Three Region 2A-3 wrestling matches to watch not involving Delago, Schneider

The Region 2A-3 wrestling touranment begins Friday.

The Region 2A-3 wrestling touranment begins Friday.

If Fort Myers’ Mike Delago and Riverdale’s Cole Schneider don’t face off in the the 285-pound final at the Region 2A-3 championships Saturday at Charlotte High there will be plenty of disappointed fans.

The rivalry has built up over the last few years with the two sharing a mutual respect but also not afraid to trade a few barbs. All eyes will certainly be on the defending 2A state champion Schneider and his biggest competition as they could provide a preview of a match at the FHSAA state championships next week in Kissimmee.

However, Saturday’s main event shouldn’t overshadow some of the other much-anticipated matches that night.

Here are three possible matches that could bring fans to their feet and perhaps outshine the projected 285-pound final.

1. Nick Richards (Ida Baker, 23-4) vs. Gage Schield (Riverdale, 31-1)

Weight class: 182

Projected round: Final

The skinny: This is another dream match where fans will be done a disservice if it doesn’t materialize. Schield is the typical Riverdale state championship hopeful, who is always looking to attack and put his opponents in uncomfortable situations. He had no problems with Richards at the Lee County Athletic Conference tournament, dispatching him with one of his 25 pins this season. However, Richards got the best of the matchup at the District 2A-11 meet last week, dealing Schield his only loss of the season.

Prediction: Schield

2. Jalen Soto (Cypress Lake, 38-0) vs. Colten Thomas (Fort Myers, 6-5)

Weight class:132

Projected round: Semifinal

The skinny: The 132-pound region champion will come from this side of the bracket. Thomas, a Duke signee, wrestled his first matches of the season at the LCAC tournament as he was making his way back from a knee injury. He opted not to face Soto in the final because of a lingering injury. It didn’t show at all at districts as Thomas rolled through the 2A-11 tournament, capping it with a dominant 15-0 victory in the final. Soto is undefeated this season and took third at states last year.

Prediction: Soto

3. James Monos (Riverdale, 26-2) vs. Ryan Rubenacker (Charlotte, 33-1)

Weight class: 106

Projected round: Semifinal

The skinny: Monos’ road to a state title will become extremely difficult starting right here. The senior is looking to top last season where he won 50 matches and brought home a region championship. Rubenacker has won some big matches this season, which included a Captain Archer tournament title and a District 2A-10 crown.

Prediction: Monos

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