ST. PETERSBURG — Lakewood wrestler Kenny Price has had somewhat of a tumultuous wrestling career.
The wins were few in his first two seasons, and a torn ACL sidelined him right before districts last year.
But none of that fazed him as he approached his final prep season. The 5-foot-8 senior has rebounded nicely with a 19-1 record and is ranked No. 10 at 171 pounds in Class A, according to Scout.com.
“Many people have underestimated me this season because all I have been is a district qualifier,” Price said. “I made it one of my goals to make it to state this season. I thought it was a possibility last year, but I got hurt. Last season one of my goals was to finish first at a tournament and I was able to do that.”
Lakewood coach Frank Niles has taken notice of his team captain’s impressive progress.
“He has definitely made some significant strides year by year,” Niles said. “I see no reason why he couldn’t make it on to states. He has really worked hard this season and it’s evident by everything he does. Overall he is a very good kid, too, and he does everything you ask of him.”
Price’s lone loss came early in the season to Hernando’s Zach Pritz (24-3), and both he and Niles have looked back at the match as inspiration for his current hot streak.
Price hopes to help Lakewood end a long drought and take home the team title at this weekend’s City Championships. The Spartans recently defeated Osceola in a team dual and according to Niles, that hasn’t been done in almost 30 years.
And no Spartan has placed at state in a while either.
“If I don’t make it to state it would devastate me,” Price said. “…It’s definitely somewhere I am expecting to be come next month.”
St. Petersburg City Championships
When/where: Saturday: weigh-ins, 8 a.m ; finals, 6 p.m at Northeast High
Teams: Admiral Farragut, Boca Ciega, Dixie Hollins, Gibbs, Lakewood, Northside Christian, St. Petersburg
2009 champion: Dixie Hollins
Skinny: Dixie Hollins looks to capture its fourth straight team title in the 16th edition of the Championships, but it will be a tough field to complete the four-peat feat. Northside Christian could end the Rebels’ four-year reign, with Dryden and Dalton Dennis leading the way. One of the individual matchups to watch for is Dixie Hollins’ Dana Harrington vs. Northside’s Brian Travis, who is ranked No. 1 in Class A at 103 according to Scout.com.
Favorites: De’Jhuan Monroe (103), Boca Ciega; Tyler Sunseri (112), Dixie Hollins; Cole Hardman (119), Lakewood; Brian Travis (125), Northside Christian; Dryden Dennis (130), Northside Christian; Dalton Dennis (135), Northside Christian; Anthony Melillo (140), Northside Christian; Cliff Barker (145), Northside Christian; Shaquille Adams (152), Dixie Hollins; Shane Sullivan (160), Dixie Hollins; Kenny Price (171), Lakewood; Luis Aldana (189), Dixie Hollins; Brodie Delpino (215), Dixie Hollins; Domonic Irizarry (285), Dixie Hollins
When/where: Saturday, weigh-ins, 8 a.m ; finals, 6:30 p.m at Dunedin High
Pool A: Citrus, Dunedin, Harmony, South Fort Myers
Pool B: Largo, Manatee, Palm Harbor, Wiregrass Ranch
2009 champion: Washington Township (New Jersey)
Skinny: An interesting team matchup could materialize between county power Dunedin and up-and-coming Largo, which looks to end the Falcons’ two-year reign as Pinellas County Athletic Conference champions. Some individual matchups to look out for are between Harmony’s Ariel Dominguez and Dunedin’s Ray Khemraj in the 103-pound class, and Citrus’ Taylor Jackson (171), ranked No. 1 in Class 2A according to Scout.com, and Dunedin’s Mike Hogan.
Favorites: Ariel Dominguez (103), Harmony; Shaun Shakoor (112), Dunedin; Coleman Martin (119), Citrus; Chandler Pope (125), Dunedin; Aaron Hartmann (130), Palm Harbor U.; Kane Plate (135), Dunedin; Elliot Morales (140), Wiregrass; Chris Grillo (145), Harmony; Casey Whitton (152), Citrus; Kyle Goodnow (160), Dunedin; Taylor Jackson (171), Citrus; David Vogheny (189), Largo; RJ Luth (215), Dunedin; Quinn Tibbetts (285), Manatee
When/where: Saturday, weigh-ins, 8 a.m ; finals, 6 p.m at Clearwater Central Catholic
Teams: Anclote, Berkeley Prep, Clearwater Central Catholic, Lakewood Ranch, Pinellas Park, Tampa Prep
Skinny: There are a couple good matchups on paper, notably CCC’s Andrew Maher vs. Lakewood Ranch’s Evan Dipsiner, and CCC’s Justin Lewandowski vs. Lakewood Ranch’s Kyle Riley. Look for Berkeley Prep, CCC and Lakewood Ranch to be the top three teams at the end of the day.
Favorites: Andrew Maher (103), CCC; Evan Dipsiner (103), Lakewood Ranch; Marty Milne (119), CCC; Eric Bach (135), Tampa Prep; Mike Sanford (140), Tampa Prep; Christian Hardegree (171), Berkeley Prep; Justin Lewandowski (189), CCC; Kyle Riley Hawkins (189), Lakewood Ranch; Schyler Miles (215), Berkeley Prep