American fans that are passionate about the sport of wrestling likely will likely associate great wrestlers with the Northeast and Midwest regions of this great country. What they may not know, unless they have been paying close attention is that Florida now boasts some of the best wrestlers in the country at the high school all the way up to the national level.
For instance, Brandon High School, located near Tampa has been a nationally ranked high school programs for many years now. In fact, the regularly compete in some of the toughest tournaments in the nation every year. Last year Brandon travelled to Minnesota where they placed 4th out of 32 of the best teams the country has to offer, the year before they finished 2nd to the top ranked High School team in the country, Apple Valley.
With several Florida wrestlers doing so well at the high school level many are now moving on to college and beyond and showing that Florida has the athletes to compete with any we have to offer.
This year Florida also has 3 wrestlers who made it to the Olympics in the sport of Freestyle wrestling.
Sam Hazewinkle- Hazewinkle wrestled for Pensacola Christian Academy and was an undefeated 3 time state champion. He went on to wrestle for the University of Oklahoma and was our 55kg representative in the 2012 Olympics.
Franklin Gomez- Franklin Gomez who represented Puerto Rico in the 60kg division was a former Brandon wrestler who went undefeated and won the state title his senior season. Gomez then went on to wrestle for Michigan State University in college.
Jared Frayer- Frayer is a local product that wrestled for Countryside high school in Clearwater where he won 140 matches and 112 matches in a row en route to 3 state championships for the cougars. In college Frayer wrestled for the University of Oklahoma.
Unfortunately none of these men managed to grab a medical at these Olympics but that does not diminish the fact that they were the best we had to offer this year. All three have proven that moving forward Florida is poised to produce top level wrestling talent year after year.
Bio- Pete Johnston is a contributor that discusses online education, fitness, internet marketing, research products such as IGF-1 and food service.