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Class 2A, Region 2 wrestling: Brandon wins 20th consecutive region team title

During the semifinal round of the Class 2A meet Saturday at Poinciana, Brandon locked up its 20th consecutive region team championship and recorded its 29th in the past 30 seasons.

The Eagles took the title with 284 points, eight champs, one runner-up and will send 12 wrestlers to the state championships next weekend in Lakeland.

Springstead was second, followed by Lake Gibson, Dunedin and St. Cloud. Wharton was 10th and the only other Hillsborough County team to finish in the top 10.

Russ Cozart, Brandon's head coach, said the two-day tournament was tough, but he was pleased with his wrestlers.

"This was a grueling couple of days," he said. "On the road, living in a motel, going back and forth to compete; it was rough, but all my guys did their best. Some of the losses were in overtime or by one or two points. I am proud of them."

Ryan Renkey (112), Rossi Bruno (119), Tyler Liberatore (125), Clark Glass (130), Eric Grajales (135), Kevin Timothy (140), Joey Cozart (145) and Wally Figaro (152) won individual titles for the Eagles.

Glass, one of Brandon's starting freshmen, won his first individual regional and state tournament as a seventh grader at Tampa Bay Christian. He said this time it is different.

"It is really cool being part of such a great team," Glass said. "Hopefully, this is the next successful step toward winning another individual title and being part of my first team championship. Our workout room is hard, but with such great partners, I have to improve. Next week, we have to wrestle smart and tough."

Zaq Berridge placed second for Brandon at 171. Armwood senior James Gray (112) was the only other second place finisher from Hillsborough County.

Brandon's Kyle Koziel (160) and Mike Ettore (189) placed third. Finishing fourth were Brandon's Keith LeFevre (103), Wharton's Daniel Rodriquez (130) and Newsome's Josh Drake (140).

Part of the Brandon story ended with close losses. Sophomore Lorenzo Martinez (215) and senior Robert Holzer (285) wrestled undersized all season.

"In each match Lorenzo gave up 35 pounds, and Robert gave up 85," Cozart said of Martinez, who went 41-20 this season, and Holzer, who was 35-12.

Class 2A, Region 2 wrestling: Brandon wins 20th consecutive region team title 02/14/09 [Last modified: Sunday, February 15, 2009 12:24am]
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