District wrestling: Indian Rocks Christian a strong runner-up
LARGO — Sometimes one match can define a team. That's just what happened on Saturday at Indian Rocks Christian for the Class A, District 11 tournament.
While Sarasota Military Academy took the title with 136 points, host IRC came storming back from 15.5 points down heading into the finals. The Golden Eagles placed five of their nine wrestlers in the finals, all of them won district titles, piling up 133.5 points, within just 2.5 points of SMA.
The Golden Eagles' effort was punctuated by 195-pounder Selbourne Steward's gutsy 8-5 win over Darrien Grant of Bradenton Southeast. Scoreless through the first period, each wrestler scored a takedown in the second but Grant started down and got an escape. It was 3-2 Grant into the last 1:21 of the match in which Steward injured his ankle. IRC staff quickly wrapped the ankle in tape and Steward could barely put weight on it, trailing in the final period.
“(Grant) tried a lateral but it wasn't as high as it should have been so I slid down as he tried to take me back in and caught him on his back," Steward said. "I have to say there was some luck involved but (coach Jay) Dugmore said how (Grant) was going to go for my legs and that happened."
Steward pulled off an 8-5 win and will be taking the top seed into regionals next week.
"Selby is a reflection of the program here," Dugmore said. "These kids want to wrestle and they want to win."
Jack Pohler (132) won 7-1 in his match. Mitchell Kerr took the 145 title 4-0 by riding out Spencer Thomas of Clearwater Central Catholic. Michael Gingras (152) improved to 36-0, scoring a 21-7 major decision against Trayvon Taylor of Admiral Farragut. Conner Allshouse performed a takedown clinic on SMA's Dalton Burton, stacking up a 12-3 lead through two periods before pinning him in the third.
AFA took third as a team with 118, and at moments in the tournament, was in second place behind SMA. The Blue Jackets pushed five wrestlers through to the finals and 126-pounder Noah Farrelly and 138-pounder Jack Lescarbeau won their first district titles. Farrelly scored a second-period pin and Lescarbeau a 6-3 win.
"Jack got injured at PHU and had to take a couple of weeks off, suck it up and come back," AFA coach Ron Timpanaro said. "We hope this momentum carries over to next week."
Farrelly, always on the brink of a breakthrough, finally got that gratification of Saturday, letting nothing stand in his way by scoring three pins en route to the title.
"This is the culmination of his hard work all year long," Timpanaro said. "He was fourth last year and second his sophomore year but this year he really turned it on and went out to dominate and wrestle every match like it's a state final."
Gibbs took fourth with 116.5. Danya Jones and Christopher Keith winning titles at 106 and 220, respectively. It was both wrestlers' first titles and the first for Gibbs since 2009. The Gladiators also qualified six of their eight entries into the tournament.
"This is Jones' first season close to weighing 100 pounds," Gibbs coach David Malone said. "It's a whole different world for him now."
Northside's Kamen Wilmington made it his sixth district title in his senior season, downing Mason Gordon of SMA 10-3 in the 160 final. Nick Carbone (138) took second. CCC took eighth and will be sending Jake Mitchell (106), Alex Prunoske (120) and Spencer Thomas (145) to regionals. Lakewood qualified Noah Harris at 220, Joshua Page at 182, and Tyler Betz at 170.
Tarpon Springs finished in 11th but heavyweight Julio Mosquera pinned his way through the 285 bracket to win his first district title. It was a big win for the senior, who lost his junior campaign to injury.
"The whole year, I've been second, third, fourth but Coach told me in the semifinals, he told me this was my tournament to win," Mosquera said. "I really wanted this one. I've been placed as the top seed before and not won; it's nice to be placed that high and then win."
At Manatee High in Bradenton, Palm Harbor University grabbed the runnerup spot behind North Port, 206.5-177.5. The ’Canes saw Chris Fragale (106), Joe Capone (126), Gavin Mitchiner (138) and Matt Westbay (285) win district titles. PHU qualified nine for regionals.
Countryside qualified Joshua Felix (fourth), Daniel Walker (fourth), Anthony Burburija (fourth), Aaron Felix (fourth) and Philip Brown (second). St. Pete qualified Terry Barber (third) and Ravonn Gregory (second). Pinellas Park qualified Christopher Sexton (second) and Jonathan Miller (third). Seminole qualified Sam Hitt (fourth)