South Broward Wrestling Team prepares for the State Qualifiers


Coach Q gives the team a speech to the team after a meet.

Kai Escobar, Editor

February is known as the month for love. For wrestlers, February is the time to embrace the grind.  Wrestling seasons are so long arduous, and as they grind down to the end of competition, practices are now focused on pushing the athletes to their physical limits, while also honing their favorite techniques. All this is in preparation for the pinnacle of any high school sport’s competition: the FHSAA State Tournament.

“This is the goal,  that all of you have been working towards this whole season,” said Coach Qualitza aka Coach Q.

After three months of preseason training, competition started in early December, with the team having close to a full lineup. During this month the team had met great success defeating most of the teams they faced.  However, come January things started to slowly change.

Progressively through January, more and more of the varsity spots became vacant due to injuries, poor grades, and wrestlers quitting.  When the team lost at the dual meet regional stage they forfeited six weight classes which played a huge part in their loss to Doral.  Since then the team only has nine varsity wrestlers to compete for the opportunity to wrestle in states.  Despite the struggles this season, the team has earned a record of 19-7.

The man responsible for the team’s success and guidance is Head Coach Randy Qualitza.  As his fourth year as the head coach of the South Broward wrestling team, Coach Qualitza aka Coach Q, has always had at least one wrestler place in the State Tournament but has yet to have anyone win it.  Both Coach Q and the wrestlers have been determined to make it to and win States.

The first step for the nine remaining wrestlers in their journey to the State Tournament is the  FHSAA Districts. Every Varsity wrestler automatically qualifies for Districts.  In order to progress to the final step before the State Tournament which is the Regional Tournament, wrestlers must place in the top four in their weight class.  

“Winning states is the goal I’ve had since last year when I went to states and lost,” said Anthony Montanez. “It’s going to be an emotional run knowing this is most likely my final run in wrestling.”

While most make it past Districts, the Regional Tournament weeds out the elite from the rest of the crop.   In Regionals, the top four placers  of each District will face of with the placers from three other districts to determine who will advance to the State tournament for that weight class.

Last season, only two wrestlers made it to the State Tournament.  These two were Juniors Anthony Montanez and Justin Maynard. In the end however, both Montanez and Maynard fell short of placing in the state tournament.  

If the now seniors have anything to say about it, things will shake out differently this year.

“My chances of winning are high, as long as I use my technique and wrestle the best of my capabilities I should win,” said Montanez

Even with a significantly smaller team, there are several wrestlers with prospects of making it to the state tournament. The obvious choices are seniors and returning state qualifiers Anthony Montanez and Justin Maynard.  Some of the other potential qualifiers are senior Alex Bazan and junior Marlo Garcia who both made it to the Regional Tournament last season.

“I think most of the Seniors and some Juniors could make it to states because of the experience and strength they have,” said Bazan.

While even making it to the State Tournament is a hefty accomplishment in itself, placing first in it is what all wrestlers dream of.  That is why as the season nears its end, the wrestlers have doubled down on their training to make sure that they leave no stone unturned.

“All these guys should make it with the experience we have and the amount of hard work and dedication we put in,” said Montanez.  “Nothing can really stop us except for ourselves.”