Wrestling: Robinson wins expanded Peter Barker Invite
DUNEDIN — The Peter Barker Invite got a little surprise when it ballooned from the original 18-team slate to 22 teams. A late start forced officials to speed up the meet by setting shorter periods in matches up to the championship final and the final bouts just got in under 10 p.m. On hand Saturday were former Dunedin state champions Clarence Arrington and Kyle Goodnow, both currently serving in the military.
In the early going, Wiregrass Ranch was in the lead but Robinson put two wrestlers in the finals with 113-pounder Isaac Guillermo scoring a third-period pin over Calvary Christian’s Michael Sarron to win the title. A host of other Knights battled through wrestlebacks to stack the winning margin 178-164 over Northeast. Wiregrass Ranch was third with 145 and host Dunedin took fourth with 142.
“We’ve got a core of hard-working, young guys with experience,” Robinson coach Tommy Montero said. “The first few rounds and then the last round really did it for us, guys battling back through wrestlebacks and getting bonus points.”
Montero praised efforts from Mike Brock (132), Jackson Rowe (145), Andrue Sauceda (120) and Jaquan Jackson (182), also mentioning Kevin Otto (195), Mathew Arnols (285) and Devin Jandura (220).
“They really got us some points,” Montero said.
Northeast took the runnerup spot as Marcel Scott scored three pins en route to the 220 title. Scott pinned Durant’s Steven Vazquez in the first 40 seconds of the final for the win.
“I had the setup with a head tug. I knew he wasn’t ready for it and I hit him with a cow catcher and that was the end of it,” Scott said.
Northeast coach Robert Wilson was proud of the efforts from Rafael Perez (third at 145), Connor McNally (third at 126) and Pinellas County leading rusher Shaq Johnson (third at 170). Heavyweight Damian Doesburg wasn’t even a scoring wrestler, having lost a match to teammate Takhari Bowens prior to the meet but made the finals, losing to Wiregrass Ranch’s Justin Aponte 19-12.
“Johnson is just coming back from football and is playing in the all-star game this week; he’s not even in shape, yet,” Wilson said.
The 126-pound class looked like the toughest at the tournament but Gulf junior Austin Agazarm met with little difficulty, scoring a major decision, a pin, a 12-4 win in the semis and pinned Immokalee’s Gabriel Ramirez in the second period for the title.
“(Robinson’s Justin Valdez in the semifinals) got the first take down and I had to work harder to get back in the match,” Agazarm said.
Most Outstanding Wrestler awards went to Grant Cardwell of Dunedin and Devin Praesel of Wiregrass Ranch. Cardwell won 15-9 over Wiregrass’ Kaipo Frietas in a hard-fought match,and Praesel scored a first-period pin of Largo’s Winchester Dermody for the 160 title.
“(Grant) worked hard, wrestled through some adversity and still found a way to win,” Dunedin coach Marc Allison said. “After the tournament, he was telling me what he needed to work on; that was very refreshing.”
The grudge match of the night went to Durant’s Cody Johns, who scored a pin against Seminole’s Grant Kessler in the 195 final with 22 seconds left in the match.
“This was exhausting,” Johns said. “You just never give up, you push yourself to the limits, never give up on yourself.”
Gibbs’ Danya Jones (106), Admiral Farragut’s Dillon Ottinger (120), Gulf’s Nathan Napolitano (132), Calvary Christian’s Casey Debrecht (145), Berkeley Prep’s Alexandre Romanowski (152), Sarasota Military Academy’s Mason Gordon (170) and Countryside’s Anthony Burburija (182) all won their respective weight classes.