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Pinellas: Northside Christian wins Mita wrestling crown

Admiral Farragut’s Thomas Gorman, the event’s most valuable wrestler, moves in to pin Seminole’s Garrett Campbell at 160.

DOUG KATES | Special to the Times

Admiral Farragut’s Thomas Gorman, the event’s most valuable wrestler, moves in to pin Seminole’s Garrett Campbell at 160.

PINELLAS PARK — Northside Christian coach Chris Wilmington knows what it's like to watch other coaches take a seat ringside during the championship matches and see them remain there for several straight matches.

On Saturday night it was his turn to enjoy that feeling for the first time.

At the 17th annual Jerry Mita Invitational hosted by Pinellas Park, the Mustangs qualified wrestlers for the first five championship matches of the night. By the time Wilmington had worn his chair out, Northside Christian had crowned four individual champions and won the team title. All that even though it was Northside Christian's first time ever competing in this tournament.

"It felt good to see my guys work hard and see them really want this," Wilmington said. "I knew anything less than first would have been a failure for my guys."

Osceola held a 179.5 to 179 lead over the Mustangs in the team standings heading into the consolation and championship finals, but the Warriors couldn't keep up. Aaron Hartman (103), Brian Travis (112), Dalton Dennis (125) and Anthony Melillo (130) all won titles for Northside Christian, and Dryden Dennis (119) was a runnerup as Northside pulled away 204.5 to 188.5.

Osceola coach Dan Smalley watched Luis Tonge win the 145-pound title and Jared Willett take second at 215.

"We knew Northside was going to have a lot in the finals, and they were going to win a lot of matches, but we definitely did enough to take second place, and I'm very proud of that," Smalley said.

The tournament's most valuable wrestler was Thomas Gorman, who became the first Admiral Farragut Academy competitor to ever win an individual title at the Mita event.

Gorman, a two-time state qualifier in New York, is competing in Florida for the first time. He was not seeded for this tournament at 160 pounds, but he opened by pinning No. 1 seed Bo Kennedy of St. Petersburg and finished by pinning No. 2 seed Garrett Campbell of Seminole in the final.

Host Pinellas Park had a good run. Patriots fans watched Dennis Homol capture the 215-pound championship and Trey Butler win the heavyweight bracket. The only other team with two champions was Palm Harbor University. Jack Stewart earned the 140 title and Scott Santangelo won at 152.

Fast Facts

Team scores

Northside Chr. 204.5, Osceola 188.5, Pinellas Park 182.5, Seminole 153, Palm Harbor 149.5, East Bay 142, Sarasota 138.5, Lely 127.5, Lakewood Ranch 124.5, St. Petersburg 105, Countryside 101, Largo 93, Clearwater 73.5, Gaither 63, Gibbs 62, Admiral Farragut Academy 60.5, Lakewood 56, Northeast 49, Riverview 39, Boca Ciega 37, Booker 36, St. Petersburg Cath. 10, Indian Rocks 6, Nature Coast 0.

Championship Finals

103: AHartman (NSC) p. Dipsiner (LKWDR) 1:46; 112: Travis (NSC) d. Parrino (STP) 7-1; 119: RHartman (CS) d. DrDennis (NSC) 3-2; 125: DaDennis (NSC) tf. Stephenson (Lely) 18-3; 130: Melillo (NSC) d. Moinius (Lely) 6-3; 135: Brown (Sara) d. Longley (Largo) 7-3; 140: Stewart (PHU) d. LaRocca (Sara) 6-4; 145: Tonge (OSC) injdflt. Dulom (Sara); 152: Santangelo (PHU) d. Canaday (Sara) 6-0; 160: Gorman (AFA) p. Campbell (SEM) 3:33; 171: Bryant (STP) p. Clarke (LKWD) 4:34; 189: Riley-Hawkins (LKWDR) d. Rekstis (SEM) 6-1; 215: Homol (PP) d. Willett (OSC); 285: Butler (PP) p. Montgomery (Largo) 3:33.

Pinellas: Northside Christian wins Mita wrestling crown 12/12/09 [Last modified: Saturday, December 12, 2009 11:11pm]
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