Local wrestlers come up big
JIM TAYLORSEBRING - The Somerset Academy Panthers took top team honors, posting a total of 145 points at the Spiegel Wrestling Invitational on Saturday.
Published: January 22, 2013
Published: January 22, 2013
The Sebring Blue Streaks placed second with 133 points and the Avon Park Red Devils finished third with 124 in the 12-team meet.
Both Avon Park and Sebring had six wrestlers that finished in the top three in their weight classes.
Avon Park had three grapplers finish in first place, two came in second and one wrestler was third.
Sebring ended the day with one in first place, four in second and one in third. The Blue Streaks had three wrestlers that placed fourth in their weight classes.
"That was about what I was expecting," said Avon Park wrestling coach Blake Germaine. "I was expecting more first places. I was expecting Jose (Torres) to win, but we had three first, two second, and one third."
Torres advanced to the finals in the 126-pound weight class after beating Sebring's Nathan Franklin by pinfall.
In the finals, he faced Somerset Academy's Vic Blasucci. With 45 seconds left in the final period, Torres had a 5-2 lead over Blasucci. Torres took a shot at Blasucci and Blasucci was able to hook Torres' leg and get two point to make the score 5-4.
The referee would cite Torres for stalling and awarded Blasucci another point a few seconds before the match was over to tie it at 5 and force overtime. Torres would lose in overtime to take second place.
"I thought it should have been called a stalemate," said Germaine. "It cost us a point and it went into overtime. A stalling call is a judgment call by the official and can't be appealed."
Germaine was more upset because he knows Torres is better than that and did not wrestle in the finals to his fullest potential.
"If Jose had stayed aggressive the whole time," said Germaine. "It would not have been that close and no need for overtime."
Avon Park freshman Dre Neely finished in second place at 113 pounds. Neely won his first two matches, but lost to Somerset Academy's Franco Valdes.
"That was the number one kid in the state that Dre wrestled in the finals," said Germaine. "He looked good in the first period then the second period came and he found out what it's like to be a freshman with the number one kid in the state on top of you."
Johnny Baldridge, Delroy Blake and Dylan Brown each finished in first place for the Red Devils. Baldridge captured the title at 126 pounds with a pin over South Fork's Dante Graham.
Blake and Brown also won their finals by pinfall. Blake beat Del Balwin of Kathleen in the 195-pound division and Brown pinned Nick Brod of Sebring at 220 pounds.
Sebring had five wrestlers that had a chance to earn first place in their respective weight classes. Only Ty Johnson was able to accomplish that, with a pin of South Fork's Ryan Brouillette.
Sebring's Brendan Doty lost by technical fall (points) to Belen Jesuits' Julian Ramirez at 106 pounds, and Nick Brod was pinned by Dylan Brown at 220 pounds.
Two Blue Streak wrestlers lost by a single point. Casey Ricker fell short to Belen Jesuits' Benzo Rudnikas by a 3-2 score in the 152-pound weight class finals, while Chris DeJesus lost to Frostproof's Clayton Farrer 5-4 at 160 pounds in the finals.
Jirardo Bautista captured third place with a 5-0 decision over Cocoa's Thomas Farragher. But the other three matches for third place did not fare as well for Sebring, and each wrestler was awarded fourth place.
Nathan Franklin held a 6-3 lead in the final period when Frostproof's Domonick Patterson pinned him with 1 second left in the match in the 120-pound division.
Matt Juve and Brandon Fuller each lost by a point in their weight classes for fourth place. Juve dropped a 5-4 decision to John Grey of Kathleen at 170 pounds and Fuller lost to Bartow's Jacob Samson 4-3 in the 195-pound weight class.
"I'm fairly happy," said Sebring wrestling coach Josh Miller. "I'm not happy with the way we finished because we lost four finals matches by one point. We can't win a tournament doing that. If we had won those matches or three of the four, we take first place as a team, not second place.
"We did not finish strong like we wanted to; it's not like we were blown out of those matches."
Avon Park and Sebring will wrestle at the Polk Invitational on Saturday and will compete in their district tournament on Jan. 31 at Frostproof.