DUNEDIN — Dunedin and Sunlake battled back and forth for the team points lead during Saturday evening's Class 2A, District 8 wrestling finals, with both teams showcasing an impressive display of willpower.
A pinfall victory by Dunedin's RJ Luth over Sunlake's Jordan Mills in the 220-pound bout sealed the team title for the Falcons, their third consecutive district crown.
"They had the lead, and we ended up catching them and beating them," ninth-year Dunedin coach Marc Allison said. "It shows our young kids that if you work hard and do your job then the payoff is there."
Dunedin scored 182 points, followed by Sunlake (172), Zephyrhills (106) was third ahead of River Ridge (103), and Mitchell (90) was fifth.
The Falcons' Kyle Goodnow, ranked No. 2 in the state at 170 pounds according to Scout.com, easily defeated Mitchell's David Hayes 9-1 in the final.
"I was a little disappointed how the team wrestled at Palm Harbor, but they stepped it up this week for districts and I'm proud of them," said Goodnow, who improves his record to 43-0.
Dunedin and Sunlake each had eight wrestlers reach the championship finals, and each had five wrestlers walk away with individual crowns.
The Seahawks' titlists were: Wesley Wood (113), John Ortiz (120), Austin Lopez (182), Zach Kweller (195) and Brandon Franklin (285). But the Falcons had one more third-place finish.
The Falcons and Seahawks each qualified 12 wrestlers for the region tournament at St. Cloud beginning Friday. The top four wrestlers in each weight class advance.
A-9: Wesley Chapel rallies in thriller
Wesley Chapel's Thomas Fee (195 pounds), Diego Farchaka (220) and heavyweight Teddy Johnson beat their Robinson foes in the final three matches and the Wildcats edged the host Knights 189.5 to 180.5 to win the Class A, District 9 championship.
3A-6: Wiregrass 7th
Wiregrass Ranch scored 66 and finished seventh at the Class 3A, District 6 meet won by Brandon as Kyle Koesling (113 pounds) and Elliott Morales (138) fell in the championship finals, but qualified for the region meet.