From Punta Gorda, nine county wrestlers, representing four schools, qualified for the state tournament in Lakeland next weekend and all of them will be there for the first time.
"In our region we have a lot of tough schools," said Dixie Hollins assistant coach Mike Thompson. "Up and down the lineup, our kids beat some tough kids."
The Rebels qualified 12 for regionals; three are moving on. Jordan McKenzie was second at 103 pounds, Ryan Washington second at 145 pounds and Mike Lloyd fourth at 119.
McKenzie won his semifinal 6-0, but in his championship match lost 14-2 to Brady Logan of North Fort Myers. Washington faced Lely's Davis Isme in the finals, but lost 11-5.
Thompson said it's always an achievement to see an athlete move on. "You get guys to the state meet and you know you have another week left," he said.
Osceola, which qualified 10 for regionals, also qualified three for Lakeland, including Brent Sergakis, the 130-pound runnerup. Sergakis reached the final, but never competed. He was illegally slammed in his semifinal bout and posted an injury default in the championship.
Matt Dixon was fourth at 125 pounds and Louis Tonge third at 140 for the Warriors.
From Northeast, Austin Yelko was third at 171 pounds and Jacob Williams fourth at 145. From Clearwater, Tyler Paar placed second at heavyweight. He lost to Caleb Rainwater of Palmetto Ridge 11-6 in his title bout.
2A-2: Dunedin pushes four to state
Antonio Talley is returning to state, but this time he is going as a region champion. The 171-pound senior from Dunedin decisioned Zaq Berridge of Brandon 7-4 for the championship crown. He is one of four Falcons who qualified for state.
"I was hoping five, and thought we had an outside shot of seven, but four is the most we've had since I've been coach," said Marc Allison. Luis Agramonte was second at 285 pounds, Jeremy Goodloe fourth at 125 and Justin Zeedyk fourth at 189. All three will be making their first trip to state.
3A-2: Cougars take 5th
At the region meet at Royal Palm Beach, Kissimmee Osceola won the tournament title with 204.5 points. Countryside (81.5 points) was the county's highest finisher at fifth overall; Pinellas Park was 10th (54.5). No county wrestler won an individual title, but two competed in the championship finals: Countryside's Layton Ayers (130) and Palm Harbor University's Jack Stewart (140).
A-3: SPC gets first champ, top 6 finish
FORT MYERS — History was not on Brian Travis' side at the A-3 region meet at Evangelical Christian on Saturday, but luck certainly was.
After losing to Tampa Bay Christian eighth-grader Victor Fugate twice this season, Travis, a sophomore at St. Petersburg Catholic, pulled out an 11-9 decision Saturday. The win gave Travis the school's first individual region title and helped the Barons place sixth in the team standings, another best.
"Words can't describe this," SPC coach Bobby Damron said. "We're such a small school. We only field eight, nine guys some times. We give up five, six weight classes some times, so to do this well here, our guys really had to step it up."
Fort Myers Riverdale won for the second straight year, totaling 171.5 points. Robinson placed second and Jesuit (106.5) was fourth. The top four from each weight class advance to the state meet, which starts Friday at the Lakeland Center.
Senior Ryan Alberdi (145) earned the lone title for Clearwater Central Catholic, which finished in a tie for eighth with Northside Christian. Alberdi topped Eric Williams of Robinson with a 7-3 decision.
"This is my first regional title and my first trip to state," Alberdi said. "I've given up everything for this. I knew I had to go there and try my hardest and it paid off."
Other local titlists included Northside Christian's Dillon Dennis.
Annabelle Tometich, Special to the Times