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State wrestling: Cozart wins fourth title to lead Brandon to 10th team crown in a row

LAKELAND — Apparently, the classification doesn't matter. The Brandon dynasty marches on.

The Eagles won their 10th consecutive team championship on Saturday night at the state wrestling finals at the Lakeland Center.

Competing in Class 3A for first time after winning the past nine titles in 2A, Brandon (239.5 points) was still able to easily outdistance second-place Osceola (134.5) by more than 100 points.

Armed with six individual champions, the program rolled over its competitors.

Senior Joe Cozart (152 pounds) made history by equaling the state record with his fourth individual title. He joins a club that included eight wrestlers before this weekend, including former Brandon wrestlers David Craig, Eric Grajales and Cesar Grajales. Cozart defeated Miami Palmetto's Quinn Coffman 10-3 to join the exclusive group.

Rossi Bruno is next on the horizon to potentially join this club. The sophomore just won his third career title with a 4-2 decision over American's Armanni Harris. After a state win as an eighth-grader at Tampa Bay Christian, he is on target to become the first wrestler with five championships in his career.

"Winning five state titles isn't my ultimate goal," Bruno said, "but winning those will get me to where I do want to go — a good college."

Rounding out the individual champs for Brandon were two-time champion Kevin Norstrem (125), two-time champion Tyler Liberatore (130), three-time champion Clark Glass (145) and two-time champion Henry Chirino (285), who transferred from American before the start of the season.

Durant's T.J. Davis pulled off the surprise victory of the tournament with his win in the 152-pound finals. Ranked ninth in the Scout.com poll coming into the tournament, he was coming off a third-place finish at region.

Somehow, Davis found the confidence and momentum to mow through the field in 2A. He won a 5-4 decision over Nice-ville's Brock Lamb.

"I knew there was no standout in my weight class, and my coach really pushed me," Davis said. "After I beat the first kid, I started getting a lot of confidence."

Tampa Bay Christian's James Flint (103) and Tampa Prep's Wes Jarrell (160) rounded out the local title winners. Flint defeated Northside Christian's Aaron Hartman 6-5, and Jarrell knocked off Avon Park's Charles Hubbard 12-7 to claim his crown.

On the Web

For a photo gallery from the state finals, go to tampabay.com/

hometeam

State wrestling: Cozart wins fourth title to lead Brandon to 10th team crown in a row 02/20/10 [Last modified: Saturday, February 20, 2010 11:53pm]
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