Northeast finishes fourth at Southside Duals
ST. PETERSBURG —Saturday's Boca Ciega Southside Duals drew 24 teams from all over the region. Teams divided into four pools of six and battled over Friday night and Saturday morning. After five pool matches, teams were reshuffled based on their scores in their initial pool. The only Pinellas County team to make the trophy pool was Northeast, which had duals against Barron Collier (45-36), St. Petersburg (44-29), Braden River (60-24), Sarasota Military Academy (46-33) and Land O'Lakes (66-18).
In the trophy pool the Vikings were overmatched but they still pulled off a fourth-place finish, best of any area teams. Marion County's Belleview was the tournament champion. Still, it was a major showing for the Vikings as they beat out county powerhouses Dixie Hollins and East Lake.
Viking freshman Dylan Jochumsen, in his first varsity meet, went 5-3 and scored a pin in the dual with Barron Collier that put Northeast in position to win the dual and Pool C. Senior Brenden Grabowski only mustered one match while battling a shoulder injury, but scored a pin in it to help lift the Vikings.
"Those wins were pivotal for us," Vikings coach Robert Wilson said. "We knew if we beat them (Collier) we'd win the pool and they (Jochumsen and Grabowski) put us in a really good spot."
Right behind Northeast were East Lake (fifth) and Dixie Hollins (sixth). Split into different pools the hope was that the north and south county powerhouses would meet in the crossover rounds. It was slightly anticlimactic in that neither squad fielded a full lineup. Dixie was without six starters, and the Eagles were without 132-pounder Josh McGinnis and a few others but it proved to be one of the more thrilling duals of the whole tournament.
Dixie's potent 1-2 punch in Brandon Nevitt and Clifton Thomas scored pins to put the Rebels up by six with two matches left. Heavyweights Julian Santos and Jesse Smith squared off in yet another chapter of their storied rivalry. At the East Lake Invite, Santos scored a 2-1 double-overtime win to advance to and eventually win the finals. Saturday, Smith and Santos squared off with county bragging rights on the line.
Neither could score a take down in regulation. Even through the first overtime, neither could score. Santos came dangerously close, riding Smith out of bounds and into the Dixie bench, but the 1-1 score held through the first overtime. In the second overtime, Santos scored an escape during the first 30 seconds but held Smith for the second 30-second run to hold on for another 2-1 victory.
"It was definitely an endurance test," Santos said. "It comes down to heart and we both have heart, sometimes it's just the little things that give you the edge."
Santos went on to win Most Outstanding Wrestler of the upper weight classes. Santos' win, however, only tied the dual 33-33. East Lake 106-pounder Jackson Fessler sealed the win with a third-period pin of Dixie JV call-up Hush Herring to make it a 39-33 final.
"We had a rough dual the first day and made a lot of mistakes, between guys being injured and missing weight; we were a little demoralized," Eagles coach Joe Marzo said. "Beating Dixie was a great confidence booster for the team. They (Dixie) are a talented and well-coached team and it will be a great rivalry for us this year."
Dixie's Drew Harrington, Nevitt and Thomas all went 8-0 at the meet. Harrington and Thomas both wrestled up in weight class for several of their matches. Coleman Bryant (132) went 4-0 before breaking his nose early on Saturday but managed to finish the match with a win.
"You definitely have to be tough to finish a match with a broken nose," Rebels coach Nick Spataro said.
Herring won three matches for the Rebels in the first varsity action of his career.
The host Pirates went 4-4 and saw senior Darquell Pierre go 8-0, moving back-and forth between 126 and 132. Pierre also won Most Outstanding Wrestler for the lower weight classes.
"(Pierre) should go to states this year," Bogie coach Tobey Alvarez said. "He was two points away from making states last season."
Pierre scored his 109th victory at the meet and is now just 12 wins from the school record set by Jacob Mohr just last season. Senior Jacob Turner went 5-0 at the meet up at 138 after failing to make weight at 132. Teammate Sadric Daniel was 5-3.
Admiral Farragut's Noah Farrelly went 7-0, wrestling up at 132 for a couple matches. Jack Lescarbeau and Trayvon Taylor went 6-1 for the Blue Jackets, Taylor bumping up to 170 and taking on Land O'Lakes' Jesse Seidl, ranked fourth in 2A by Scout.com.
CCC junior Alex Prunoske went 7-1, his only loss to Lakewood Ranch's Hunter Reed, ranked third in 3A at 120 pounds by Scout.com.
Land O'Lakes, in its first meet in Pinellas County, placed 10th as a team and saw Seidl go 8-0. Seidl is now 23-0 on the season for the Gators and defeated Sarasota Military Academy's Jake Walker, ranked sixth in Class A by Scout.com. Gator teammates Torben Moses and Michael Gorman both went 7-1. Freshman Scott Kren went 6-2, moving between 138 and 145.
More wrestling: At the Harmony Long Horn Duals in St. Cloud, Palm Harbor University won the meet by dispatching Weeki Wachee 50-21 in the finals. Individual wrestlers Gabe Naranjo, Nick Gust, Gavin Mitchiner, Anthony Didden, Joe Capone and Ewan Hatcher all went 9-0.