PALM HARBOR — Nine teams from Hillsborough and Pinellas Counties took their first steps on the road to state Friday.
Palm Harbor University nearly blocked the road, claiming its sixth straight district title with 265.5 points, 157.5 ahead of runnerup East Lake. The Hurricanes sent 13 of 14 wrestlers to the finals and all 14 through to regionals. Eleven Hurricanes emerged as district champions.
The Hurricanes, true to form, snatched the first five finals away from the rest of the field. Only the title card matchup, Anthony Agazarm vs. Anthony Parisi IV at 138 broke the streak.
After a scoreless first period, Seminole's Parisi scored two takedowns in the second. Through two escapes, Agazarm closed the score to 4-2 for the final period, where Agazarm clearly had two separate takedowns that could have tied or even flipped the match, but both were whistled just out of bounds. The last came as time expired. Parisi took Round 4 of the rivalry 4-2.
The Hurricane train did not stop again until the 170 final. East Lake's Dylan Renaker avenged a semifinal loss at the PCAC to seventh-ranked Jake Timpanaro by beating him 12-5.
"I took him down four times last week in the first period; I made one mistake in the second and I lost the match," Renaker said. "I think I was too worked up about it, I went out there today and just had fun."
Eagles teammate Julian Santos made the 285 final but was pinned by Alonso's Nathan Brantley.
It was a huge day for some of the individual Hurricane wrestlers on top of the team effort. At 106, Tim Sakow had been battling an illness the past few weeks, unable to even finish his match against Cain Martin of Countryside in the PCAC finals a week ago. Sakow made a statement Friday, beating Martin 12-2 for his first district title.
"I lost the district title last year to a Countryside lightweight (Matt Collara), and it was just terrible," Sakow said. "I didn't finish a lot of things I started (last season), this year, I'm finishing."
The Prince twins, Jared (126) and Connor (132), cruised to their third district titles each and are a combined 115-0 this season. Tucker Hardwick (152) beat Hillsborough County champion Andrew Martin of Sickles with a sneaky leg takedown in the third period to take the match 7-2.
But the most exciting move of the day came in the 160 final between PHU's Gunner Hurst and Sickles' Anthony Legari. Legari snared Hurst's leg in the second period but Hurst pulled a "cement mixer" move, flipping over for a reverse takedown on Legari, then getting the pin.
"I hit it (cement mixer) all the time; I wasn't worried that he had my leg," Hurst said. "I tried to hit it earlier, he just leg go of my leg."
PHU 220-pounder Marco Prusac pinned 15th-ranked (at 285) Nick Pavlakis of Steinbrenner, who cut down to 220, in the second period to claim his first title.
Class 2A-9: Dixie Hollins edged out Fivay 179-167 for the district title at Northeast on Friday.
The Rebels qualified 10 for regionals and crowned three district champions in Brandon Nevitt (170), Clay Redmond (220) and Andre Matthews (285). Nevitt came back to beat Osceola's Zack Hehn 7-2 in the final after losing to Hehn at the PCAC meet a week ago. Matthews continued his dominance in Pinellas County and beyond, pinning all three opponents and extending his unblemished record to 30-0.
"Once Andre (Matthews) gets on top, it's over," Rebels coach Nick Spataro said. "A few weeks ago, Clay (Redmond) was struggling, but he came into his own the last couple of weeks and has a lot of confidence now."
Osceola was fourth with 131.5 points and qualified eight, while crowning Ben Wagner champ at 152. Boca Ciega was fifth (101) and qualified six. Jacob Mohr won his second straight district title, at 145. Host Northeast finished sixth (79) and will bring four to regionals. The Vikings saw Daniel Gutierrez crowned district champ at 132.
Fivay wrestlers Cole Manion (120), Jean Alejandro (126), Andrew Scherer (160) and Davion Sutton (195) all claimed titles. The Falcons are sending nine to regionals.