KISSIMMEE – Matt Cates won a state championship in high school wrestling Saturday night, taking the 170-pound weight class for Palm Bay High.
He defeated Natorian Lee of Orange Park for the Class 2A title, 5-3, at Silver Spurs Arena.
Seth Adeclat placed second in 2A at 120 pounds for Heritage, and five other Brevard County high schoolers also won medals.
“I’ve been working for this for seven years of my life,” Cates said. “The reality of it …I don’t even know what to say.”
Cates had been ranked first much of the season, and he finished his senior year at 57-1. As a Palm Bay ninth-grader, he had suffered a broken leg in a December match and missed more than a year while recovering. He returned to action a year ago and placed third as a junior in the same building.
Adeclat and Cates won semifinal matches in the morning. In evening finals, Adeclat was pinned by Chris Rivera of Fort Myers at 5:35.
After receiving his medal, Adeclat admitted there was a time when he did not expect to stand on the state medal stand, and he took some satisfaction in knowing that, before the weekend, few others did, either.
“People thought I was going to get fourth or not even medal at all,” he said, “so, yeah, it feels good to do it.”
Five other Brevard County wrestlers won medals, including three who reached the semifinal round before their first loss. Zac Viers of Space Coast (195) placed fifth in 1A. Palm Bay’s Shane Stewart (132) took sixth and Bryce Poppell (160) fifth, both in 2A.
The top six in each weight class earned medals.
Astronaut’s Carson Kirk, at 106 pounds, worked his way back to consolation rounds and placed sixth in 1A. Palm Bay’s Dylan Perrow at 138 did the same, taking fourth in 2A.