Devils, Streaks on to state
Mark Pinson | Highlands TodayThe Avon Park and Sebring wrestling teams acquitted themselves quite well in their respective regional meets on Saturday.
Published: February 12, 2013
Published: February 12, 2013
The Red Devils had five grapplers qualify for Friday's first round of the state tournament, while the Blue Streaks had three move on.
Avon Park finished sixth out of 33 teams in the very tough Class 1A-Region 2 meet at Tenoroc High School in Lakeland.
Red Devil freshman Dre Neely won the 113-pound weight class, senior Jose Torres finished first at 120 pounds, junior Delroy Blake placed second at 195 pounds, senior Johnny Baldridge was fourth in the 126-pound weight class and junior Bernard Charles was fourth at 132 pounds.
"I'm real proud of our guys," said Avon Park wrestling coach Blake Germaine. "We're in one of the toughest regions in the state and did well against some outstanding wrestlers.
"We would have had six go to state, but Dylan Brown hurt is shoulder in Friday's first round and wasn't able to finish the tournament."
Neely won his semifinal match by a score of 2-1 and pinned his opponent in the finals 28 seconds into the first round to earn his trip to state.
"Dre felt real confident going into the finals because he had already beaten his opponent during the season," Germaine said. "That's Avon Park's first regional champion by a freshman and he's a ball of athleticism."
Torres won his final match by a score of 6-5 to avenge a defeat at last year's state wrestling tournament.
"Jose wrestled well and was real happy to beat that kid after losing to him last year," Germaine said.
Blake fought hard in his final match, but lost by a score of 9-1 to a very tough opponent.
The Red Devils face a tough task at the state tournament, but have the chance to make some noise.
"I'm hoping all five wrestlers will medal," said Germaine. "But we're going to have to wrestle our best if we hope to accomplish that."
Sebring finished eighth out of 36 teams in the Class 2A-Region 2 meet at St. Cloud High School on Saturday.
Blue Streak senior Chris DeJesus placed second at 160 pounds after losing a tough match in the finals to a wrestler from Nature Coast.
Blue Streak senior Nathan Franklin finished in third place at 120 pounds by pinning his opponent from Citrus, and junior Ty Johnson came in fourth in the 182-pound weight class after losing to his opponent from Zephyrhills.
"We had a pretty solid tournament and I'm pleased with our effort," said Blue Streak wrestling coach Josh Miller. "I was hoping we would have more qualify for state, but overall, we did pretty well"
The state tournament begins Friday with the state finals set for Saturday at the Lakeland Civic Center.
"Chris and Nathan should get pretty good draws," Miller said. "Ty is going to have a tough first-round match being the fourth seed.
"We're going to have to come out focused and ready to go from the start if we want finish on the podium."
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