Seminole Ridge High School kicked off the first weekend of March by hosting the Class 3A, Region 3 championship wrestling tournament. A total of 28 schools from Vero Beach to Plantation competed on four mats in the gymnasium over the two-day event.
Grapplers who placed first through fourth in their weight division earned an opportunity to compete in the state individual’s tournament in Orlando set for March 8-9. A total of 11 wrestlers from the western communities will be headed to the state tournament.
Seminole Ridge will be sending three wrestlers: John Arnold (145 pounds, fourth place); Juan Hernandez (170 pounds, champion); and Nelson Sutton (285 pounds, second place). Royal Palm Beach High School will have Eduardo Aguirre-Flores (285 pounds, third place) headed to the state tournament. Wellington High School has seven headed to Orlando: Chakiris Townsend (113 pounds, champion); Ethan Howard (120 pounds, fourth place); Tony Widrig (126 pounds, fourth place); Lukas Forehand (132 pounds, champion); Zakar Graham (145 pounds, third place); Estefan Belmontes (160 pounds, second place); and Elijah Green (195 pounds, fourth place). All of the local grapplers will be competing for the individual state title in their weight category.
First year Seminole Ridge head coach Chad Chieffalo was presented with the opportunity to host this year’s regional tournament and was more than happy with the turnout.
“It went spectacular. I have one of the best groups of parent volunteers in Palm Beach County,” he explained. “I am very proud of the way our parents pulled together to make it one of the best tournaments of the season. For it being my first time hosting an event, let alone one of this magnitude, I must say we exceeded even my expectations.”
The Hawks have had a dry spell of multiple state qualifiers and a regional champion, according to Chieffalo, but he could not be happier with his wrestlers.
“I couldn’t be prouder of the way all the wrestlers went out and competed,” he said. “Any time you are able to send guys to compete at the state’s highest level, it brings attention to your program.”