Brandon Dossey and Alfonso Serrano practiced on the mat together and rooted for one another as Manatee High wrestling teammates last season. Now, they are fierce competitors.
In Saturday’s Class 3A, Region 2 meet hosted by Kissimmee Osceola, they squared in the 182-pound weight class for a region title. Dossey pinned Serrano, who transferred to Celebration near Orlando, in one minute, 56 seconds. Both advance to next weekend’s state championships at Silver Spurs Arena in Kissimmee.
“That was kind of unique,” Manatee coach Andrew Gugliemini said of watching two wrestlers he coached last season meet in a region final.
Dossey, a junior who narrowly missed placing in the top six at states last year after dislocating his shoulder, has won county and district titles this season. He heads to the state tournament with an impressive 58-1 record.
“He’s looking good,” Gugliemini said of Dossey, who went 4-0 Saturday with three pins. “He had a great finals match. He’s focused and he is confident in his abilities. He’s four wins away from a state title.”
Another Manatee wrestler headed to the state tourney is Noah Wadle, a freshman who placed fourth in Saturday’s regional. Wadle, who went 3-2 at 106, lost 8-7 to Riverview’s Lane Keck in the third-place match.
Nonetheless, Wadle heads to states with a 54-7 record.
Lakewood Ranch also will send two wrestlers to the state series. Chase Sharp, a senior with a 48-3 mark, was a finalist at 195 and Ryan Brown finished third at 132.
Overall, Manatee placed 11th and Lakewood Ranch 14th at regionals. Sarasota was the lone area team to crack the top 10 by finishing sixth.
The Sailors, led by 120-pound champion Michael Bush, qualified three wrestlers for states. Bush, a senior, won a 5-3 decision over Steinbrenner’s Anthony Vitale in the final. Bush went 4-0 at regionals, capping that run by handing Vitale his first loss of the season.
Sarasota’s runner-ups were Mason Marchbank at 126 and Brandon VanKampen at 138.
Elsewhere, Braden River’s heavyweight Brendan Bengtsson had a strong showing in the 2A-3 meet at Punta Gorda in Charlotte. The senior, who last season was a state runner-up, had a narrow 1-0 loss to North Fort Myers’ Adolphus Taylor in the final. Bengtsson heads to states with a 44-4 record.
Lastly, in the A-3 meet at Englewood’s Lemon Bay, Saint Stephen’s qualified three wrestlers for states. At 113, Jake Manning placed third. Finishing fourth at 138 and 182, respectively, were teammates Maxwell Manning and Parker Lansberg.