Challenge: Find a quicker rise to national prominence than Leon rising senior Gabe Beyer has had in the sport of wrestling.
Beyer has wrestled for just two high school seasons.
On Wednesday of this past week, Beyer stood on the mat at the 2015 AAU Scholastic Duals – more commonly known as the Disney Duals since it takes place at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports complex in Kissimmee – with an undefeated 12-0 record and one match remaining.
In the All-Star division on a South Florida All-Star team that recruited him to be its heavyweight, no less.
“For me, I have just constantly worked and worked and worked and worked,” Beyer said. “I flew straight to Disney from Arizona where I’d been doing Arizona (wrestling) camps. I was training constantly in the two weeks before.”
Beyer, who went 14-1 last year in a lower division in winning a gold medal and taking All-American honors, fell 4-3 in his final match to claim a silver medal and All-American status.
But it’s how last year’s 2A state runner-up and 2015 All-Big Bend Wrestler of the Year got there.
Beyer beat four top-20 nationally ranked heavyweight wrestlers, including the No. 4 wrestler in the country – Nick Coe, a 6-foot-6 defensive end recruit for football with offers from major Division-I schools, including Auburn.
“It was definitely a rush,” said Beyer, who is 6-0 and 270 pounds. “It’s just nice to know all my work paid off. It was very fulfilling for me.”
Beyer, who was a first team All-Big Bend offensive lineman after the 2014 football season, also beat NC State commit Mike Rogers, a Pennsylvania champ with eight state titles.
“It’s kind of opened his eyes to where he is and what his potential is.” Leon coach Chuck Ringel said. “We’re hoping he’s ranked after this. If these guys are paying attention at all he should be a ranked wrestler. He should be up there top 20, top 15 somewhere.”
Grant brothers dominate
Though they wrestled with different clubs and in lower divisions than high school teammate Beyer, Leon brothers Joey (182 pounds), Justin (160 pounds) and J.T. Grant (220 pounds) also had spectacular weeks at the Disney Duals.
“That week was tough and we had competition from all across the United States,” said Joey Grant, who wrestled Disney for the first time. “Gabe was wrestling All-Stars, I was wrestling Community and my brothers were wrestling Beginner and Intermediate. There were multiple state placers from Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, and North Carolina. And I completely dominated my weight class. Gabe beat a national champion that was No. 3 in the nation. My brothers dominated their weight classes.”
Joey, a senior, went 12-0 and took home a gold medal, while rising sophomores Justin (8-1) and J.T. (9-1) each claimed silver medals and captured All-American honors.
“Everyone sees our potential, and Gabe is just like a brother to us,” Joey Grant said. “We share in our accomplishments. We all work on our goals together. I knew what I could do, and I just had confidence in myself. I just used my strength and my skill. Coach Ringel taught me everything about wrestling and I used those moves.”
Lincoln, Florida High, Wakulla, Chiles yield medalists
While Leon ran roughshod over its competition, other local schools had individuals compete as well at Disney and come out in stellar fashion.
Lincoln rising senior Isaac Gutierrez finished second in his 170-pound weight class, while recent Trojans grads Jason Osagie and Damian Loggins each finished third in Community-I heavyweight. All earned All-American honors, having won at least seven matches.
Facing top competition lends itself to a launching point for the next high school season.
“From Isaac, I saw what he’s been capable of the whole time,” Lincoln coach Mike Crowder said. “He’s been wrestling with us since he was in third grade and I’ve been waiting for him to break free and hit that point. He finally hit it and he just looked outstanding the entire weekend. He only lost one match and it was to a kid that took third in the state of Ohio.”
Additionally, Chiles grad Winslow Robinson (154 pounds) and rising junior Gavin Hoard (170 pounds) became medalists and All-Americans as they wrestled with Wakulla’s club.
The War Eagles’ team finished second in its pool and 14th in a division of 100 clubs. Wakulla rising junior Larry Smith (113), grad Dy’Juan Carney (126), senior Chris Surace (160) earned All-America recognition.
Finally, Florida High took home three medals with rising sophomore Bryan Metcalf (120) and rising senior Drew Hostetter (152) taking copper medals. Seminoles rising junior Cam Brown went 9-1 at 195 pounds and earned a silver medal.
“Going to tournaments like that is huge, especially for young guys getting to see big-time competition,” Florida High coach Clay Allen said. “It’s not something you can get any time. They get to see All-Star guys wrestle and you get to tell them, ‘That’s what you want to be. You want to wrestle up at that level.’ So it is big.”