Ida Baker junior Brandon Gacad and Cape High senior Dario Bredicean both placed second Saturday in their respective weight divisions at the FHSAA Wrestling Finals in Lakeland.
It's the second runner-up finish for Gacad, who lost to Clarence Arrington 5-1 in the 120-pound championship match. Bredicean lost to Javier Rodriguez 11-5 in the 160-pound championship match.
"It is satisfying for Brandon to finish second in states in consecutive years," said Baker coach Fernando Vazquez. "It was unsuccessful in that he had the opportunity to win the state title. He came from behind in the semifinal, but fortunately he has one more year to get a title. His season starts tomorrow."
In the championship match, Gacad was taken down at the outset and trailed 2-0. He escaped to gain a point. According to Vazquez Gacad went for a big score in the third two-minute period, but didn't finish it. Arrington reversed the move and held on to win the match.
"A mistake here, not being aggressive there, Brandon just wasn't able to finish," said Vazquez.
After Gacad came from four points down with 30 seconds remaining to win 8-7 in the semifinals it appeared his dream of becoming a state champion was within reach. Gacad finished 34-2 after an undefeated regular and district tournament season.
His nemesis, Dalton Langford of Riverdale, to whom Gacad lost in the 113-pound championship match last year was knocked out in his semifinal match.
"Brandon was in a better mindset," said Vazquez. "when Dalton lost he didn't want to get his hopes too high. He drilled harder after losing (to Dalton) in the regional last week. It just didn't happen. He won the close matches this week and he needed that kind of win (semifinal). The biggest difference this year is he had a chance. All eyes will be on him next year when he makes his fourth trip to states."