Kris Hayward’s Riverdale Raiders haven’t won a state title since 2009 when they were still in Class A. This weekend they look to put an end to the three year drought, taking seven wrestlers to the FHSAA finals in Lakeland.
Of the seven wrestlers making the trip, three are coming off first-place finishes at last week’s Region 2A-3 meet at Chartlotte High.
Scout.com No. 1 Christian Jurney (30-1) will be the favorite at 145 and is likely to see Scout.com No. 2 Lake Gibson’s Chase Krutzky (45-3) in the semifinals.
Riverdale’s Edwin Etienne (46-1) defeated Tampa Jesuit’s Austin Underwood (Scout.com No. 1) in the regional semifinals, scoring a 7-4 decision at 220. The two are in separate brackets meaning a re-match in the state final is possible.
At 195, Treston Dunn (41-5) is the Region 2A-3 champion, defeating Largo’s Danny Bergstrom (31-3) in the final. Scout.com No. 1 Demetrius Hill didn’t make weight in the first round at the regional so he won’t be competing at the state meet. The 195 title is up for grabs and Dunn may have the easiest route to the final in the bottom bracket. Bergstrom and Scout.com No. 2 Creekside’s Shane Carpenter are in the top bracket.
The most intriguing matchup will be at 160 where Lehigh’s Jabari Irons (45-1) has gone from unranked at the county meet to Scout.com’s No. 4 entering states. Irons, a senior, is the Region 2A-3 champion and could face Riverdale junior Tyler Floyd (46-12) in the state semifinal.
Irons will have to deal with Scout.com No. 3 Daniel Devers of Columbia in the second round. Floyd was No. 1 in the state but has been dealing with a shoulder injury and hasn’t been at his best. He will battle with Scout.com No. 2 Olympic Heights’ Mike Aroyo (48-5) in the first round.
The heavyweight bracket is setup for another final between Fort Myers senior Fequierson Charles and Barron Collier junior Brady Pallente. The two have met three times already with Charles leading the series 2-1. Pallente (52-3) is the Region 2A-3 champion after defeating Charles (39-1) 4-2 in triple overtime in the final.
Charles will be joined by senior Abdias Corgelas (182) and sophomore Levi McQuinn (170) at the state final. Corgelas placed third at the regional meet and McQuinn, a sophomore, injury defaulted for fourth.
Cypress Lake will have the young but talented duo of Colten Thomas (106) and Corey Kerkesner (195) at Lakeland. Thomas (18-3) is a freshman and Kerkesner (17-5) is a sophomore.
Ida Baker will bring Scout.com No. 1 Brandon Gacad (49-1) to state. Gacad, a senior, won his first regional title last weekend and four wins will bring him his first state title. He finished as runner-up the past two years.
Junior Nick Anthony (23-2) of Cape Coral doesn’t have the same amount of match time as his counterparts at 132 but is No. 2 in his class. Anthony will have to upend undefeated Jamarius Jackson (36-0) from Orange Park Ridgeview in the semifinal to get into the final.
At 138, Seahawks senior Bruno Bredicean comes in with a chip on his shoulder after comments were directed toward him on wrestling forums prior to the Region 2A-3 meet. Bredicean placed third at the regional meet. This is his first state meet.