Wrestling: Dunedin repeats at a growing Gibbs Gladiator Invitational
ST. PETERSBURG —The fourth annual Gibbs Gladiator Invitational began with two mats and eight teams. On Saturday, the meet hosted 15 teams duking it out on three mats. And for the second straight year, Dunedin won the team title, outlasting St. Pete City champion Northeast 166.5-148.
The Vikings were without 220-pounder Marcel Scott (college visit), but led 134-122.5 with three rounds to go. Then the Falcons started to take the edge. Both squads had five wrestlers in the finals but a head-to-head between 160-pounders Josh Felix and Tavoris Smith saw Felix carry a 2-1 victory for the Falcons. Grant Cardwell (138) and Anthony Siergrist (285) came through for the Falcons in their finals matches, Cardwell scoring a 15-2 major decision and Siergrist winning 7-2, piling up the necessary points to stay in front.
“Felix wrestled up at 160 so we could fill the 152 weight class and he did a great job,” Falcons coach Marc Allison said.
Siergrist is working his way down to 220 where Allison wants him for the state series, having another heavyweight he’s waiting to plug into the lineup. The win for Siergrist on Saturday marked his first tournament win.
The Vikings dropped a couple key finals matches. Shaq Johnson (170) was locked in a battle with Mason Gordon of Sarasota Military Academy. Tied 1-1 deep into the third period, Gordon scored a last-second take down to win it 3-1, and Takhari Bowens got pinned by Countryside’s Phillip Brown in the 220 final.
Brown, fresh off surgery on a broken arm suffered during football season, improved to 5-0 on the season with a pair of pins en route to the 220-pound title.
“This win felt really good,” Brown said. “Coming from the lowest point in my entire life to winning matches again, this is great.”
The thriller match of the day went down in the 120 final. Dunedin senior Hunter Gast locked up with Citrus Park Christian eighth-grader Josh Pritz. Down 5-4 into the third period, Gast scored a reverse take down to go up 6-4. Then with one minute left in the match, Pritz scored a misdirection outside single to tie it 6-6 and send it to overtime. Then, with 15 seconds left in overtime, Pritz hit an ankel pick to win it 8-6.
Northeast’s Connor McNally kept his Gladiator Invite streak alive, winning his third straight tournament title and his first of the 2016-17 season. McNally scored a 9-2 victory over top-seeded Mike Smith of Countryside in the 126 final.
Gibbs’ Danya Jones (106) and Chris Keith (285) won tournament belts for pins in the shortest amount of time. Jones blasted through the 106 bracket, scoring three pins. Keith was runner up to Siergrist. Northside Christian’s Kamen Wilmington put on yet another take down clinic in the 145 final, tech pinning Northeast’s Rafael Perez 26-10. Wilmington improved to 26-1 on the season.
Seminole’s Mason Hart (113), St. Pete’s Eric Bunch (152) and Countryside’s Anthony Burburija (182) won titles, and Pinellas Park’s Richardo Taylor upset top-seeded Grant Kesseler of Seminole by pin fall in the 195 final.