HOLIDAY — As many wrestlers begin to turn an eye toward the postseason, one of the final regular-season events that serves as preparation, the Anclote Challenge Duals, took place Saturday.
For the second consecutive year, Dixie Hollins walked away with the title, besting the Gold Pool finalists of Wesley Chapel, Anclote and Osceola.
“Bringing home a trophy is always a confidence boost,” Dixie Hollins coach Nick Spataro said. “We’re coming off a win in the (St. Petersburg) city championship last week, and a tournament like this for us to go out there and get some matches in.”
The Rebels dismissed the other three teams in the pool easily, led by strong performances from Drew Harrington (106 pounds), Clay Redman (220) and state-ranked Andre Matthews (285 pounds). All three went unbeaten through the event. Matthews’ season record now stands at 43-0.
Osceola, the runnerup for the team title, won close duals over both the Wildcats and Sharks.
Wesley Chapel, which finished third overall, got a big effort from Nathan Love (182). He went 4-1 to improve his record to 35-4, while teammate Jacob Irving (132) was one of only six Gold Pool wrestlers in the entire tournament to emerge without a loss.
Anclote’s fourth-place finish was highlighted by Jonte Scott (152). Although he went 4-1, his loss to Osceola’s Benjamin Wagner was arguably the bout of the day. Wagner went up 3-2 via an escape in the third period, and despite his best shots, Scott was unable to take down his foe for a victory.
“We had some very close matches, to the point where we were losing in some frustrating ways,” Sharks coach Nick Radner said. “In all though, it was very even, and I was pleased with how the tournament went.”
Sickles, which fell into the Silver Pool after a preliminary loss to Dixie Hollins, finished fifth. The Gryphons had five undefeated competitors, including Nick Adams (126), who picked up his 100th career victory, and Andrew Martin (152), who maintained his undefeated record.
Kushner Duals: North Suncoast teams fared well at the Logan Kushner Duals hosted by Palm Harbor University.
Fivay went 7-3 for third place, the highest finish of the five North Suncoast competitors. PHU went undefeated at 10-0 to win the title.
Falcons 160-pounder Andrew Scherer went 10-0, beating PHU’s Aaron Hartman, ranked second at 145 pounds, 4-3. Fivay’s Nicco Lightfoot wrestled at both 182 and 195 pounds, going 9-1. His only loss was to 13th-ranked Max Reynolds of River Ridge. Cole Manion (120), Jose Morales (113) and Joey Zizzo (106) all went 9-1.
“I’m happy, the Countryside match was a close one we’d like to have, but I was happy with how we matched up against Palm Harbor,” Falcons coach Matt Bullwinkel said.
Nature Coast went 5-5 as a team with heavyweight Dean Brooks going 10-0 in individual matches. Sunlake was 5-4 and Mitchell and River Ridge were both 3-7.
Ippolito Memorial: Springstead crowned two champions and finished third as a team at the highly competitive Ippolito Memorial Tournament won, again, by host Brandon.
Springstead scored 167.5 points, well behind Brandon (302.5) and runnerup North Port (187).
Springstead’s Mike McDonald improved to 35-0 this season with a 5-2 120-pound final victory over Brandon’s Geoff Doback. And Jordan Rivera (145) beat Brandon’s Troy Joyce 3-2.
Pasco scored 96 points for eighth place, and Pirates heavyweight Andrew Ivie scored a 28-second pin on Chamberlain’s Robert Mosley in the final.
Times correspondents Andy Warrener and Steve Lee contributed to this report.