- By Dave Brousseau Special to The Post
Improvement has been steady for the American Heritage wrestling team.
Though the Stallions came up short for a Region 4-1A championship on Saturday at Cardinal Gibbons High, there is a promising future ahead.
Heritage-Delray qualified eight wrestlers to next weeks state championships at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee. That’s a remarkable percentage considering the team has only 11 wrestlers and just one senior.
The Stallions, who were the only team to have five individual winners in the championship finals, finished third with 208 points. Cardinal Gibbons, who was the regional champ for the 20th time, finished with 228 points.
“It’s very refreshing that we are in this position,” said third year Heritage coach James Reese, “but it’s been expected because we’ve had a tough schedule and have learned from that.”
The Stallions had a handful amount of meets out of the area that would ultimately improve the team chances later in the season.
“We are seeing things come together for this team,” Reese said. “We are battled tested, but we do a lot of extra work. It’s really showing and now is where we want to peak. We’re enjoying this run.”
It’s easy to see Heritage’s progression as they advanced just five wrestlers to state last season.
The Stallions all-tine top finish at the state tournament was sixth at the Class 1A meet in 2015. Ryan Thomas is the only wrestler in school history to win an individual state title. He won back-to-back championships in 2015-16.
Nicholas DeSola, the team’s lone senior, won his first regional title by defeating Terrel Taylor of Coral Springs Charter 6-1 in the 138-pound championship match.
“I waited a long time to win regionals,” DeSola said. “We have a young team that has big goals. I just have to teach them to keep it in their head to get the job done.”
Other than DeSola, the other regional champ for the Stallions were Vincenzo Napolitana at 113-pounds, Colby Uderitz (120), Donovan Ortiz (126), Frankie Talshahar (145) and Alex Cruz (170).
Jupiter Christian earned a pair of regional champions.
Dylan Layton won by decision at 106-pounds and Kyven Higgins won via pin in the heavyweight division.
Team scores (Top 10)
1. Cardinal Gibbons 228; 2. Somerset 222.5; 3. American Heritage 208; 4. Mater Lakes 134.5; 5. Coral Springs Charter 117; 6. Jupiter Christian 98.5; 7. Key West 93; 8. Miami Pace 80.5; 9. Miami Jackson 59; 10. Westminster Christian 47.
106: Layton (JUPC) t.p. Weidler (CAL) 17-1; 113: Napolitana (AHD) t.p. Caban (SOM) 22-2; 120: Uberitz (AHD) d. Mosquera (SOM) 12-6; 126: Ortiz (AHD) d. Smith (MJ) 8-3; 132: Estevez (SOM) d. Armengol (MAL) 2-1; 138: DeSola (AHD) d. T. Taylor (CSC) 6-1; 145: F. Talshahar (AHD) d. E. Temes (GIBB) 13-3; 152: Concepcion (GIBB) d. J. Taylor (CSC) 7-2; 160: Ley (GIBB) t.p. Concepcion (SOM) 17-2; 170: Cruz (AHD) d. Hall (FPW) 3-2; 182: Benton (SOM) p. Perez (ME) 1:09; 195: Torres (KW) d. Crull (GIBB) 4-1; 220: Schwartzbe (MAL) d. Miranda (SOM) 6-1; HWT: Higgins (JUPC) p. Benjamin (MP) 0:45.
106: Gillis (SOM) d. Gasper (AHD) 4-0; 113: Yancey (GIBB) p. Guerier (MP) 0:41; 120: A. Chitty (CSC) d. Torres (KW) 5-1; 126: Barnes (JUPC) d. Garcia (SOM) 11-1; 132: A. Temes (GIBB) d. Sarron (CSC) 4-1; 138: Bryant (GIBB) p. Alvarez (MAL) 3:28; 145: Vallador (SOM) d. N. Chitty (CSC) 15-10; 152: Suris (MAL) p. Roca (WC) 3:51; 160: Myers (AHD) p. Cruichshank (MP) 4:37; 170: Cannon (GIBB) p. Diaz (SOM) 1:29; 182: Talshahar (AHD) d. Hall (JUPC) 3-2; 195: Alvarez (MAL) d. Hartman (AH) 7-5; 220: Limperis (GIBB) d. Lugo (MP) 4-2; HWT: Dor (KW) d. Roosna (GIBB) 0:28.