaten year.
“It definitely motivates me,” said Miuccio, who is 39-0 and has won Cape Coast Conference, district and regional titles during the past three weeks. “I always try to stay humble, because anything can happen in wrestling, but you have to be confident and believe you can win.”
Miuccio would become one of only a handful of three-time state placers from Brevard.
Astronaut’s Joe Hennis won three championships as a heavyweight, and Merritt Island’s Solomon Fleckman won three titles in the late ’80s at 126 and 155.
The young Heritage program is sending the largest local contingent — five — to Lakeland. Among them is 30-5 senior Casey Malloy, who as a sophomore became the first Panthers wrestler to win a conference title. Then a 145-pounder, he now wrestles at 152. After winning the district title two weeks ago, he expressed optimism about his state chances.
“These 152 (pound) guys try to muscle you, but I’ve still got my speed,” he said. “I’m looking to at least place.”
Four Palm Bay wrestlers will compete, led by Steven VonNiedehausern, a 53-3 senior who won his regional title last week.
Astronaut also qualified four, including 152-pound Jonathan Pickens. He has had a stellar career but went to the state tournament with two injured shoulders last season after finishing fourth in his region.
State wrestling qualifiers
State wrestling qualifiers
Class 3A: 132 – Hunter Waite, Viera; 138 – Josh Amos, V; 195 – Terrell Hughes, V.
Class 2A: 113 – Tony Jaigobond, Palm Bay; Daniel Caron, Merritt Island; David Richards, Bayside; 120 – Nick Velazquez, B; Josh Farley, PB; 126 – Jeffrey Bayonne, Heritage; 132 – Isaac Garcia, H; Zach Hudson, MI; 138 – Joey Miuccio, Melbourne; 145 – Steven VonNiederhausern, PB; 152 – Casey Malloy, H; 160 – Felix Sibert, Eau Gallie; 170 – Elijah Saboor, H; 182 – Curtis Porter, PB; 195 – Matt Fields, M; 220 – Darien Hall, H; Hvy – Aaron Dolphus, EG; Tomell One, B.
Class 1A: 103 – Ryan Violette, Astronaut; 113 – Travis Ahrens, A; 126 – Philip Gross, Cocoa Beach; 132 – Matthew Seymour, Titusville; 138 – Leo Torres, Rockledge; 145 – Romel Shorter, T; Austin Hager, Space Coast; 152 – Trace Woxberg, R; 160 – Jonathan Pickens, A; 182 – Matt Lorenzi, SC; 220 – Travis Dunbar, A.