Wrestling season never ends … especially when you’re a three-time state champion.
With the high school season about a month in the rear-view mirror, a pair of decorated Osceola High wrestlers, Malyke Hines and Kaelyn Martinez, competed at last week’s National High School Coaches Association’s 30th Annual High School Nationals in Virginia Beach, Va.
It went very well.
Among a field of only high school seniors who had won a state title in their career — Hines and Martinez were probably over-qualified, with each winning three boys and girls state championships as Kowboys — Hines won a national championship and Martinez was the runner-up.
“Malyke is now the first two-time NHSCA champion in Kowboy history,” OHS Coach Jim Bird said.
Past NHSCA champions include Olympic Gold Medalists Cael Sanderson, Jordan Burroughs, Jake Varner and 2019 NCAA All Americans Sebastian Rivera, Mitch Finesilver, Myles Amine and Kollin Moore.
Hines, who was an NHSCA champion last year, defended his title at the 138-pound weight class. To do so he had to wrestle seven matches, and beat a pair of four-time state champs. Hines has signed with Lehigh University and will join that Pennsylvania program, among the top 10 in the NCAA, this fall.
Martinez, the 145-pound girls national runner-up, won three matches against state champs from Georgia, Connecticut and Maryland before losing in the finals, 4-2.
“She lost to a three-time national champ,” Bird said. “Kaelyn had a great tournament against really tough competition.”
All totaled, 10 boys and 2 girls from the Kowboy program, as well as a handful of middle schoolers from the club program, competed at Virginia Beach.
“The future looks bright for Kowboy Wrestling,” Bird said.
While girls wrestling is currently not sanctioned in Florida by the FHSAA, coaches statewide are taking the steps toward making that happen. Recently, Osceola — and about a decade ago, Gateway — has had great success at the girls state tournament, an invitational event hosted most recently by Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando.
“College coaches are looking for talented girls already. This will make it easier for girls to get recruited,” Bird said.
Two talented wrestlers from OHS’ girls program who won state championships, Abnelis Rambo and Ana Luciano, signed to college programs last year.