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BRANDON — The powerhouse Brandon Eagles found themselves in the unusual spot of fourth place at the Class 3A, District 6 wrestling meet.
But that was only because nearly every Brandon wrestler had a first-round bye.
Once the Eagles were taking to the mat later Saturday, they were adding to their 38-year string of district titles by the time the semifinals rolled around.
The Eagles placed wrestlers in all 14 finals and claimed 13 individual championships. James Flint (120 pounds), Dylan Lucas (126), Kevin Norstrem (138), Jacob Haydock (160) and Robert Enmon (220) all repeated as district champions.
Eagles junior Darren Lester (49-8) battled Plant City’s Lance Dounges in the 285-pound final. Lester was down by as much as 5-1 but scored a pin with 36 seconds left in the third period.
“I saw (Dounges) was tired, and I knew I could do it, I just had to focus and outwork him,” Lester said.
In the thriller match of the night, Bloomingdale 195-pound senior James Wiehle (41-3) outlasted Brandon’s Brandon Johnson 4-3 in triple overtime to break the streak of finals victories for the Eagles. Johnson made two good escape attempts in the second overtime, but Wiehle held fast and slammed him back down each time. In the third overtime, Wiehle chose to be down. All he needed was an escape.
“I knew I just had to get out and keep a Coach (Greg) White position,” Wiehle said. “Whenever I wrestle Brandon it seems like I always lose by one point, it felt great to win by one point.”
2A-9: Jesuit repeats
TAMPA — Jesuit captured the Class 2A, District 9 title for a second consecutive year, outscoring second-place Lennard 232.5 to 140.
The Tigers placed 10 wrestlers in weight-class finals, with six taking home a district title. Three of coach Mike Scicchitano’s wrestlers finished in third place and another in fourth, meaning Jesuit will take all 14 to the region tournament.
“Today was very rewarding for all the work these guys did throughout the season,” Scicchitano said. “I’m very proud of this group because they’re so close with one another and we’re strong from top to bottom. Our guys really stepped up throughout the day and when we wrestle like we did here, we can handle anyone.”
The battle for second was closer as Lennard topped Hillsborough by five points. Lennard finished with three champs to the Terriers’ two.
While Hillsborough coach Mike Patrick was disappointed to not have more wrestlers in the finals, he took pride in the fact that he will have 12 wrestlers to Lennard’s nine heading to region competition. It was just a few years ago that Patrick struggled to fill weight classes in building the program.
“It’s a little frustrating that out of our 12 that are going to the regional, only three won their last match,” Patrick said. “We have to finish stronger. As a team, I think we could have got second, and I wanted to push Jesuit a bit more, but … as far as where the state of our program is, I couldn’t be happier.”
A-9: Robinson sends all 14 to regionals
Robinson crowned six champions and qualified all 14 wrestlers for next week’s region meet while dominating the Class A, District 9 meet it hosted.
The Knights scored 230 points to finish well ahead of Wesley Chapel (154) and Berkeley Prep (84).
Three Robinson wrestlers took their championships via pin: Damien McKenzie (132 pounds) stopped Wesley Chapel’s Jacob Irving in 4 minutes, 59 seconds, Alex Reay (195) won in 3:33 and Kendonte Nichols (220) got his in 5:49.
Robinson’s Kionte Crocker (138) and Christopher Rodriguez (182) scored decision victories, and Luis Peguero (170) scored a tense 1-0 win over Tampa Prep’s Nick Mosco.
Berkeley Prep’s lone champion was Eric Massey at 152.
Correspondent David Rice contributed to this report.