PALM BAY — The Okeechobee High School Brahman wrestlers are regional champions after coming out on top in the 2A Region 4 tournament on Feb. 29 at Bayside High School in Palm Bay.
Okeechobee won by nine points over runner-up St. Thomas Aquinas, followed by a third place finish by Miami Southridge and fourth place by Heritage.
Seven Brahmans qualified for the state championship in Kissimmee on March 6-7. Isaac Herron finished in first place, followed by runner up Charlie Armstrong; third place went to Travis McKenna and Jose Monrroy; followed by three fourth-place finishes in Gabriel Bowen, Cody Deloney and Jayme Scurry.
The current nickname going around the team for the seven wrestlers who will be going to Kissimmee to represent Okeechobee is “The Magnificent Seven.”
“The team wrestled a fantastic this meet weekend,” said Brahman wrestling coach Bruce Jahner. “This was a team effort across the board. We won some big matches when we needed to and had a few surprises along the way. At the end of Friday night we were in first place with four other teams within 12 points. We had six in the semifinals and six more in the wrestle back. By the end of the semis, we had only won two matches and dropped to fourth place. That took a lot of air out of the team, and we really had to regroup with two rounds to go and ground to make up.”
Brahman wrestler Charlie Armstrong had a great match to make it to the finals for OHS, while Isaac Herron pinned his way into the finals.
Armstrong fell just short in the finals and finished second. In his finals match, Herron once again won with a pin, gripping his opponent in the second period in a very tight head lock.
Gabriel Bowen proved to be the Cinderella story of the weekend, as he came out and shocked a lot of people by placing fourth and qualifying. Cody Deloney stepped up and finished what he started four years ago and secured his trip to Kissimmee.
Travis McKenna shook the monkey off his back by winning the consolation semifinal this year. Travis had been in this position for the last two years and fell just short. This year he rolled through and placed third.
At 220 pounds, Jose Monrroy placed third by medical forfeit. Jayme Scurry defeated two strong opponents who had placed higher than him at districts to punch his ticket to the state tournament.
“We had some senior leaders that didn’t place but were able to score points for the team along the way,” explained Jahner. “Colby Shockley had one of the most exciting matches in the tournament in the first round, as he scored a huge pin over a previously ranked wrestler. Shaun Penrod won two matches but came up short in the semifinals. Todd Addington also won two matches but could not secure another berth to the tournament. Jace Brown, who is a freshman, came out of his shell and won a couple matches to put him just a step away from qualifying. Jace beat two opponents that had defeated him the week before at district.”
“We knew on paper we could be a tough team throughout the season if we could stay healthy and on weight,” concluded Jahner. “However, there is a big difference between paper and actually stepping on the mat. The bonding that came about was the biggest difference from other teams. The kids and parents were supporting each other week in and week out, and you saw that this weekend as the Brahmans had 40 members from the community come up and cheer their wrestlers to victory.”
Okeechobee’s own “Magnificent Seven” make their way to Kissimmee for the state tournament this weekend on March 6 and 7.