Wrestlers finish strong
JIM TAYLORAVON PARK - The Avon Park Red Devils and the Sebring Blue Streaks tied for fifth place at the Avon Park Duel Meet Wrestling Tournament that featured a total of 12 teams from across the state on Saturday.
Published: December 5, 2012
Published: December 5, 2012
With the Avon Park gymnasium packed with wrestlers and spectators, the opening rounds found the Red Devils and the Blue Streaks starting out on the opposite ends of the spectrum.
Avon Park started the day with two team wins. The Red Devils beat a feisty Central Florida Christian Academy by a score of 57-12 and followed that by beating the eventual third place finisher, Bayshore High School, 44-36.
Sebring wrestled its first match in the second round and ran into a buzzsaw as they lost 62-15 to the Freedom High School Patriots. The Patriots would take first place for the tournament.
Sebring Coach Josh Miller was not happy with his team's performance to start the tournament and made that point extremely clear to his squad after the match.
"Freedom High is one of the better teams," said Miller. "So we knew coming in it was going to be tough. It looked like we were asleep; hopefully that first round woke us up."
Miller continued to state that his wrestlers needed to get moving.
"You can preach it to them," the Blue Streak coach said. "But they got to make the effort to get themselves up and motivated. You make sure they are up and moving around, but the rest is mental and they have to get themselves focused."
Sebring responded with team victories over Tenoroc by a score of 60-15 and the Blue Streaks eased past Cocoa Beach by a score of 44-36.
Avon Park Coach Blake Germaine has the opposite problem. Expectations run high for the Red Devils. Goals placed on themselves as a team and as individuals.
These expectations are especially true of four wrestlers on the Red Devil squad; Johnny Baldridge, Jose Torres, Dylan Brown and Delroy Blake.
Baldridge, who faced a tough competitor in his second match of the morning from Bayshore High School, admitted that his opponent was pretty long and that he has problem with long people.
But staying confident, Baldridge noted that his challenger got tired and gassed as he finally broke him down for the eventual pin.
Brown also won by pin in the second round while Jose Torres was kept idle by Germaine due to a knee injury, though Torres kept asking to wrestle.
Germaine noted that all four wrestlers (Baldridge, Brown, Blake and Torres) have always worked hard and that he expects the highest for them.
Germaine added they have the best of both worlds by having two lightweights and two heavyweights that want to wrestle each other every day.
"They get so mad when they are taken down by each other," said Germaine. "They want to go again because they want to get the last takedown for the day. That is what we need, that is what builds a state champion, which is what we are shooting for."
As for individual performances; Avon Park's Dre'Boris Neely, Johnny Baldridge and Dylan Brown as well as Sebring's Brendan Doty went undefeated in their matches.
Neely competed at 113 pounds, Baldridge wrestled in both 120 and 126 and Brown at 220 rang up a 5-0 records. Doty wrestled in the 106-pound weight class and went 4-0.
Avon Park's Delroy Blake wrestled at 195 pounds and Bernard Charles competed at 132 and 138 pounds and both grapplers finished the day with impressive 4-1 marks.
Sebring's Chris DeJesus at 170, Casey Ricker at 160, Nathan Franklin at 120, Ty Johnson at 182 and heavyweight Luis Sanchaz all finished the day with 3-1 records.
With Avon Park and Sebring tied for fifth place, they were slated to face each other at the end of the tournament.
Due to time constraints of a previous engagement for the Sebring wrestling team, the match was mutually forfeited, leaving the two teams tied.
Despite the fifth place finish, Germaine was positive about his squad.
"We were missing four of our starters for this tournament, which hurt us," said Germaine. "I feel like we would have been in first to third place if we had our full lineup.
"We only missed being in third by three points. Overall, it was a great day of wrestling."
Avon Park will participate in the Okeechobee Big Lake Classic on Saturday.