Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Sports

Wrestling: Pinellas County's top prospects to medal at state

As Pinellas County's state-bound wrestlers work to perfect their moves and drop those last few ounces of weight for this weekend's state meet, it's time to take a look at the top prospects for taking the podium Saturday in Lakeland.

Last season three Pinellas wrestlers broke through to the top of their weight classes. This season, county wrestlers could equal or surpass that mark.

A look at the county's six best bets for a state title, in order:

Jared Prince, Jr., Palm Harbor U., 62-0, 126 pounds, Class 3A

A year ago, Prince beat three-time state champion James Flint of Brandon to claim his first individual title. This season Prince carries a 62-0 record into the state meet and an overall 121-match win streak. Prince should make the final, where second-ranked Evan McCall of Fleming Island or Tyler Sage of Cypress Bay may await him. Prince beat Sage via a tech fall 15-0 at the District 16 Duals in December in Miami. Prince's biggest victory this season is a 6-5 nail-biter over nationally ranked Dalton Macri of Canon McMillan in Pennsylvania at the Buzz Hill Invitational in January. It's an upset if anyone beats Prince.

Connor Prince, Jr. Palm Harbor U., 61-0, 132 pounds, Class 3A

Jared's twin brother, Connor is already the top-ranked wrestler in his weight class in 3A, boasting a 61-0 record. He will likely face second-ranked Miami South Dade's Justin Ramirez (50-5) in Round 2 at state, but Prince pinned him at the District 16 Duals and won by major decision at the Knockout Classic in December. Later on in the tournament, Prince could face third-ranked Charles Cuthbert of Fleming Island, whom he beat 7-2 in the semifinals at the Knockout Classic. Then there's North Port's fourth-ranked John Cruz or Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas' Nick Abenoza. Prince has a tech fall over Abenoza from District 16 Duals and a 10-3 win against Cruz last weekend at region. This could be the year the Prince twins pose for photos together holding championship medals.

Aaron Hartman, Sr., Palm Harbor U., 55-2, 145 pounds, Class 3A

Hartman is wrapping up an accomplished high school career. He is a four-time Pinellas County Athletic Conference champion. He already has been to state four times, losing in the championship round twice. He has a scholarship to Hofstra and he's 55-2 and ranked third coming into the tournament. Now he's looking for a state title. Hartman could go without facing anyone ranked higher than seventh until the semifinals, where he could meet top-ranked Damian Penichet of Miami's Christopher Columbus. If Hartman gets through the semis, he will likely get either fifth-ranked Giovanni Bonilla of Osceola or Isaiah Crosby of South Dade. Hartman beat both this year, Bonilla 10-1 at the Knockout Classic, and Crosby 4-2 at District 16 Duals.

Andre Matthews, Sr., Dixie Hollins, 31-0, 285 pounds, Class 2A

Matthews is ranked second and undefeated at 31-0. He logged wins at the St. Petersburg City tournament, the Anclote Invitational, the PCAC, district and region, where he beat fourth-ranked Bucky Dennis of Charlotte 3-1 in the final. Matthews' biggest feat this season is his title run at the Buzz Hill Invitational, where he beat top-ranked (in 3A) Colton Lynn of St. Thomas Aquinas. Matthews' top 2A threat is Jesuit's Austin Underwood, who is also 31-0 and accepted a scholarship offer to wrestle for the University of Virginia. Matthews should reach the final, but Underwood is a daunting obstacle.

Conner Allshouse, So., Indian Rocks Chr., 41-2, 152 pounds, Class A

Allshouse is ranked third coming into the weekend. He finished fifth last year at state at 138 pounds. He is a district and region champion, having beaten fourth-ranked Connor Steinfeld of Sarasota Military Academy in back-to-back finals of the district and region tournaments. Should Allshouse reach the semifinals, he most likely will face second-ranked Imier Almanzer of Clay. If Allshouse reaches the final, top-ranked and defending champ Jake Spengler of Lake Highland Prep (48-0) likely awaits. Spengler is set to wrestle for Virginia Tech next season.

Anthony Parisi, Sr., Seminole, 41-1, 138 pounds, Class 3A

Parisi, a transfer from Easton High in Pennsylvania, went 41-1, his only loss coming in the final of the East Lake Invitational against PHU's Anthony Agazarm. Parisi's battles with Agazarm have become legendary locally, but the 3A 138-pound class is strong in South Florida. Parisi is likely to get through his first two rounds, but could meet top-ranked Pat Lugo of Miami South Dade in the semifinals. Lugo is 49-0 and pinned Agazarm in the District 16 Duals. Should Parisi survive, second-ranked Sal Guerriero of Fort Lauderdale St. Thomas Aquinas could be ahead. Guerriero is 49-4 and beat Agazarm 10-4. Agazarm has Lugo in Round 1, and can't be ruled out.

Comments
Quinton Flowers’ top 10 plays at USF

Quinton Flowers’ top 10 plays at USF

Understandably, an anticlimactic vibe hovers over the Birmingham Bowl for many USF fans, who were hoping their season would end a bit farther east, at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta.But one still can't ignore this game's historical context: It's the last ...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Canseco’s tweets about sexual misconduct could jeopardize job on A’s telecasts

Canseco’s tweets about sexual misconduct could jeopardize job on A’s telecasts

LAKE BUENA VISTA — A series of tweets by former Tampa Bay Devil Rays and Oakland Athletics slugger Jose Canseco about sexual misconduct and politicians could put in jeopardy his job as a studio analyst on A’s telecasts. Canseco posted several times ...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Is Alex Colome telling us something about Rays’ plans with his Instagram account?

Is Alex Colome telling us something about Rays’ plans with his Instagram account?

Closer Alex Colome was not traded by the Rays to the Cardinals on Tuesday night.But he appeared to be either prepping for or having some fun with the possibility.On his alexcolome37 verified Instagram account, Colome started following the Cardinals o...
Updated: 3 hours ago

Boys basketball: St. Petersburg 62, Countryside 61

CLEARWATER – St. Petersburg already had Serrel Smith, an Ole Miss signee who is the reigning Pinellas County player of the year.The lineup became even better in the summer with the addition of Tampa Catholic transfers Tai and Terrell Strickland...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lofty postseason goals for November Morton, Countryside girls basketball

Lofty postseason goals for November Morton, Countryside girls basketball

CLEARWATER — When Anthony Klemmer took over as girls basketball coach at Countryside five years ago, he looked at the banner hanging in the gym. "Girls Basketball. District Champs. 1993.""That’s it?" Klemmer said. "Just 1993?"His goal was to add year...
Published: 12/13/17
Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 2 – with some news

Live from Disney: Winter meetings update, day 2 – with some news

UPDATE, 8:45: Tommy Hunter parlayed his solid 2017 season with the Rays into a two-year deal with the Phillies.UPDATE, 7:13: Unexpected sighting in the meetings lobby: Luke Scott, who looked in great shape at 39 and is at least talking about playing ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

The Bucs’ problem isn’t how they finish; it’s how they start

For the second straight week, the Buccaneers had the ball in the final minutes of a tie game.For the second straight week, they could not finish.As disappointing as that might be, they have a larger problem, and one that has existed all season: The B...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Despite injury, Gerald McCoy wants to play this season

Despite injury, Gerald McCoy wants to play this season

Even dealing with a biceps injury and his Bucs at 4-9, Gerald McCoy isn't giving up on playing this season."I'm a fighter," McCoy said Tuesday night. "Y'all know me. I don't quit. I give it everything I have. Even the slightest possibility of being a...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

Lightning opens road trip with shutout of Blues

ST. LOUIS — This showdown was supposed to be about the best team in the East versus the best in the West. In reality, the Lightning’s 3-0 win over the Blues on Tuesday night pretty much came down to this:Andrei Vasilevskiy is one of the best goalies ...
Updated: 9 hours ago
Bucs’ defensive line surprises families with Christmas spree

Bucs’ defensive line surprises families with Christmas spree

The West Club at Raymond James Stadium was packed on Tuesday night with 75 needy local families who thought they were getting a holiday dinner and stadium tour with Bucs players.The defensive line stepped up to give the families a much bigger surpris...
Updated: 9 hours ago