LAKELAND — Palm Harbor University had the best finish among Pinellas schools at Saturday’s state wrestling tournament, fifth in Class 3A.
The Hurricanes had 88 points, one fewer than fourth-place Winter Springs. Homestead South Dade won with 174.5 points, 47 more than Kissimmee Osceola.
Indian Rocks Christian finished 10th in Class A with 45 points, best among county schools. Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons took first with 165.5 points, 16.5 more than Orlando Lake Highland Prep. Tampa Prep was third with 80.5 and Hernando eighth with 47.
Brandon won the 2A title, its 25th state title and 14th in a row. The Eagles finished 270.5 points, 151 more than Jesuit. Springstead was third with 89.5.
Four county wrestlers reached the finals.
PHU’s Jared Prince (126 pounds) pinned Miramar’s Alexander Lesense to get there then dominated Orange Park Fleming Island’s Evan McCall 7-1 for his second straight title. The junior finished the season 66-0 and extended his win streak to 125.
The Prince family wasn’t done. Jared’s twin, 132-pounder Connor, pinned Lakeland Jenkins’ Ethan Owen in 1:13 to win a title.
“It was a reverse half-nelson. I knew I had the pin as soon as I hit it,” Connor Prince said. “I knew the match was over at that point. I think I was doing a victory dance in my head.”
Added Jared Prince: “Last year (when I won), it didn’t feel right. I wanted to finish in the finals together.”
Connor had to fight through a difficult bracket. After an opening win, he came up against Justin Ramirez of South Dade, ranked No. 2 in the state. Prince pinned him in the third period. Prince beat No. 3 Charles Cuthbert of Fleming Island 5-3 in the semifinals. He then won the title to cap a 65-0 season.
“I don’t know how to explain how I feel right now,” he said. “I’ve been waiting for a year to get back here, and now it’s happened.”
In the Class A 152 final, IRC sophomore Conner Allshouse drew one of the best wrestlers in the state in 49-0 senior Jake Spengler, a Virginia Tech-commit going for his third state title. Allshouse fell 20-7.
“(Allshouse) gave me the best match I’ve had in the whole state series,” Spengler said.
Allshouse’s zenith came in the semifinals, when he beat No. 2 Imier Almanzer of Green Cove Springs Clay 8-4.
“I don’t think there’s a bigger heart on earth right now than this kid. (Allshouse) has more desire and heart than anyone I’ve ever seen,” IRC coach Jay Dugmore said. “Outside wrestling, he’s a man among boys and any coach would be lucky to have him lead their team.”
Allshouse’s mother, Jen, died of cancer Jan. 18, and he carries a wristband with her name on it in his singlet when he wrestles.
The Class 2A 285-final had a quick ending as Dixie Hollins’ Andre Matthews suffered an ankle injury during the first period against Jesuit’s Austin Underwood while down 2-1. Matthews (34-1) was forced to forfeit the match. Details of his injury had not been determined.
“I’m so proud of him. He’s done such a great job for a guy that is football-first,” Rebels coach Nick Spataro said. “It’s amazing he’s been able to do what he’s done.”
The rivalry between Seminole’s Anthony Agazarm and PHU’s Anthony Parisi etched its final chapter as they found each other in the third-place semifinals. Tied 2-2 after two periods, Parisi scored a reverse take-down from the down position only to have Agazarm get a reverse take-down moments later.
Reset after a deadlock at 4 with nine seconds left, Parisi scored an escape to win 5-4. Parisi dropped his third-place match 8-2 to place fourth, and Agazarm lost 4-3 in the fifth-place match.
Other county wrestlers to place:
• PHU senior Aaron Hartman (145) battled back from a semifinal loss to beat Osceola’s Giovanny Bonilla with a 9-0 major decision to take third.
• East Lake junior Dylan Renaker (170) fought through a grueling fifth-place match against Sebastian Calderon of Miami Braddock, losing 5-3 and claiming sixth. Renaker, who finished second at the region meet, was the first East Lake wrestler to place at state in six years. “He’s surpassed a lot of his goals,” Eagles coach Joe Marzo said.
• IRC eighth-grader Erich Byelich (145) and junior Jay Dugmore (132) placed fifth.
• Dunedin senior Anthony Dampier (170) finished fourth after being pinned in the third-place match.