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South Dade Strong in Regionals, Aiming For Sixth Straight Title

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Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019 9:12 am

The South Dade Buccaneers are in a good position to win their sixth consecutive state championship.

Six Bucs won regional titles with 11 qualifying for the state championships held this weekend in Kissimmee.

“Eleven going to state is pretty satisfying,” South Dade head coach Victor Balmeceda said, “but as a coach you think about the guys who didn’t qualify and your heart is broken for them.”

South Dade will have a strong representation at Silver Spurs Arena, but its top competition, Fleming Island, whom South Dade beat in the dual championships in January, had 12 who qualified.

“I think our quality is better,” Balmeceda said. “They out-number us, but I think our quality will over-compensate for their quantity. They’ve got really good kids, but the harder the tournament, the better we’re going to do.”

Brevin Balmeceda is looking to become only the second wrestler in Miami-Dade County history to be a four-time state champion. Former South Dade standout Earl Hall (2008-11) was the last. Balmeceda cruised to a regional title pinning all four of his opponents in one minute or less improving his record to 57-1.

Balmeceda is the Bucs’ headliner, but senior 170-pounder Todd Perry (45-3) and junior 132-pounder Bretli Reyna (52-3) are also defending state champs. Senior 126-pounder Tyler Orta (48-4), sophomore 138-pounder Joshua Swan (48-5), and senior 220-pounder Kenneth Crouse (51-8) round out the six who won regional titles.

“Our team looks very good,” Perry said. “There’s a lot of kids who have stepped up. We’re all keeping each other positive and we’re ready as a team.”

The other five who have qualified for state and will be keys for the Bucs in picking up much-needed points include freshman 106-pounder Adrian Morales (43-11), senior 113-pounder Jacob Delgado (43-9), sophomore 120-pounder Adrian Neco (15-5), junior 145-pounder Eric Temes (46-10), and junior 285-pounder Tanavious Shropshire (36-11).

“We’ve got a group of seniors who set the example of how much you could possibly dominate and all of our younger kids just try to emulate how good they do,” Victor Balmeceda said. “All they’re doing is trying to keep the

tradition alive.”

South Dade totaled the most points among the 32 teams at regionals with 264. Other local teams included Southridge (4th), Coral Reef (11th), and Homestead (20th).

Southridge had two regional champs in senior 113-pounder Christopher Busutil (62-3) and senior 152-pounder Johnny Lovett, a Central Michigan signee, who remained undefeated at 54-0 ending with mimicking shooting a gun at his competition.

“It meant I killed him,” Lovett said. “You can break something and repair it, but once you kill something like an animal it’s hard for that spirit to come back so that was the whole statement to let him know, ‘Buddy, you picked the wrong weight class.’ It’s not that he’s not getting better, it’s me

letting him know I’m the man here. I’m the man in this weight class and

letting him and everybody know they should have never came to this weight class.”

Lovett pinned Coral Park’s Steven Villalobos, who entered at 27-2, at 1:22.

“I had to really make a statement,” Lovett said.

“I beat him pretty bad at GMAC, but this time I wanted to show him that I’m undefeated for a reason. I’m going D-I so I need to wrestle like D-I so everyone’s got to get the same punishment.”

TOURNAMENT RESULTS

106 – Rios, SW, dec. Morales, SD, 7-6;

113 – Busutil, Sou, dec. Delgado, SD, 12-3;

120 – Melguizo, SW, dec. Huffman, Col, 7-5;

126 – Orta, SD, dec. Gonzalez, SW, 13-4;

132 – Reyna, SD, pinned Jones, Pal; 138 – Swan, SD, dec. Sanchez, NM, 14-6;

145 – Hernandez, SW, pinned Garcia, CP; 152 – Lovett, Sou, pinned, Villalobos, CP; 160 – Balmeceda, SD, pinned Valmy, NM;

170 – Perry, SD, pinned Becerra, Col;

182 – Vidaud, SW, dec. Bencid, CP, 2-1;

195 – Dascoli, Col, pinned DeAlmeida, CB;

220 – Crouse, SD, dec. Valdes, MH, 13-3; 285 – Sanchez, SW, pinned Diaz, CP

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