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CLEARWATER — “Hard-working kids from hard-working families” has been the motto for the Largo wrestling team all season.
The Packers worked relentlessly all week in preparing to seize the Pinellas County Athletic Conference team title, a title that escaped them in the 2006-2007 season, when they lost by a mere 1.5 points to Countryside.
After Saturday’s performance at Countryside High, Largo can say the monkey has been lifted off its back. The Packers edged Dunedin, which had won the past two conference titles, to claim the school’s first PCAC crown.
“This is the best feeling I’ve ever had as a coach,” Largo’s Jeremy Frioud said. “I’m just so proud of these kids. These kids showed up with a purpose, and the feeling is just unreal right now. You put your kids in the position to show up, and they performed tonight.”
Largo went 4-for-4 in winning consolation finals and 5-for-5 in winning conference finals matches. Jared Ballew (103 pounds), Clarence Longley (135), Cody McKinnon (140), Chris Johnson (152) and David Vogeney (189) all won conference finals medals. State title contender Aaron Hartman (130) of Palm Harbor University continued his successful sophomore campaign. He improved to 48-4 by defeating Dunedin’s Alex Lebhar with an 18-3 technical fall.
The match of the night was the first finals match, between Largo’s Ballew and Boca Ciega’s De’Jhaun Monroe. Ballew had easily defeated Monroe several weeks ago at the Southside Duals, but Monroe did not make it easy this time around. In the third period Monroe, down 6-4, tried a reversal move late in the match and thought he had gained the two points necessary to edge Ballew. But the official ruled the move came after the final buzzer.
Team scores: Largo 221, Dunedin 197, Palm Harbor 145, Dixie Hollins 140.5, Countryside 114, East Lake 111, Osceola 99, Tarpon Springs 94, Lakewood 89, Seminole 71.5, Pinellas Park 62.5, Boca Ciega 57, St.Petersburg 50, Northeast 31, Clearwater 29.5, Gibbs 18
Finals: 103: Jared Ballew (Largo) over De’Jhaun Monroe (Boca Ciega), decision, 6-5; 112: Shaun Shakoor (Dunedin) over Patrick Brown (East Lake), major decision, 14-5; 119: Ryan Hartman (Countryside) over Dylan Husserl (East Lake), decision, 11-3; 125: Dana Harrington (Dixie Hollins) over David Vasquez (Northeast), fall, 2:29; 130: Aaron Hartman (Palm Harbor) over Alex Lebhar (Dunedin), T-fall, 18-3; 135: Clarence Longley (Largo) over James Bueno (Dixie Hollins), decision, 6-3; 140: Cody McKinnon (Largo) over Austin Prince (Dunedin), T-fall, 17-2; 145: Dylan Gouletas (East Lake) over Dominic Driver (Seminole), decision, 8-3; 152: Chris Johnson (Largo) over Mitchell Larivee (Seminole), fall, 1:46; 160: Kyle Goodnow (Dunedin) over Charles McDaniel (Countryside), decision, 6-1; 171: Mike Hogan (Dunedin) over Brandon Bell (Dixie Hollins), decision, 9-4; 189: David Vogeney (Largo) over Luis Aldana (Dixie Hollins), fall, 4:42; 215: Jared Stippert (Palm Harbor) over Dennis Homol (Pinellas Park), fall, 5:30; 289: Shane Haller (Osceola) over Kameron Romaelle (Tarpon Springs), fall, 1:24.