FORT MYERS -- For the second time in as many weeks, Alan Morano has made history for Bradenton Christian. The eighth-grade 113-pounder won the Panthers' first region title at the Class 1A-Region 3 tournament in Fort Myers on Saturday one week after he became BCS' first district champion. He is the first wrestler in program history to qualify for the state tournament, which begins Friday in Kissimmee.
Bradenton Christian's other two wrestlers fell short of the top-four spot needed to qualify for the Class 1A state tournament at Silver Spurs Arena, as did all three wrestlers both Bayshore and Saint Stephen's sent to Evangelical Christian School this weekend.
Southeast was the biggest team winner among county teams, qualifying four of its seven wrestlers who competed at the region tournament. Stephen Kelle finished second in the 170-pound division, Jonathan Locke nabbed a third-place finish at 152 pounds, and Randy Torres and Darrien Grant each finished fourth at 113 and 195 pounds, respectively. Torres and Locke will be making their first trip to the state tournament. All four are juniors.
Locke had to dig out of the deepesy hole during the weekend. The 152-pounder lost in the first round Friday and needed four consecutive wins in wrestlebacks to clinch his first trip to the state tournament. Both Kelle and Grant will make their second appearance in Kissimmee.
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The Seminoles, who had the ninth most wrestlers at the tournament, tied for nine out of 37 teams to lead Manatee County teams in overall scoring.