For the first time in a while, Palm Beach County did not produce any individual state wrestling champions, but it wasn’t due to lack of effort.
Forest Hill Community placed two wrestlers in the Class 3A finals and American Heritage placed one in Class 1A, but all three lost narrow decisions as the two-day tournament concluded Saturday night at Osceola County’s Silver Spurs Arena.
Pablo Asenjo came up just short in the 3A, 126-pound final against Flagler Palm Coast’s Avery Holder, losing a narrow 8-6 decision. Asenjo (28-4) had a 5-4 lead in the third period but gave up a reversal and back points with 40 seconds remaining to fall behind 8-5. He managed an escape but several late takedown attempts failed. Holder went to 50-1 with the win.
“It was really disappointing,” Asenjo said. “You spend all year building up to this moment and then let it slip away. I had opportunities to win this match and let it get away from me.”
Asenjo reached the finals by pinning South Dade’s Christian Morales in the semifinals earlier in the day.
American Heritage’s Frankie Talshahar echoed Asenjo’s frustration after the Class 1A, 138-pound final. Facing off against two-time state champion Mason Wohltman, Talshahar lost a heartbreaking 4-3 decision. Talshahar had a takedown disallowed late in the third period and failed to finish several other opportunities.
“I really felt I should have won that match. No excuses. I had a great game plan and just didn’t finish,” Talshahar said. “He (Wohltman) was a tough kid and countered my attacks well. Guess that’s why he’s a three-time champion. I just need to get better and try to come back next year.”
Talshahar, a freshman who finished the season 43-2, reached the finals with a 2-1 semifinal win over Arnold’s Richie McClanahan (65-2).
Although close, Forest Hill’s Jorge Loy’s Class 3A, 182-pound final against Fleming Island’s Jason Davis was a little anti-climatic. Both wrestlers spent most their time on their feet and only a late takedown by Davis in the second period was the difference in a 3-1 loss.
In addition to Talshahar, Heritage got fourth-place finishes from Dylan Morse (126) and Nick DeSola (132) to finish seventh in the team competition with 49 points. As expected Lake Highland Prep ran away with 1A title, placing 13 wrestlers on the podium, claiming eight champions and running up 298.5 team points.
In 3A, Forest Hill finished in eighth place with 55 points. Jared Abramson (126) and Eric Saber (170) claimed fourth and fifth place finishes, respectively, to help Wellington rally to a 12th-place finish with 42 points. South Dade, with six champions and 240.5 points, won the 3A title.
Olympic Heights (17th) was the top County finisher in Class 2A with 30 points. Brandon claimed an unprecedented 27th team championship with 110.5 points, edging second-place Lake Gibson (107).