Colby Singletary (Photo/Naples Daily News)The 18-year-old rising senior at Palmetto Ridge High School was driving his 2016 Kia Sportage when he lost control and struck a tree about 5:40 p.m. He was not wearing a seat belt, according to the Florida Highway Patrol. A passenger, Alexis Renner, 17, of Naples, is hospitalized in serious condition.
Singletary won the Class 2A state championship at 182 pounds as a sophomore, and then again as a junior this past year at 195 pounds, the Naples Daily News reported Sunday.
Singletary won the Naples Daily News Male Athlete of the Year at the Southwest Florida Sports Awards following his sophomore season. He was again a nominee for the award this year.
Colby Singletary came from a family with a strong heritage in wrestling.
Older brothers Cody and Chase were also state wrestling champions -- Cody at Palmetto Ridge and Chase a two-time New Jersey champion at Blair Academy after transferring there from Palmetto Ridge after his freshman season. Their father Casey was a Florida high school state runner-up in 1990.
Casey Singletary shared his thoughts on his late son in an interview with the Naples Daily News.
"Boy was he stubborn. It was Colby's way or no way," said the elder Singletary. "That kid hated to practice, and me and (Palmetto Ridge wrestling coach Blaine Ison) were constantly getting after him that he wasn't taking it seriously enough. But he proved us wrong time and time again. He knew what he was doing.
"He was the type of kid everyone always wanted to be around. So outgoing. He loved taking the boat out with me, very outdoorsy. He loved people and he loved helping people."
In addition to his on-the-mat accomplishments, Colby Singleton also made a name for himself as a starting linebacker for Palmetto Ridge High the past two seasons. According to his Twitter account, he had received football scholarship offers from Southern Mississippi, Troy University in Alabama, and the University at Buffalo.
"He was my hero," Palmetto Ridge High's athletic director Brent Brickzin wrote in a text message to the Naples Daily News. "Not because of what he accomplished but HOW he accomplished it. His dedication, commitment to success, his work ethic, his personable demeanor, that smile, all attribute to why this young man had earned the respect of myself and so many around the state."
Reactions from the Florida wrestling community
The Orlando Sentinel shared a number of messages of condolence from the wrestling community throughout the Sunshine State.
"Great young man on and off the mat. We are all hurting," said SW Florida Wrestling @SWFL_Wrestling
"It is with a heavy heart that we pass along the news about the passing of @PRHS_Wrestling State Champ Colby Singletary. Singletary was a phenomenal wrestler from the Sunshine State ... our deepest sympathies go out to the Singletary family," according to @SeWrestle
Florida Gulf Coast University Wrestling posted this message on social media: "We are very sorry and saddened to hear about the sudden passing of our Naples' Colby Singletary. We will be praying for an extra measure of God's love, grace, and strength to be felt by the Singletary family, their extended families, loved ones, and friends of their family. Our sincere condolences to Colby's family, and to his Naples Palmetto Ridge High School family."
A Celebration of Life for Palmetto Ridge High School star wrestler and football player Colby Singletary will be Saturday from 4 to 7 p.m. at the Collier County Fairgrounds, his father Casey told the Naples Daily News.