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PALM HARBOR — Seventh-ranked Palm Harbor University hosted second-ranked Kissimmee Osceola on Thursday night, and the Hurricanes got all they could handle, dropping a 38-33 decision.
The ’Canes dominated the lower weight classes, winning five of the first six but the Kowboys came back, winning the middle and heavier weights. The Kowboys won at 220 pounds after Chris Pagan pinned sophomore Steve Charon. Osceola led 35-33 heading into the final match at 285. PHU senior Tyler Modlin was wrestling up in weight class but hung with Ben Cruz.
Cruz scored a takedown in round one but Modlin escaped. Modlin tied the match at two after escaping the hold that Cruz carried into round two. Cruz scored again to go up 3-2 with just a minute left in the final round with the meet on the line. Cruz scored a big takedown but again Modlin escaped. Finally, Cruz’s speed overwhelmed a tiring Modlin and the 7-4 win gave the Kowboys the victory.
“Five years ago when I took over this team, my dad, Gerald, and I came up with a five-year plan of where we wanted to be,” PHU coach Brad Sakevich said. “We were gonna search out the best competition we could find, that’s why we have this dual with Osceola.”
Sakevich’s strategy seems to be paying dividends. Hurricanes vanguard wrestlers sophomores Connor (126) and Jared (120) Prince as well as junior Aaron Hartman (145) carried victories. Hartman’s match was forfeited and Connor and Jared scored pins, Jared in round one with seven seconds left and Connor in the third round with 10 seconds left.
The most dominant match came from senior Mike May (132). He dominated Cody Dana, even letting him up out of a hold only to sweep his leg out and take him down a second later. May pinned Dana with 13 seconds left in the first round.
“(May’s) freshman year he lost to that kid (Dana); he’s beat him twice already this year,” Sakevich said. “… I couldn’t be more proud of any other kid on the team.”