Wrestling: Dunedin dominates first annual Gibbs Invitational
ST. PETERSBURG —Ten Pinellas County schools took to the mats at Gibbs High for the first annual Gibbs Invitational on Saturday. County powerhouse Dunedin brought the newly-allotted 16 wrestlers and dominated the meet.
The Falcons led throughout, sending 11 of their wrestlers to the finals, where seven won individual titles: Stephen Nichols (126), Brendan Ditro (145), Thomas Bujalski (152), Robby Washam (160), Desiron Arnold (182), Jakub Stetz (220) and Anthony Siegrist (285). The Falcons tallied 257 to runnerup Northeast’s 138, St. Petersburg was third with 111.5, Gibbs fourth with 105.5 and Boca Ciega fifth with 95.
"We hadn't seen St Pete, Boca Ciega and Largo this year and we knew there would be some key matchups we wanted to see," Falcons coach Marc Allison said.
The first matchup was at 126 as Nichols, ranked fifth by the Florida Wrestling room, took on scrappy Darquell Pierre of Bogie. Pierre was a finalist at the St. Pete City Meet, but it was Nichols that took an early lead and prevailed 7-0.
The next matchup Allison alluded to was at 138 between fourth-ranked Grant Cardwell and Bogie's Tyree Bolden. Bolden got out to a 6-2 lead before scoring a double-leg takedown and using a butcher to get Cardwell on his back. Bolden scored a second-period pin. The win could put Bolden on the Class 2A list of ranked contenders.
"(Bolden) came out last year as a sophomore but didn't finish the season, but he's re-dedicated himself this year," Pirates coach Tobey Alvarez said. "This win was a big upset."
The Falcons still had plenty more left in the tank as 145-pounder and new school record holder for career wins, Ditro, scored two pins and a 9-0 major decision in the final against Gibbs' Chris Harris.
Ditro improved to 28-3 on the season and passed the previous school record for wins (141) last week at the Falcon Duals. Ditro has kept a countdown to breaking the school record on the family refrigerator since his freshman year. The record was set in 2011 by Austin Prince and Ditro has had his eye on it since 2013.
"(Prince) was a great wrestler that went to college for it and that's what I'd like to do," Ditro said. "When I was little, I was always around those guys. It gave me a goal and it's awesome to achieve it."
Ditro and the Falcons moved up into Class 2A this season and the road to improving on Ditro's fifth-place finish at state will likely be a tougher one this year.
Falcon 220-pounder Stetz is enjoying being down at 220 after wrestling all of last season up at 285. Stetz scored three pins to win Saturday. Stetz is ranked 11th in his class by Scout.com and could climb that ladder before the state series.
Another big individual matchup was at 120 between Northeast's Connor McNally and Dunedin's Hunter Gast. Gast led 4-2 through the first period and 6-5 into the third. McNally scored a reverse takedown and three back points to hold on for an 11-9 victory.
Most Outstanding Wrestler honors went to Gibbs' David Fitch, who won the 113 bracket, and to Bogie's Sadrick Daniel, who improved to 26-5 with a third-period pin against Tra'Vaughn Harrington of Gibbs in the 170 final. Daniel was also the St. Pete City champ two weeks ago.
Danya Jones logged the other win for the host Gladiators with a first-period pin in the 106 finals. St. Pete saw Terry Barber (132) and Bryce D'Angelo (195) win titles.
Massung Duals: Indian Rocks Christian’s Conner Allshouse, Micthell Kerr, Jack Pohler and Selby Steward all went 5-0 at Lakeland McKeel. The Golden Eagles were down 160-pounder Michael Gingras, who was stopped at weigh-ins with a skin lesion and unable to wrestle. It took critical points away from the Golden Eagles, who lost two of the pool duals by fewer than six points and two of their advancement pools by fewer than five. Allshouse is now 30-0 on the season.
King of the Ring Tournament: Palm Harbor University took second behind Flagler Palm Coast, a team ranked sixth in 3A by Scout.com, 423-332 at Deltona High. Individual title winners were Gabe Naranjo (106), Joe Capone (132), and Gavin Mitchiner (138). Runnerup spots for the ’Canes went to Chris Fragale (113), Nick Gust (152), Anthony Didden (170), and Matt Westbay (285).
Gene Gorman Duals: Dixie Hollins placed third behind Lake Gibson and Jensen Beach, the fourth- and sixth-ranked teams in 2A by Scout.com, at Charlotte High. The Rebels were 7-2 in duals over the two-day tournament. Both Clifton Thomas and Brandon Nevitt went 9-0, moving between two weight classes. Dalton Busch (160), Liam Ward (113, 120), and Jesse Smith went 8-1, and 138-pounder Coleman Bryant went 7-2.
"It seemed like every match we were going against a ranked kid. We had a tough nine matches over two days," Rebels coach Nick Spataro said. "We got an enormous amount of tough matches that should make a difference when it comes down to it later in the year."