Boys Prep of the Week: Brady Pallante, Barron Collier wrestling

Over the last two years, Barron Collier wrestler Brady Pallante has had some epic showdowns with Fort Myers’ Fequierson Charles on mats across the state.

Charles got the best of Pallante in an overtime win in the 2A-District 12 tournament, but it was Pallante that won when it mattered the most after he raised his arm in victory following a 2-1 decision over Charles in the state championship.

“I have a great amount of respect for Charles, and when I saw that it was going to be time No. 12 between the two of us, I thought ‘There’s no better opportunity for me to prove I could beat Charles than when a championship was on the line,’” Pallante said.

“It’s amazing,” Cougars coach Tony Partello said. “He had a belief in the system that hard work brings success.”

“Greatest feeling ever,” Pallante said of the win. “I can’t even explain how I felt after really. It was just insane.”

The junior heavyweight is the Naples Daily News Prep of the Week after bringing home the county’s only state title from the 2A tournament in Lakeland this weekend.

The state title caps off a successful year for Pallante, who also picked up a regional title in a heavyweight bout with Charles.

His coach attributes all of it to the added effort Pallante put in during practices.

“After Buzz Hills (Invitational, where Pallante dropped a heartbreaker to Charles in the title match), he changed his work ethic. He came alive,” Partello said. “It’s just awesome to see it when that hard work pays off.”

“I hate losing, and earlier in the year when I lost to Charles, I promised myself I wasn’t ever going to lose again because I wasn’t working hard enough or I wasn’t focused enough,” Pallante said.

OTHERS CONSIDERED:

Clay Curvin, Gulf Coast soccer — Scored the go-ahead goal as the Sharks won the Class 4A state championship.

Joe Guelfi, Naples wrestling — Finished runner-up at 120 pounds in the Class 2A state finals.

Garrett Maze, Golden Gate basketball — Led Titans to regional quarterfinal victory with 23 points against Mariner.

Nick Ronquette, Lely basketball — Had a steal and two big free throws to seal Trojans’ regional quarterfinal win over Cape Coral.

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