DUNEDIN — Ever vigilant, Dunedin’s Kyle Goodnow crouches low with his hands out wide, eyes darting back and forth, anticipating the next challenge from the teammates who surround him.
One rushes in, and the two grapple for 20 seconds before another quickly steps into the circle to take on the behemoth. The process continues until the whistle blows.
It’s a drill of anticipation and endurance. It’s an exercise to solidify technique while defusing and conquering any situation on the mat, all while keeping a clear head — something Goodnow has perfected.
“He has never held back, and he gets after it and he listens to everything you ask him to do and he just has a strong, mental attitude,” Dunedin coach Marc Allison IV said. “He’s tough mentally.”
At the Class 2A-2 St. Cloud regionals last weekend, Goodnow overcame a 2-1 overtime match against Nature Coast’s Carlos Carrasquillo and a challenging 3-1 final against Springstead’s Connor Ross.
Goodnow, a senior with a 47-0 record, is the No. 2-ranked 170-pounder in Class 2A, according to Scout.com. He praises teammates for helping him prepare for this week’s state tournament at the Lakeland Center. Teammates such as Chris Winowich, whose season ended last weekend.
“Winowich has definitely been a big help,” Goodnow said. “I was surprised to see him come back, and I’m glad there are a few who didn’t make it (to states) who are still coming to practice and working.”
Underclassmen, such as coach’s son Marc Allison V, are drawn to Goodnow’s passion for the sport.
“When Kyle wrestles tough it motivates me,” said Allison, a sophomore who placed third in regionals to advance to state. “He’s an inspiration and he works hard. I try to be like him because he’s always working the hardest.”
The elevated ranking doesn’t faze Goodnow. He practices the same way he has throughout the season, and his only focus is a state title.
“I hope being ranked No. 2 is motivating him,” Allison IV said. “If he was ranked No. 1, that should be weighing on him. Being ranked No. 2 just means you’re not the best, and hopefully that’s what he’s striving for.”
The top wrestler in the state is Crestview’s Tyler Goudy (35-0). Goodnow is used to facing the best, and if the two were to meet it would be during Saturday’s semifinal.
“Supposedly he’s pretty good, but I’ve always wrestled the top competition in the state,” said Goodnow, who finished 2-2 at last year’s state tournament. “I’m just going to go out there and wrestle everybody like they’re the state champ.”
The Allisons are one of the most recognized families in Pinellas County wrestling.
Walt Allison, the patriarch, is a longtime official who was inducted into the Florida chapter of the Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2004. His son, Marc, was Countryside’s first state champion in 1984 and is in his ninth season as coach at Dunedin. Marc’s son, Marc Jr., qualified for the state tournament for the Falcons at 126 pounds by placing third at last week’s region meet.
This weekend, all three will be participating in Lakeland.
Walt is officiating.
Marc is coaching.
Marc Jr. is wrestling.
“It’s pretty neat to have three generations in the family all involved in the meet at the same time,” Marc Allison said.