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Wrestling: Brandon dominates at Graves Invitational

BRANDON — Host Brandon dominated a 16-team field to win the ninth annual Jim Graves Christmas Invitational Saturday for the eighth time.

Graves coached the Eagles to their first of 21 state titles in 1977 and started a 459-match national winning streak, the longest of any high school sport in history.

"I named it after my best buddy here in Brandon," said Brandon coach Russ Cozart, who replaced Graves in 1980. "(Graves) started the streak and built the program up."

The Eagles extended their current streak to 61 by scoring 629.5 points. Camden, one of three Georgia teams, was runnerup with 431 points and South Dade, which ended Brandon's streak by winning the Graves tourney in 2008, finished third with 419.

"Camden's a great team, and so is Pope (fourth, 331 points)," Cozart said. "There were three great teams from Georgia, three great teams from Miami; then you've got us."

"The top teams were outstanding," said Jim Haskins, Pope's coach and a former Tampa resident. "We really like the caliber of wrestlers here."

Eight Brandon wrestlers won their finals matches. Eagles 152-pounder Clark Glass worded the quickest by pinning Jacob Moskowitz of Lakeland George Jenkins in 59 seconds. Kyle Koziel had the closest match, edging Camden's Tim Gilbert 4-3 at 171 pounds.

The Eagles' other champions were: Colton Howell (112), Kevin Norstrem (125), Rossi Bruno (130), Tyler Liberatore (135), Wally Figaro (160) and Mike Ettore (189).

The only other Tampa Bay area wrestler to win a final was Strawberry Crest's Abe Fernandez, who defeated South Dade's Carlos Diego 4-2 at 103. Fernandez, a state qualifier last season, and Koziel were voted by coaches as the tourney's two outstanding wrestlers.

"This means the world to me," said Fernandez, a senior. "I've been practicing all summer and going to camps to make sure I bring the first state title to Strawberry Crest."

9th Annual Jim Graves Christmas Invitational

Team results: Brandon 629.5; Camden County (Ga.) 431; South Dade 419; Pope (Ga.) 331; Vestavia (Ala.) 313

Individual results: 103: Fernandez (SC) over Diego (SD). 4-2; 112: Howell (Br) over Uhre (St. Thomas Aquinas), 11-5; 119: Hall (SD) over Gulesian (Columbus, Fl.), 5-0; 125: Norstrem (Br) over Hamilton (Camden), 15-5; 130: Bruno (Br) over Bangs (Columbus), 7-1; 135: Liberatore (Br) over Alfau (SD), 20-1; 140: Ramirez (SD) over LaBarre (Newsome), 3-1; 145: Trott (Camden) over Henson (Pope); 152: Glass (Br) pin Moskowitz (Lakeland George Jenkins), :59; 160: Figaro (Br) over Anthony (Pope); 171: Koziel (Br) over Gilbert (Camden), 4-3; 189: Ettore (Br) over Stevens (Pope), 8-3; 215: Chapman (Peachtree, Ga.) over James (Camden), 10-3; 285: Simmons (Vestavia) over Butler (Camden), 4-2

Wrestling: Brandon dominates at Graves Invitational 12/11/10 [Last modified: Saturday, December 11, 2010 11:18pm]
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