Two area athletes finished the FHSAA tournament on the podium last weekend.
Hendon Haley and Amneous Chambers walked away from last weekend’s FHSAA 3A state wrestling championships with a similar goal achieved.
Both wrestlers — Haley from Durant, Chambers from Strawberry Crest — proved themselves as belonging in elite company as some of Florida’s greatest grapplers. They each had strong showings and managed to place.
Haley was the area’s highest finisher, coming in fourth place at the 132-pound tournament’s end and achieving his goal of joining his brother, Chase, as family members who have managed to both qualify for and place in the tournament.
He started the tournament by picking up a 6-1 decision over Miami-Columbus’s Dylan Mira. Haley then scored a fall over Fort Pierce’s Travon Ross at 1:31, which put the Durant Cougar in a semifinal match with eventual state champ Bretli Reyna of South Dade. Reyna sent Haley into the third-place bracket by scoring a technical fall at 5:02.
Haley faced off against Miami-Palmetto’s Destin Jones in the third-place semifinal and came away with the 7-5 decision, putting him up against North Miami’s Jackson Wenberg in the third-place match. Wenberg won with an 8-1 decision.
Before the tournament began, Haley told the Observer his goal was to place at states this month and attempt to win the tournament in his senior season. He completed the first goal and will soon begin working toward the second.
Of the three wrestlers Crest sent to Kissimmee, Chambers had the best outing at the tournament. The 182-pounder began his weekend with a win over Fort Pierce’s William St. Krantz, scoring a fall in 5:12. The Charger then took a loss in sudden victory-1 to Southwest Miami’s Adrian Vidaud, who went on to win the tournament.
Chambers entered the third-place bracket in its second round with a match against Miami-Palmetto’s Josh Mizelle, whom he beat by 6-3 decision. He then picked up a 4-1 decision over Gainesville-Buchholz’s Armando Acosta to pick up some momentum, but Celebration’s Alfonso Serrano handed Chambers his second loss in sudden victory-1 to send the Charger into the fifth-place match.
Chambers sealed his fifth-place finish with a 9-5 decision over Coral Park’s Sammy Bencid.
Also representing Strawberry Crest were Jarrett Affronti (126 pounds) and Triston Davidson (160 pounds). Affronti lost by a 6-4 decision in the first round to Timber Creek’s Jayden Tapia, then lost to Wellington’s Tony Widrig by fall at 2:10. Davidson beat Fleming Island’s Tanner Hill by 7-2 decision to advance to the second round, where eventual state champ Brevin Balmeceda of South Dade beat him by technical fall at 4:10. Davidson beat Pinellas Park’s Brevin Blake with a fall at 3:52 in the third-place bracket to advance to its semifinal round, where he lost by 5-0 decision to Osceola’s Nolin Eaddy.