On a glorious Saturday night (March 9) at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee, Jesuit wrestling seized four individual State Championships to cap off a sensational State Tournament and the best season in program history.
State titlists Ethan Basile '20 (145 pounds), Tom Crook '22 (120 pounds), Braden Basile '22 (113), and Kai Owen '22 gave the Tigers a school-record four champions, surpassing the mark of three set in 2016 (Adam Lewis '16, Brian Buser '16, and Julian Ramirez).
The Tigers also established new school records for most State Finalists with five (Mason Arnold '21 at 220 pounds was the 5th) and most State Placers with seven (Jack Crook '22 was 3rd at 126, Sergio Desiante '22 was 4th at 138), breaking the mark of six established in 1996 and 2014. (Click here for a Tampa Bay Times story about Jesuit's performance at State.)
The "Fantastic Four" Jesuit State Champions produced an electric Saturday night. The three freshmen wrestled in the first three matches of the night, with Owen (2-1 decision), Braden Basile (6-3 decision), and Tom Crook (8-7 decision) - all winning titles in succession, all in hard-fought matches over extremely highly accomplished and experienced competition.
A short time later, Ethan Basile, who had placed 4th at State as a freshman and 3rd as sophomore, grinded out his third victory of the season over Lake Gibson star Andreus Bond by a score of 4-1 to put the cherry on top of a perfect 60-0 junior season. After the final seconds ticked off, Basile unleashed a primal roar toward the large contingent of Jesuit supporters and then embraced his father, Jesuit head coach Sal Basile, in celebration.
Tom Crook also finished the year undefeated (58-0), and Jesuit's four State Champions finished 2018-19 with a combined record of 230-5 (Owen 55-4, Braden Basile 57-1).
The State Tournament was the culmination of a phenomenal season. Head coach Sal Basile and assistants Mike Joyce, David Mason, Marshall Smith, and Mike Schicchitano '01 guided Jesuit to an astounding eight tournament victories. The Tigers never finished below second in any event all season (even though many tournaments included more than 30 teams), including the runner-up finish at State behind repeat State Champion Lake Gibson.
Also, just prior to the State Finals, Joyce was recognized for his "Lifetime Service to Wrestling." In 2010, he was inducted into the Florida chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.
Please click below for an extensive photo slideshow from Saturday night's action in Kissimmee.