Sebring’s Chris DeJesus didn’t waste any time to make it known that he was going to be a force this season. Coming away with a victory over Avon Park’s Delroy Blake at the Avon Park Preseason Classic despite giving up nearly 40 pounds, DeJesus hit the ground and never looked back, finishing with a sixth-place medal in the Class 2A state meet at 160 pounds.
“Chris had a great year,” said Sebring coach Josh Miller. “He beat a lot of tough kids this year. He had a tough state tournament and ended up getting a little banged up, but I’m very proud of him. He’s my first state placer and he earned every bit of it.”
DeJesus qualified for the state meet last year and Miller said getting a taste of the event let DeJesus know what he needed to do to join the elite wrestlers in the state and he went out and did just that.
“Chris put in numerous hours outside of practice,” Miller said. “He was a great example for the younger kids to see what is needed to take that next step.”
For his accomplishments, DeJesus has been selected as the 2013 Highlands Today All-Highlands Wrestler of the Year.
“Brendan is a very athletic, talented kid,” Miller said. “He came in without much knowledge, but finished way over .500. He qualified for regionals and came close to qualifying for state, but had a tough regional bracket with four of the top 12 kids in the state.”
“Dre was a big surprise for a freshman,” said Avon Park coach Blake Germaine. “I knew coming in that he was going to be a tough kid, but he did a lot better than I thought he would do this year. As the year went on, he just kept winning the matches I didn’t think he would win against juniors and seniors.”
“Jose never quits,” Germaine said. “He has the attitude where he doesn’t want to lose, even in the practice room every day. Whatever he decides to do in life, he’ll be successful.”
“Johnny showed up every day and worked hard,” Germaine said. “When it comes to competing, he wants to win. He was always asking how he could get better and what he needed to work on.”
“Bernard had a great year,” Germaine said. “He had a tough regional draw and he beat somebody at regionals who he lost to in districts. He’s never going to quit and that’s I like about him.”
“Dakota put in a lot of time over the summer and it showed,” Miller said. “He had a real tough district meet and I know he’s going to work hard over the summer.”
“He had an injury at the end of the year so he couldn’t compete in districts, but I think he would have been right on the bubble for going to state,” Germaine said. “He has the potential to do it next year.”
“Casey had one of the toughest classes in the state this year, but he definitely has the potential to qualify for state,” Miller said. “He can keep up with the best in the state and he’s putting in a lot of time right now.”
“He had a great year for us,” Miller said. “He wrestled in three different classes for us this year and had a good showing in the post-season. His weight class was probably the second toughest in the state.”
“Ty stepped up for us this year,” Miller said. “He’s a tough kid and really turned the corner this year. Once he got that confidence in himself he just took off.”
“He finally put it together and I knew he could,” Germaine said. “It was about him getting confidence and wrestling to his ability. He definitely has the ability to go and win it all next year.”
“Dylan tweaked his shoulder, but he had already signed to play football in college,” Germaine said. “We talked it over and thought it was better for him to sit out at regionals and get healthy for college football.”
“Luis had a great year and turned the corner this year,” Miller said. “It was funny to see at the end of the how many kids were afraid to go on the top position against him because he re-rolled and pinned a number of kids this year. His defensive game on the mat is really good and we look for big things from him next year as a senior.”
“Kenny has a bright future,” Germaine said.
“Nathan did really well for wrestling just three years, he didn’t wrestle his freshman year,” Miller said. “He worked hard this year and did well qualifying for state.”
For guiding the Avon Park Red Devils to their second straight Class 1A-District 7 title, Avon Park’s Blake Germaine has been selected as the Highlands Today All-Highlands Wrestling Coach of the Year.