The 2016-17 season was a truly historic one for Saint Stephen’s wrestling, culminating with the first four wrestlers in school history qualifying for the state championship meet.
The campaign started with Jake Manning winning the 106-pound class at the Ed Kilpatrick Classic at Citrus High in Inverness in mid January to capture the school’s first individual title. Three weeks later, Manning and Alan Morano (126) became the first county champions in SSES history, winning the Manatee County meet at Southeast High. Those proved to be important building blocks toward the district meet, where six Falcons competed and all notched top-four finishes to advance to regionals.
Jake Ross (160) became the first district champion in program history and followed that up a week later by winning the school’s first regional crown. Ross, Max Manning, Morano and Parker Lansberg all qualified for the state meet – highlighted by Morano finishing fourth to become the first Falcon to medal at the state level. All but Morano return for 2017-18, and this group surely will continue to put Saint Stephen’s wrestling on the map.
The Falcons are coached by Bobby Latessa, who won an incredible 161 career prep matches and back-to-back state championships at Manatee High School in 2002 and 2003. He went on to wrestle collegiately at Harvard, where he was a four-year letterwinner.
Wrestling is FHSAA sanctioned and is a winter season sport.