PINELLAS PARK — Given how thoroughly Palm Harbor University dominated Saturday's Jerry Mita Invitational — the Hurricanes crowned six champions and all 14 wrestlers placed — it is no surprise that the team also will be the dominant topic of conversation heading into the conference meet next month.
Buoyed by a fifth-place finish at last week's Cougar Invitational, PHU easily won the Jerry Mita, scoring 299.5 points to beat runnerup Bradenton Manatee by 99.5. It was the second straight season the Hurricanes have won the tournament.
"We had a good showing at Durant last week and that gave the kids a lot of confidence," PHU coach Brad Sakevich said. "I thought we could do well at this tournament. We had a goal of having six champions, and we got that."
With a handful of nationally ranked wrestlers, the Hurricanes had the star power, particularly in the lower weights. But PHU showed it also has depth. No other team had an answer for those kinds of numbers.
The Hurricanes had 13 wrestlers advance to the semifinals with 10 making the finals. The Hurricanes champions were: Tim Sakow (106 pounds), Jared Prince (120), Connor Prince (126), Tucker Hardwick (138), Aaron Hartman (145) and Tyler Modlin (220).
Jared Prince was named the tournament MVP after pinning each of his each four opponents.
"I basically just went out there and stuck to do I do best," Prince said. "I wanted to wrestle solid and pick up as many points and wins as I could."
The Hurricanes were so strong in the finals that Connor Prince, Hardwick and Hartman each pinned their opponents in less than a minute. It was the second straight season Connor Prince, Jared Prince and Hartman each won individual titles.
There were only three other champions from Pinellas County: St. Petersburg's Thomas Moser (160) and Kenny McGhee (285) and Northside Christian's Alex Kruklinski (195).
Hillsborough County had one champion: East Bay's Nissan Anderson at 170 pounds. Anderson helped the Indians place third with 155 points, the highest finish among Hillsborough County teams.