LAKELAND — While only eight Pinellas wrestlers have survived through to the semifinals at the state wrestling championships, all seem to have a favorable chance of leaving the Lakeland Center with gold.
Dunedin’s Clarence Arrington (126) is undefeated with a 37-0 record heading into today. The state champion at 120 pounds in Class 2A is attempting to become the first two-time title winner in Falcons history.
Derrick Doss, a standout football player as well as a wrestler for Largo, wants to wrap up his career with a title at 182 pounds. It would be the Packers’ first state champion since 1996 if Doss pulls it off. He is also undefeated at 40-0.
In Class 3A, Palm Harbor University is the lone local program with multiple wrestlers still alive with a chance at a championship. Jared Prince (120), Connor Prince (126) and Aaron Hartman (152) are no strangers to this position, all state placers last season.
Jared will have to deal with Brandon’s James Flint if he can advance to the finals, while Connor has another Eagle, Dylan Lucas, on the opposite side of the bracket. Hartman has probably the toughest road with Brandon’s Dakota Greene up next in the semifinals then former state champion Osceola’s Fox Baldwin if he can advance.
St. Petersburg’s Thomas Moser and Countryside’s Matthew Collora (106) will also compete in today’s semifinals. Moser is attempting to become the first St. Petersburg wrestler to capture a title since 1991, while Collora can add his name to the 26 previous Countryside champions.
Northside Christian’s Alex Kruklinski (195) survived a difficult bout with Bradford’s Phillip James, and in his first trip to states will have a shot at standing atop the podium today.
Pairings for Day 2 of the state wrestling tournament can be found at fhsaa.org/sports/wrestling. Click “Brackets.”