The Park Vista and Santaluces wrestling teams had an opportunity to compete in the inaugural Florida High School Athletics Association Class 3A Dual Team State Championships set for next weekend at Kissimmee Osceola High.
Those plans were dashed for both schools, however, as they lost to Fort Lauderdale-St. Thomas Aquinas and Coral Springs, respectively, in the Region 3-3A meet at Coral Springs High on Thursday.
Park Vista was edged by Aquinas 37-36, while Santaluces fell to Springs 66-18. Coral Springs would eventually advance to the first dual state championships with a 43-24 victory over Aquinas.
Despite the setback by both schools, Santaluces coach Sam Agresti and Park Vista coach Dave Winkler were both in agreement of the concept.
“Park Vista likes this because we are a better dual meet team,” Winkler said. “We don’t have the big hitters for the end-of-the-year state tournament.
“Some of the old-time coaches like Sam have been pushing for this forever. They did it this year and I’m real glad they did.”
The Cobras stayed in the match with Aquinas by winning seven matches and it came down to the last match on who would advance to the regional final against Coral Springs.
But Park Vista’s opportunity to advance ended when Eric Wilson lost 16-4 to Aquinas’ Gianni Guerriero.
Santaluces wasn’t quite as competitive against its opponent, winning only three of the 14 matches.
“This format has a lot of merit and I’ve been around 40-plus years,” Agresti said. “This should have been done years ago. There still are some flaws that need to be worked out, but it was nice to get it going.”
Of the 25 Palm Beach County schools that have wrestling teams, eight advanced to compete in the regionals.
Since high school state wrestling championships were first held in 1965, no Palm Beach school has yet to bring home a team state title.