Wrestling: Lennard second in revamped Cougar Invitational; Brandon fourth at Graves
TAMPA — Durant coach Drake Mallard's decision to add a separate college division to the 20th annual Cougar Invitational went over so well that it will become an annual tradition.
"Why not? We wanted to do something different," Mallard reasoned on Saturday, the second day of the two-day event that took place at the Florida State Fairgrounds.
Lakeland Southeastern, a first-year wrestling program, went 5-0 in a dual format to win the college division. The University of Central Florida, the top-ranked team in the National Collegiate Wrestling Association, finished fourth and USF took fifth among six teams.
"The best part was seeing the high school kids coming over to watch college wrestling," Southeastern coach Javier Maldonado said.
In the high school division, Lakewood Ranch won handily with 212 points, 45 more than runnerup Lennard. Robinson finished third at 152.5, Strawberry Crest was fourth at 146.5 and fifth-place Newsome tallied 139. Host Durant was sixth with 115.5 points and Indian Rocks Christain came in eighth with 99.
Second-year Lennard coach Pat Lavin was disappointed in his team's finish and indicated that the outcome might have been different with standout heavyweight Rowdy Driggers, who was third in the state last year but suffered a shoulder injury during Thursday's practice.
"I have high standards," Lavin said. "I was planning on winning it."
The Longhorns had four finalists and two champions in David Kirk (132 pounds), who beat Lakewood Ranch's Dylan Cameron 8-5, and Tyler Jagernault (170), who earned a 13-4 major decision against Lakeland's Johnathon Tutiven. Lennard's other finalists were Justin McClure (106), who lost to Strawberry Crest's Manny Ramirez on a technical fall, and Hunter Lefrvre (113), who lost 5-2 to Lakeland's Payton Stewart.
Strawberry Crest and Indian Rocks Christian each had two champions. Aside from Ramirez, the Chargers' David Cox (285) pinned Newsome's Sean Behrens in 1:19. For IRC, Michael Gingras (160) had a 16-8 major decision against Hamid Salahutdin of Sickles and Conner Allshouse (182) defeated Hillsborough's Connor Knauer 9-3.
Jim Graves Invitational: For just the third time in the 13 years of the tournament, host Brandon did not win.
The Eagles came in fourth (470 points), behind champion Lake Highland Prep (559), runnerup Camden County, Ga. (545), and defending champion Miami South Dade (503). That marked the third win for Miami South Dade, the only team other than Brandon to win the Graves.
Brandon had three finalists with Frank Bruno (138) capturing his team's lone title by defeating Riverview's Kizhan Clarke 5-0. Trey Lane (106) and Joe Marcano (195) also made the championships matches for the Eagles.