After finishing runnerup to Dunedin at last week’s Class A, District 11 tournament, Indian Rocks Christian coach Jay Dugmore was sure his wrestlers would do better at regions.
At Saturday’s Region 3 tournament at Berkeley Prep, it beat Dunedin 133.5-131. But both finished behind Cape Coral Mariner, which had 138.5.
IRC had three champions. Jay Dugmore beat Joey Fazio of Bradenton Southeast 5-2 in the 132-pound final. Eighth-grader Erich Byelick topped Dunedin senior Marc Allison 4-3 in the 145 final after beating him 7-2 at districts.
“(Byelick) is more determined than any kid I’ve ever seen. He truly wants to be the best wrestler in the world,” Dugmore said. “He’s not scared of anyone. He challenges me at practice all the time. I wish I had 10 eighth-graders like that.”
In the 152 final, sophomore Conner Allshouse drew Connor Steinfeld of Sarasota Military Academy, whom he beat 6-1 at districts. Steinfeld proved much tougher Saturday. The match was tied 2-2 until the last minute, when Allshouse bull-rushed a takedown, overpowering Steinfeld and taking a 4-2 win.
In all, the Golden Eagles qualified six for state, including Jack Pohler (120), Michael Gingras (138) and Selbourne Steward (170).
Dunedin qualified five: Allison, Stephen Nichols (106), Brendan Ditro (126), Anthony Dampier (170) and Michael Dunlap (195).
Dampier won his class after a 6-5 decision against Southeast’s Stephen Kelle in the semifinals and Mariner’s Carrick Brennan was injured during his semifinal win.
Dunlap, a sophomore who won a district title, took third by beating Berkeley Prep’s Brad Grundy 4-1.
“(Dunlap) is making good adjustments and is learning to wrestle with strength,” said Dunedin’s Marc Allison, who coaches his son of the same name.
Clearwater Central Catholic senior Aaron Nauert rallied from a semifinal loss to beat Tampa Prep’s Landon Carter 2-1 in the 132 third-place match. Nauert pinned Alfande Pierre of Naples Lely to clinch a berth at state.
Northside Christian freshman Kamen Wilmington qualified at 138 and wound up on the other side of a rematch with Sarasota Booker’s Eric Cabral. Wilmington handed him a major decision last week but fell 5-2 in Saturday’s third-place match.