Wrestling: Jesuit edges Palm Harbor U. for LiveGreco Invitational title
LUTZ — The third annual LiveGreco Invitational at Steinbrenner opened on a solemn but inspiring note Saturday.
The tournament had been a benefit for 6-year-old Greco Roman Bouzakis, who battled aggressive brain tumors before dying in November. Bouzakis’ mother, Toni, made opening comments at the meet and the Steinbrenner wrestling team gave her a commemorative plaque. Southmoore (Okla.) High’s team also brought along a quilt made from wrestling shirts from the first eight years of the program’s existence.
“We lost six family members (during the 2013 tornadoes that ravaged the town of Moore, Okla.); we’ve been there,” Southmoore coach Greg George said. “Some of our kids lost brothers and sisters but as a wrestling community, you have to do things like that. It’s bigger than just us.”
The plaque and quilt took Bouzakis by surprise.
“It was a shock, really,” she said. “I hadn’t looked at a photo of Greco recently and for the team from Oklahoma to come out to this local tournament for a little boy that they never met, it was impressive.”
The meet itself was a two-team battle between defending champs Palm Harbor University and Jesuit. The teams were tied at 155 heading into the final round.
“This year is a young team; we had some opportunities in the consolation finals but we lost those matches,” Jesuit coach Sal Basile said. “We’ve got to win our three in the finals to get a little back.”
The ’Canes helped the Tigers out. Osbaldo Granados fell to Riverview’s Tyler Forrest 8-2 in the 106 final. Then PHU’s Chris Fragale, the defending 113 champ, fell 5-0 to Sarasota’s Michael Bush II.
Then the Jesuit finalists came through, as 126-pounder Matt Daner defended his Live Greco title by pinning Southmoore’s Roarke Simpson in the first period. The tallest order for the Tigers came at 132 between Basile’s freshman son Ethan and Land O’ Lakes’ Troy Nation. Basile came in at 39-1 and Nation 35-2.
Tied through two periods, Basile scored a take down with 37 seconds left in the match to go up 8-7 but Nation scored a reversal and Basile an escape, and the match went to overtime tied 9-9. Through the first overtime, neither wrestler could gain an advantage. Nation started down but Basile held him for the full 30 seconds, setting up a choice scenario for the next 30-second overtime period.
“I knew (Nation) was going to throw a leg. I just had to make sure and catch him so I could come out the back,” Basile said.
Basile got the escape and the 10-9 win and virtually sealed the team win for Jesuit.
Angel Dominguez fell 8-1 in the 170 final but the Tigers had piled up enough points to supplant Palm Harbor U. and swap first- and second-place finishes from a year ago. The ’Canes were without Gavin Mitchiner and Dylan Whitman, who participated in a 66-12 dual win over East Lake on Friday night. PHU coach Brad Sakevich elected to hold them out on Saturday to keep them fresh for the PCAC meet in two weeks. The result was a 165-159 Jesuit victory.
Riverview grabbed third with 133. Tyler Forrest improved to 43-0 on the season, winning the 106-pound title. Teammate Evan Akel won the 220 title 6-0. Host Steinbrenner took fifth with 124. Land O’Lakes was sixth with 110.5. Josh Spears (152) edged Sarasota’s Cody Davidson 5-4 and Jarret Kinney scored a reverse take down with 20 seconds left to top Plant’s Johnathan Brabazon 6-5.
Hillsborough’s JaeKwon Bryant won Hillsborough’s lone title with a 6-1 victory over Jon Norman of East Lake, and Gaither’s Brad Bolesta improved to 27-1 with a second-period pin of Robinson’s Jaquan Jackson. Matt Westbay at 285 won 5-2 over host Steinbrenner’s Nate Bautista.