Bragging rights are on the line Friday and Saturday at the Collier County Athletic Conference tournament at Golden Gate High.
Wrestlers from all seven county public schools will compete. Palmetto Ridge, Barron Collier and Lely are the favorites.
Weighing begin at 4 p.m. Friday, with matches beginning at 5 p.m. It is expected that two rounds will be completed today, with the final fours rounds on Saturday, beginning at 9 a.m.
For the first time there also will be a junior varsity tourney. Weigh-ins begin at 3 p.m. today, wrestling begin at 4 p.m. All JV matches are in the school cafeteria.
Palmetto Ridge coach Laz Rua thinks the Bears can win again.
"Although we graduated seven wrestlers, our chances of winning are looking good," Rua said. "We have a lot of young talent and our young kids are hungry for the challenge of being No. 1 in Collier County."
Palmetto freshman Joe Nadotti leads the team after winning the 138-pound title at the prestigious Buzz Hill Invitational last Saturday.
Rua sees help coming from Theo Curto, a junior at 152 pounds, Matias Wagner, a senior at 145, Ashani Brown, a senior at 170, and Cole Wright, a senior at 181.
"Lely and Barron Collier will be contenders, but we have a good chance," Rua said.
Lely coach Mark Modica thinks his team can compete for the title.
"We have had some good competitive workouts this week in preparations for the tournament," Modica said. "We are not experienced as Palmetto Ridge and Barron who have studs in a lot of weight classes."
Lely's stud is Claudel Alix, who won the Buzz Hill at 220 pounds. Alix wrestled his way to the state championships in 2012. His goal is to return and this time win it all. A year ago he was fifth.
For the first time, Lely has team captains in sophomore Tupac Isme at 152 pounds, and junior Kesley Joseph at 132. Isme and Joseph, along with junior Jermaine McClendon at 170 and senior Matt Martinez at 145 are expected to earn points for the Trojans.
Barron Collier's top wrestlers going into the meet are Zach Swats at 170 and Brady Pallante at 285 pounds. Both placed second in the Buzz Hill against wrestlers outside of the county. Tanis Taylor was a state runner-up last year.