Team Race: With the departure of Olympic Heights to 2A, this is largely a two-team race for the Region 3 title. St Thomas Aquinas, which took 3rd last season, return 138 lb. State Runner-up Grant Aronoff, move-in State Placer Bryce Marcus, and State Qualifiers Josiah Gittman and Max Wigutow. Given that firepower they might be the team to beat, but they will need to replace State Placers Richerd Desir-Jones and Jonah Gomes to solidify their place as favorites. Wellington, which captured the Region 3 title a season ago, return ten with 2015 post-season experience including State Qualifiers Jared Abramson, Michael James, and Colton Macfarlane. They, like so many of the top teams in the Region, lose some firepower (5 State Qualifiers have graduated and moved onto other things). Whichever team can find points and qualifiers from other than their top wrestlers might be the team to beat in 2016. Keep an eye on Forest Hill (who moves up from 2A), Ft Pierce Central, which finished 8th in 2015 and return State Qualifier William Davis, and Palm Beach Gardens. Don’t be surprised if Coral Springs surprises a few people and lands in the top 5 (perhaps top 3) in 2016.
Contenders: Just three Region 3 wrestlers, who return in 2015-2016, finished the 2014-2015 season on the podium in Kissimmee. 138 lb. State Runner-up Grant Aronoff of St Thomas Aquinas headlines the group. Aronoff dropped his finals match to Connor Prince of Palm Harbor 8-3, but make no mistake Aronoff is probably the favorite heading into 2015-2016 (no matter the weight class). He had wrestled a superb “off-season”, downing PA’s super tough Sammy Sasso at NHSCA as well as others, and looks to lead the Raiders into the 2016 post-season. Pablo Asenjo (4th at 113) of Forest Hill (2A in 2015) and Bryce Marcus (5th at 126 in 1A) of St Thomas Aquinas both found the podium and have a legitimate shot at the top step in 2016. Both will need to wrestle extremely well if they are going to knock off Telfer, Marshall, Lugo, Valdes, and others for the title.
Hunting the Podium: Seventeen Region 2 wrestlers qualified for the State Tournament in 2015, but failed to make the podium. Joey Staats of Martin County, Joe Raich of Palm Beach Gardens, Ivan Pena of Palm Beach Central, and Jared Abramson and Colton Macfarlane of Wellington finished the 2015 tournament with two or more wins and are likely candidates to be high on the podium in 2016. William Davis of Ft Pierce Central, Jorge Loy of Forest Hill, Jarrod Smiley of Seminole Ridge, Eddie Barrett of Atlantic, Kiesean Stephens of Coral Springs, and Josiah Gittman of St Thomas Aquinas finished 1-2 in Kissimmee in 2015. Each will be looking to improve on that mark and find the podium in 2016. Daniel Rojas of Vero Beach, Julio Mirambaux of Forest Hill, Francisco Farr and Liam LaPeter of Seminole Ridge, Michael James of Wellington, Chandler Ferguson of Atlantic, Nilson Bretas of Coral Springs, William Calloway of Piper, Joseph Bolton-Henry of Plantation, and Max Wigutow of St Thomas Aquinas finished their 2015 trip to Kissimmee 0-2. Each member of that group will be looking to be on the podium in 2016, but must wrestle much better in 2016 if any is going to medal.
Under the Radar: Many of the following wrestlers finished the 2015 Region Tournament with two or more wins. Don’t be surprised if each punches his ticket to Kissimmee in 2016. Win four matches in a row in Kissimmee and you are a State Champion. That isn’t likely, but each could find the podium if given the opportunity. Better keep an eye on the following from:
District 9: Anthony Oreo, Sean Harris, Cecil Rolle, and George Sikes of Ft Pierce Central, D’jokaef Jeanite, Luke Pidgeon, Anthony Powell, and Terill Taylor of Palm Beach Gardens, Theo Gerve and Sal Spera of Treasure Coast, and Geffrey Cosgrave of Vero Beach.
District 10: Adrian Barja and Jordan Earle of Forest Hill, Kyle Johnson of Palm Beach Central, Dylan Smith of Royal Palm Beach, and Eric Reid, Eric Saber, and Elroy Taylor of Wellington.
District 11: Steeve Raymond and Dondre Thompson of Atlantic, Manny Paules and Garrett Younker of Boca Raton, Sean Campbell, Kenny Deangles, Noah Maher, and Justin Nichols of Park Vista, and Joel Govia of Santaluces.
District 12: Neil Calero of Coral Springs, Kassio Colaco of Fort Lauderdale, Zain Cruz of Monarch, Jordan Johnson of Plantation, and Christian Arechabaleta and Reily Findlan of St Thomas Aquinas.