Wrestling: Palm Harbor University wins host tournament
As wrestling season turns the corner into the final run through counties and the state series, this weekend was most teams' last chance to get key matches in before it's do-or-die time.
Palm Harbor University did just that by hosting the Logan Kushner Memorial, a round-robin dual. The ’Canes got a good look at North Port, a team they share a district with and topped them 325.5-322.5 to win the tournament.
"It was important these last couple weeks to wrestle North Port," PHU coach Brad Sakevich said. "We've had some gritty wins this year; we're young but whether it's tournaments or duals, they're not always pretty but we find a way to get it done."
Individual champions for the ’Canes were: Gabe Naranjo (106, 10-0), Joe Capone (126, 9-0), Gavin Mitchiner (138, 10-0) and Matt Westbay (285, 9-0). The swing matches happened at 138 and 285 as Mitchiner pinned North Port's Cody Henson and Westbay pinned Schavallis Petterson in the last second of the first period.
"We lose either of those matches it could go either way," Sakevich said.
Chris Fragale topped Michael Bush of Sarasota 8-6 at the meet. Bush is ranked fourth at 106 by the Florida Wrestling Room and fifth by Scout.com.
"It felt great. I was down by two in the last 30 seconds when I got a roll-in, turned him and got back points," Fragale said.
PHU freshman Austin Jones (113) was a non-scorer but managed to take second place behind Fragale, going 7-1 and also besting Sarasota's Bush by pin fall.
Capone has been in the business of topping ranked 126-pound wrestlers in recent weeks. After topping East Lake's Josh McGinnis at the Live Greco Invite, Capone beat Admiral Farragut's Noah Farrelly 5-2 at the meet. Farrelly is ranked fourth by the Florida Wrestling room and third by Scout.com at 126 in Class A. Farrelly had a strong 8-1 finish for the BlueJackets that finished eighth overall as a team. The BlueJackets saw Trayvon Taylor go 8-1 and 138-pounder Jack Lescarbeau win his 100th match.
Nature Coast Tech was the next-best Tampa-area team placer in fifth with 145. The Sharks are down a couple wrestlers but were happy to mix it up at Palm Harbor.
"We're here to get ready for the state series and this was a perfect tournament for us," Sharks coach Mike Lastra said.
Anthony Contegiacomo (220) won his class, going 8-0 and improving his record to 42-1. Jordan Gibson (152) also won his class at 8-0. Gibson improves to 48-6 on the season.
"Those two (Contegiacomo and Gibson) have been setting the tone all year for us," Lastra said.
Southeast Duals: Dunedin won at Palmetto High School, beating the hosts 49-28. The Falcons went 5-0, improving their dual-meet record to 21-6 as they head into PCAC next weekend.
"It's always good to experience success going into PCAC," Falcons coach Marc Allison said. "This was great to have."
Individual wrestlers going undefeated were: Hunter Gast (120), Stephen Nichols (126), Anthony Gnezdilov (132), Grant Cardwell (138), Brendan Ditro (145), Thomas Bujalski (152), Robbie Washam (160), and Jakub Stetz (220). Stetz was the only 4-0 undefeated Falcon wrestler as the others were 5-0 but Stetz notched his 100th win at the meet.