State wrestling

State wrestling: Brandon picks up where it left off

LAKELAND — Senior Eric Grajales (135) and freshman Tyler Liberatore (125), Brandon's only undefeated wrestlers, set the pace for the Eagles to take an early lead Friday with 40.5 points in the state championships. Manatee followed with 23 and Springstead 18.

Grajales and Liberatore scored first-round pins and recorded impressive victories in the second period. The Eagles placed 11 of their 12 state qualifiers into this morning's semifinals and scored 107.5 points to keep them in first place.

Joey Cozart (145) and Kyle Koziel (160) also scored early pins for the Eagles.

Brandon left the gym early to get a good night's rest.

"We need to face tomorrow morning like just another guy we have to wrestle," Grajales said. "We have been training for Saturday morning all year."

Robinson led Class A with 15 points after the first round. Chris Rollins (119), Zack Boyer (135), D.J. Woods (215) and Mike Benitez (285) scored big for the Knights with pins.

Boyer scored a technical fall in the second round to come within two more wins to capture an individual state title.

Jesuit's Austin Boudreau (112) and David Gonzalez (125) were the only Tigers in the winner's bracket, but likely will struggle to produce a top-20 team finish.

Kevin Norstrem (112) is the only one remaining in the winner's rounds for Tampa Bay Christian.

Riverview's Herman Hernandez (135) is overcoming a strong weight class. T.J. Davis (145) and Nick Hadick (285) of Durant and Kendall Ivy (189) of Alonso are also solid.

Perhaps the top two local wrestlers in Class 3A are Bloomingdale workout partners Carlos Montero (140) and Chris Figari (160). Montero eliminated Figari from the winner's bracket last year, then joined him when his family moved to the Bloomingdale area last summer.

"One match at a time," he said after his second-round victory. "My first match was pretty easy, but the second was tough against a guy I wrestled in my Miami region last year. He was very quick and should place in the top six."

Figari scored a pin in his second match.

State wrestling: Brandon picks up where it left off 02/20/09 [Last modified: Friday, February 20, 2009 11:52pm]

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