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Prep Sports Report

Bob Putnam, Rodney Page, Kelly Parsons

HomeTeam 25: Wrestling power rankings

Kyle Norstrem and Brandon are at the top of our first-ever power rankings for wrestling in Tampa Bay.

MONICA HERNDON | Times

Kyle Norstrem and Brandon are at the top of our first-ever power rankings for wrestling in Tampa Bay.

20

January

1. Brandon

This week: Hillsborough County Division Meet

Scoop: The Eagles, annually the best program in the state, aren’t showing any signs of slowing down this season. Veteran state contenders like Kyle Norstrem, Frankie Bruno, Noah Ridley and Joe Marcano will lead Brandon into the state series, while legendary coach Russ Cozart hones a new group of standouts right alongside those stars.

2. Dixie Hollins

This week: Gene Gorman Duals at Charlotte High School

Scoop: The Rebels have won nearly every meet they've competed in this season. They started off the year with a bang, winning the East Lake Invitational and followed by taking the St. Pete City title for the ninth year running. Dixie also won the Venice Duals last weekend and beat East Lake 39-18 in a dual earlier this month.

3. Palm Harbor University

This week: King of the Ring Invitational at Deltona High School

Scoop: The ’Canes are the defending PCAC champs and are neck and neck with Dixie Hollins for the second spot in the rankings. In addition to winning the MyHouse Invitational, PHU won the Longhorn Duals at Harmony High School, defeating Weeki Wachee 50-21 in the finals. The team also won the Bill Combs Duals at Nature Coast for the fourth time in five years.

 4. Jesuit

This week: Tigers Six-Way Duals at Jesuit High School

Scoop: In his first season as coach of the Tigers, former Springstead coach Sal Basile has taken the opportunity to sharpen the talents of his elite returning wrestlers. Jesuit is coming off a 5-0 record in the Mustang Duals at Lakewood Ranch. The team seems to be hitting its stride at just the right time.

5. East Lake

This week: Off

Scoop: The Eagles round out a strong top five. East Lake finished second to PHU at the MyHouse Invitational, and despite losing to Dixie in a dual, the team also defeated an undermanned Rebel squad at the Southside Duals. East Lake won the Tough Team Duals at Pasco, defeating the host Pirates head-to-head, and won the Anclote Challenge last weekend.

6. Springstead

This week: Chase Life Invitational at Palmetto Ridge High School

Scoop: Consistency has been the biggest issue for the Eagles in Mike LaRocca’s first season as coach. Springstead won the Corey Hill Memorial at home and placed second at the Bill Combs Duals, but did get upset by Hernando on the first day of the dual tournament.

7. Pasco

This week: Falcon Duals at Fivay High School

Scoop: While the Pirates haven’t shown the depth at every weight class to position themselves for victories in dual or individual tournaments, this may be the program’s best shot at multiple individual state championships in years. Lukas Twardosky and John DeAugustino are both expected to be among the tops in their respective weight classes once the state series rolls around.

8. Dunedin

This week: Gibbs Invitational

Scoop: The Falcons haven't had much experience head-to-head with other area teams, but they did top Pasco at the Gulf Duals, placing second overall behind Brandon. The team was able to take home the title in their own Falcon Duals.

9. Indian Rocks Christian

This week: McKeel Academy Duals in Lakeland

Scoop: IRC has a pair of potential state title winners in 170-pounder Conner Allshouse and 160-pounder Michael Gingras. Both are 25-0 this year. IRC placed seventh at the Class A Scuffle at Somerset. The Golden Eagles won the Jen Allshouse Memorial, besting Tampa Prep. Selby Steward (195 pounds) could be a state placer in February.

10. Tampa Prep

This week: Ed Kilpatrick Classic at Citrus High School

Scoop: The Terps possess a potent trio with Leo Tarantino (170 pounds), Anthony Artalona (145) and Aaron Mills (113). Tarantino is a defending state champ, while Mills comes back as a state placer. IRC's Michael Gingras won what many may see as a 3-1 upset over Tarantino at the Allshouse Invitational.

11. Weeki Wachee

This week: Falcon Duals at Fivay High School

Scoop: The Hornets have finished in the top five of every tournament they have entered this season, including a second-place showing at the Corey Hill Memorial at Springstead and a runnerup showing at the Harmony Duals. Led by Nathaniel DeJesus and Brandon Smith, Weeki Wachee has the opportunity to make waves at state as a program for the first time.

12. Hernando

This week: McKeel Academy Duals in Lakeland

Scoop: Former state placer David Pritz is slowly building his alma mater into a very respectable program. Despite not having a state favorite in his lineup, the Leopards have exhibited the potential to accomplish a lot given the right circumstances. Hernando upset Springstead in a dual at the Bill Combs Duals surprised many by finishing third at the Corey Hill Memorial.

13. Nature Coast

This week: Ed Kilpatrick Classic at Citrus High School

Scoop: The Sharks will undoubtedly be around on the second day of the state tournament, if only for the presence of state finalist Anthony Contegiacomo at 220 pounds. Nature Coast is hoping to give Mike Lastra a good send-off as the only coach the program has ever known has already announced that this will be his final year.

14. Lennard

This week: Hillsborough County Division Meet

Scoop: David Kirk and Rowdy Driggers both have a crucial component to postseason success – experience. With those two grapplers leading the way, the Longhorns definitely have the potential to make some waves next month.

15. Steinbrenner

This week: Hillsborough County Division Meet

Scoop: The Warriors took part in the highly competitive Kowboy Invitational in Kissimmee last weekend and were unable to place anyone higher than fourth individually. But Brett Behers has shown that he is a legitimate contender for a title when the state series rolls around next month. Of his three losses on the campaign, two took place at Osceola.

16. Hillsborough

This week: Hillsborough County Division Meet

Scoop: At the Corey Hill Memorial, Connor Knauer dominated on the way to a second straight individual title. After a disappointing performance at the state tournament last year, Knauer looks as motivated as ever in his senior campaign.

17. Riverview

This week: Hillsborough County Division Meet

Scoop: The Sharks have a potential state champ in 132-pounder Kizhan Clarke. Clarke was the 3A state runnerup to Jared Prince of PHU and has only lost to Brandon defending state champ Frankie Bruno this season. With Brandon in Class 2A, Clarke has an open door if he wrestles to potential. Tony Hernandez (145) is also ranked among the state’s best.

18. Land O'Lakes

This week: Off

Scoop: The Gators are another team that has not exhibited much in the way of depth from top to bottom, but with Jesse Seidl leading the charge at 170 pounds, Land O’Lakes has a good chance of finishing the season with a representative on top of the podium at state.

19. Northside Christian

This week: Off

Scoop: Kamen Wilmington (160) is ranked fourth in Class A, according to the Florida Wrestling Room. Wilmington has been in this position before in his prep career, but he came up short of medaling at state last season as a sophomore. Nick Carbone is a solid 132-pounder as well, reaching the finals at the IRC Allshouse Memorial.

20. Strawberry Crest

This week: Hillsborough County Division Meet

Scoop: Led by state champion Cullen Telfer (126), the Chargers have a very good shot at making an impact next month, despite competing in the very difficult Class 3A. Lightweight Manuel Ramirez (106) has also shown his mettle as a state qualifier last year. He will most definitely be in line for a run again this season.

On the bubble: Admiral Farragut, Northeast, Clearwater Central Catholic, St. Petersburg, Jefferson, Strawberry Crest, Newsome, Freedom, Countryside, East Bay, Bloomingdale, Berkeley Prep

[Last modified: Wednesday, January 20, 2016 8:33pm]

    

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