St. Thomas wrestlers take another aim at state title
November 16, 2011St. Thomas Aquinas High School
Posted on Wed, Nov. 16, 2011
St. Thomas Aquinas wrestler Alex Uhre, top, is among the wrestlers the Raiders will count on to lead them to a state title.
Last year was a learning process.
This time around, expectations have increased for the St. Thomas Aquinas wrestling team.
The Raiders finished the 2010 campaign in sixth place at the 3A wrestling finals with a team score of 86 points. Although the squad lost Brandon Pellecer, who graduated after placing fourth in state, it returns everybody else. Add in some key transfers and St. Thomas Aquinas has the potential for plenty of success in 2011-12.
“We were a young but good team [last year], and we had a couple of quality kids that moved into the program that makes us a very strong team this year,” coach Robert Wimberley said.
The newcomers have had their own success elsewhere. Junior Shiquan Hall (120 pounds) finished first and third place at state for South Dade. Kris Iglesias (145 pounds) is a junior from Miami-Palmetto who placed sixth last year, and junior Gio Jiovenetta (160 pounds) from Douglas finished fifth.
The three juniors join an already talented group of wrestlers, which includes junior Alex Uhre (113 pounds), who placed third and fifth in state and is a two-time county champion. Sophomore Sal Guerrero, also a county champion, qualified for state a year ago. He picked up a preseason victory over Cardinal Gibbons’ Jamal Morris — who won the 112-pound state title last year.
With the skill and talent within the roster, St. Thomas will provide a challenge for the 1A Chiefs in Broward.
Last year, the Raiders finished in second in the county behind Gibbons. In preparing for this season, the team participated in the “Grappler Fall Classic” in Tecumseh, Mich., in October and fared positively.
“With the mix of quality returning wrestlers and the infusion of three quality transfers and incoming freshman, our wrestling room has become very competitive on a daily basis,” Wimberley said.
Other members of the team are senior Nick Perez (132 pounds), junior Anthony Colon (138 pounds), sophomore John Weiss — brother of former state champion Paul Weiss (now at at Appalachian State) — and senior Brad Mills (220).
The biggest difference from last year is more experience; although a year ago the team was happy to make it to state, it now knows it’s supposed to.
“You expect more out of yourself and,” he said, “the goals are obviously set higher.”