It was the most anticipated matchup in Florida prep wrestling: Jesuit vs. Lakeland Lake Gibson, a No. 1 vs. No. 2 showdown.
For a year, ever since the Tigers battled the Braves down to the wire at Lake Gibson last season – Lake Gibson went on to win its second straight Class 2A State Duals Championship – this was the dual match everyone was waiting for.
Friday night (Jan. 24) in Kissimmee, in the State Duals Quarterfinal, the Tigers and Braves didn't disappoint. The epic rematch came down to the final match, with Jesuit's Kai Owen '22 securing a major decision at 106 pounds, 10-1, giving Jesuit four points to lift the Tigers to the historic win, 29-27.
The following day, Jesuit powered past Palmetto Ridge 47-19 in the Semifinal and steamrolled Ft. Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas 71-6 in the Final to capture the school's first team State Championship in wrestling (see results below).
"It's an unreal feeling," said senior Ethan Basile '20, who won by pin vs. Lake Gibson and St. Thomas Aquinas.
Among many important moments in the Lake Gibson dual were the 132-pound match between No. 1 ranked Jack Crook '22 and No. 2-ranked Alejandro Rosario of Lake Gibson, with Crook's 15-4 major dec. giving Jesuit an extra point.
However, the Tigers trailed 27-16 after 11 of the 14 matches before Andre Mortensen '20 turned it all around. Wrestling up a weight class at 220 in a strategic move by head coach Sal Basile, Mortensen, who is ranked No. 6 at 195 pounds, wrestled the No. 6-ranked 220-pounder, Lake Gibson's Tristan Middlebrook. Mortensen grinded out a 6-2 win to give Jesuit three points and cut the margin to 27-19.
Mason Arnold '21, the No. 1-ranked heavyweight, then won by pin in just 30 seconds. It gave Jesuit six more points to cut the deficit to 27-25 and set the stage for the big victory by the No. 1-ranked Owen over No. 2 Hayden Whidden. Jesuit's other wins vs. Lake Gibson were Braden Basile '22 at 120 and Tom Crook '22 at 126.
The State Duals is one of two State Championships in Florida prep wrestling. The other is the traditional State Tournament. In the State Duals, teams go head-to-head in all 14 weight classes, with the winning team advancing. In the State Tournament, wrestlers compete as individuals and vie for individual District, Region, and State titles, and how far they advance individually determines how may points are added to the team total.
Last season, four Jesuit wrestlers earned individual State titles and the Tigers finished 2nd at the State Tournament, behind ... Lake Gibson. The two schools are expected to battle it out for the State Tournament Championship in early March.
Click below for a photo slideshow from Saturday's championship win over St. Thomas Aquinas. Below that are the match-by-match results vs. Lake Gibson, Palmetto Ridge, and St. Thomas Aquinas.
Quarterfinal: Jesuit 29, Lake Gibson 27
106: Kai Owen (J) maj. dec. Hayden Whidden (LG) 10-1; 113: Jesse Gehr (LG) dec. Daniel Vargas (J) 5-2; 120: Braden Basile (J) dec. Blake Walker (LG) 8-7; 126: Tom Crook (J) dec. Connor Williams (LG) 3-0; 132: Jack Crook (J) maj. dec. Alejandro Rosario (LG) 15-4; 138: Brendon Abdon (LG) dec. Alfonso Vargas (J) 10-8; 145: Ethan Basile (J) p. Chase Butler (LG) 2:42; 152: Evan Butler (LG) dec. Sergio Desiante (J) 9-2; 160: Frank Solorzano (LG) dec. Aidan Gingell (J) 7-4; 170: Raul Soto (LG) dec. Tim Eberly (J) 8-5; 182: Ashton Habeil (LG) p. Joe Santana (J) 1:34; 195: Caden Cunningham (LG) by FF; 220: Andre Mortensen (J) dec. Tristan Middlebrook (LG) 6-2; 285: Mason Arnold (J) p. Jeremy McQueen (LG) 0:30.
Semifinal: Jesuit 47, Palmetto Ridge 19
106: Kai Owen (J) p. Tyler Washburn (PR) 1:48; 113: Cullen Guerrero (PR) dec. Daniel Vargas (J) 10-4; 120: Braden Basile (J) p. Vincent Sasso (PR) 1:36; 126: Tom Crook (J) dec. Brennan Van Hoecke (PR) 8-3; 132: Jack Crook (J) p. Roman Garcia (PR) 1:58; 138: Adrian Ayala (PR) dec. Alfonso Vargas (J) 9-4; 145: Ethan Basile (J) by FF; 152: Sergio Desiante (J) dec. Landon Taylor (PR) 3-1; 160: Hector Henriquez (PR) maj. dec. Aidan Gingell (J) 9-1; 170: Tim Eberly (J) p. Aiden Vega (PR) 0:26; 182: Antonio Petraglia (PR) dec. Joe Santana (J) 4-3; 195: Andre Mortensen (J) tech. Angel Mendez (PR) TF 15-0; 220: Trillyon Fils-Aime (PR) p. Brett Gerena (J) 1:31; 285: Mason Arnold (J) p. David Henry (PR) 0:26
Final: Jesuit 71, St. Thomas Aquinas 6
106: Kai Owen (J) p. Carter Bass (STA) 1:18; 113: Daniel Vargas (J) p. Michael Szymanik (STA) 0:43; 120: Braden Basile (J) p. Brock Coburn (STA) 3:23; 126: Tom Crook (J) p. Michael Sarron (STA) 1:54; 132: Jack Crook (J) p. Ethan Wigutow (STA) 1:19; 138: Alfonso Vargas (J) maj. dec. Frank Messina (STA) 16-8; 145: Ethan Basile (J) p. Patrick McNamara (STA) 1:17; 152: Sergio Desiante (J) p. Marcus Telcy (STA) 1:46; 160: Aidan Gingell (J) p. Skyler Hall (STA) 1:19; 170: Tim Eberly (J) p. Adam Jacob (STA) 0:33; 182: Joe Santana (J) p. Kade Wehby (STA) 1:21; 195: Andre Mortensen (J) maj. dec. Noah Lusk (STA) 13-5; 220: Anthony Mingarelli (STA) p. Brett Gerena (J) 3:11; 285: Mason Arnold (J) dec. Tyreak Sapp (STA) 3-2.