The streak lives.
For a 13th consecutive year, an Osceola High School wrestler claimed an individual state title, as senior Malyke Hines won the Class 3A 138-pound championship on Saturday night at Silver Spurs Arena.
In his final high school match before heading north this fall to wrestle collegiately at Lehigh (Pa.) University, Hines defeated South Dade’s Joshua Swan, 1-0, in the championship match to win his third consecutive state crown. Hines finishes his senior campaign undefeated at 48-0, he was unbeaten against Florida competition for two years and finished his high school career with a 223-5 record. He was the 3A state champ at 120 pounds in 2017-18 as well.
“(Swan) is a tough competitor,” Hines said about his opponent that brought a 51-5 record into the match. “But it was apparent from the beginning their game plan was to stay away and slow down the match. They were looking for a mistake, fortunately I avoided making it.”
It was the closest match of the tournament for Hines, who pinned Fort Pierce’s Russell Rabbe in the first round, recorded a 19-4 technical fall over Southwest’s Andy Dematas in the quarterfinals and took a 10-0 majority decision over North Miami’s Angel Sanchez in the semifinals.
“Malyke has had a great career at Osceola,” Coach Jim Bird said. “Three straight championships and his won-lost record speaks for itself, but what is more impressive is the fact that he is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever coached. Throughout his career it’s always been about getting better.”
Bird added that Hines’ final match did not give him an opportunity to display his dominance.
“It’s tough to wrestle when your opponent is backing up the entire match,” Bird said. “But that was the strategy they employed and Malyke did a great job of not getting frustrated.”
Hines was one of seven Osceola wrestlers to qualify for state tournament. His brother, sophomore Jaekus Hines (36-6) advanced to the championship match at 120 pound where he lost to Fleming Island senior Briar Jackson (56-7), a two-time state champion. It was the second straight runner-up finish for Jaekus, who was second at 106 as a freshman a year ago.
“He didn’t have his best stuff in the finals so I know Jaekus is disappointed but he had a great season and is only a sophomore,” Bird said. “He’s going to be a force in the state meet for the next two seasons.”
In addition to the Hines brothers, sophomore Nolin Eaddy (26-10) and freshman George Duncan (24-14) earned medals with a fifth place finish at 160 and a sixth place finish at 113, respectively.
Adriel Martinez (145) and Dylan Ruiz (220) also scored team points for Osceola, who finished the meet tied for sixth in the team competition with 83 points. That total also moved Osceola’s streak of consecutive top-six team finishes to 13.
“Overall it was a great season,” Bird added. “Our kids stuck together through some adversity this year. We claimed both a district and regional championship, sent seven guys to states, placed three and had a state champion.”
Two other county wrestlers also earned all-state honors. Celebration senior Alfonso Serrano placed fourth at 182 in Class 3A and Harmony junior Dylan Jones placed fourth in Class 2A at 126 pounds to end his season 49-9, and freshman Melvin Ewen won two matches before a 2-1 loss in a consolation match that would have gotten him into the medal round.
Mel finished with a record of 56-15, an incredible feat for a freshman,” Harmony Coach Vic Lorenzano said. “His match Saturday was an awesome effort. his final opponent defeated him 14-3 at the Flagler tournament one month ago.
“Dylan bounced back and pinned his opponent from Dunedin to reach consolation finals. It would be a rematch from last week’s regional consolation final (against Tampa Jesuit’s Jack Crook). Dylan gave us an effort to be proud of, trailing by just a point with seconds to go, he took a desperation shot and ended up losing 5-2.”
Sports Editor Ken Jackson contributed to this story.