TAMPA — For the fourth year in a row, Palm Harbor University carried off the Class 3A District 7 trophy on Saturday, having crowned five district champions and qualifying 12 wrestlers for the next round at Brandon.
The Hurricanes (222.5) outscored runnerup East Lake by 91.5 points. The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance to region.
Wharton had two of the best individual performances of the day. Junior Gabe Nold (44-5) went 4-0 in the 285-pound class, pinning each opponent.
“It’s an awesome feeling,” Nold said. “It’s nice to see the hard work paying off.”
Wildcat senior Tyler Liberatore (53-0) pinned all three of his opponents without hardly breaking a sweat. Liberatore, an Arizona State commitment and three-time state champion, expects to see stiffer competition at region.
“I know that Osceola (Kissimmee) has some good wrestlers at my weight,” he said.
Meanwhile, Palm Harbor U. performed well at district. Freshman Connor Prince (48-1) dominated his three matches and took first at 106 pounds. Not to be outdone, brother Jared Prince (48-1) won the 113-pound class.
“I feel like when he wins his weight class, I have to win mine; it makes me more pumped up to win,” Jared Prince said.
Junior Josh Kampman (41-9) pinned his way to the 132-pound title, while sophomore Aaron Hartman (45-0) pinned his way to the 145-pound crown. Junior Tyler Modlin wrestled a tough senior in Samuel Chaffman of Chamberlain but still came away with the 220-pound title.
East Lake was second as a team behind the tremendous effort of senior Dylan Husserl (30-1), who pinned all three of his opponents. Junior Patrick Brown (32-8) also cruised to the 120-pound title.
The biggest surprise of the day came from Gaither’s sophomore Dakota Jordan (4-1), who made it to the 170-pound final by beating PHU’s Ethan Fortner (32-16)., Jordan was pinned by district champion Alijah Martin (25-10).
“It’s only his second year wrestling; he took his lumps last year, but he’s earned his spot,” said Gaither coach Michael Santos.
Also qualifying for Gaither was junior Daisy Santos, a three-time girls wrestling state finalist at 106 pounds.
3A-8: St. Petersburg settles for fourth
St. Petersburg scored 96.5 points to finish fourth, highest among Pinellas schools, at the Class 3A, District 8 meet at Bradenton Manatee. North Port won the team title with 234.5 points.
The Green Devils qualified nine wrestlers for the region meet and had one individual champion, Thomas Moser, who won at 152 pounds.
Northeast was sixth with 56 points and Pinellas Park was seventh with 48.
The Patriots had four wrestlers place among the top four and the Vikings had three.