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Cape wrestlers win regional titles, seven headed to state

By CHUCK BALLARO - | Mar 2, 2021

Cape Coral wrestling programs were well represented at the Region 2A-3 wrestling championships this past weekend at Charlotte High School in Punta Gorda.

All four public high schools put one wrestler in the regional finals on Saturday, winning two, while putting three other wrestlers through to states by placing in the top 4.

Mariner’s Christopher Minto won his first regional title by winning a 6-4 decision over Caleb Massari of Fort Myers in the 120-pound weight class.

Minto, whose older brother Christian was a three-time state champion and another older brother Basil was a two-time state qualifier, said he is ready to follow the family tradition.

“My match was a little closer than I wanted it to be, but I got the win, so that’s all that matters,” Minto said. “I learned a lot from my brothers from them wrestling me when I was little, so I’m ready.”

Meanwhile, Ida Baker’s Angel Alverio shut out Morvens St. Jean of Fort Myers 5-0 in the 220-pound weight class final for his second trip to states and first regional title, which nearly didn’t happen as the senior was nearly quarantined with COVID before the meet.

“I had a tough competitor, he’s one of my friends. But when you step on the mat, there are no friends,” Alverio said. “I almost got quarantined, but they found out I wasn’t at school when it happened. My teammates and coaches helped me prepare for today and these past four years.”

Also reaching the finals was Jaden Harrah of Island Coast, who ended up getting pinned by Ethan Mojena of Countryside in the 138-pound class.

Cape Coral’s Justin Cole reached the 152-pound final against Palmetto Ridge’s Roman Garcia, and although he was able to build an early lead in their match, Garcia was able to pin him in the second round.

Also reaching the state tournament were Mack Koselke (160) and Lance Crawford of Mariner (145), who placed third and fourth, respectively, and Richard Albert of Cape Coral (106) who also placed fourth, by winning the so-called “blood round.”

Minto said the parity shown by the schools making the regional finals shows that wrestling in Cape Coral is gaining steam.

“It’s growing and getting better. We have always had a good program, but the other schools are getting better,” Minto said.