Jesuit wrestling culminated a four-year period of excellence with a historic performance at the Class 2A State Tournament on Saturday (March 5) in Kissimmee.
When the last match was complete at Silver Spurs Arena, five Tigers had earned individual State crowns and Jesuit wrestling sat atop the team standings as State Tournament Champions –unprecedented achievements in program history.
Propelled by an exceptional senior class, the Tigers scored more points, 189, than any school in any classification. They outdistanced runner-up Charlotte by 42 points.
Four of the five State Champions were seniors, and their titles were won with an arithmetic symmetry as Tom Crook (145 pounds) won his school-record 4th State title, Braden Basile (132) earned his 3rd, Jack Crook (152) his 2nd, and Sergio Desiante (195) his 1st. Desiante ascended from 4th as a freshman to 3rd as a sophomore to 2nd last year to State Champion as a senior.
Along with classmate Danny Vargas (120), who placed 4th this year and 2nd in 2021, Jesuit's senior class tallied 10 individual State titles, 3 State runners-up, 3 3rd-place results, and 2 4th-place finishes at State. Four have signed to wrestle in college: Tom Crook at Virginia Tech, Basile at Army West Point, Jack Crook at Harvard, and Desiante at Tennessee-Chattanooga.
The seniors also had helped Jesuit to the wrestling program's first State title as sophomores in 2020, when the Tigers won the State Duals.
Jesuit's 5th individual State Champion this year was Roman Lermer '24 (106). Lermer has been State runner-up in Class A as a freshman at Admiral Farragut. Wrestling first in the Finals on Saturday, Lermer's victory by 6-4 decision launched Jesuit's incredible 5-for-5 run in Finals matches.
Draven McCall '25 (126) and Nathan McGill '23 (126) both placed 3rd at State after both had finished 3rd in the Region and won District titles.
Josiah Jenkins '22 and Gavin Young '23 both also won individual District titles this year and then qualified for State, Jenkins as the Region runner-up and Young placing 3rd at Region. Garrett Hoss '22 (138) and Julian Alonso '24 (220) also had advanced to the Region Tournament, earning 2nd and 4th, respectively, at Districts.
At Convocation on Tuesday (March 8), school president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. celebrated the championship, recognizing each of the wrestlers as head coach Sal Basile presented them with their State Championship medals, with their family and the student body in attendance.
The State Championship is the 27th earned by a Jesuit team in eight sports. The first came in 1950 when Jesuit basketball became the first Catholic school in Florida to win a State title. Soccer, with seven, has the most titles of any Jesuit sport.
Below is a photo slideshow from the wrestling State Tournament, and below that is a slideshow from the Convocation recognition: