Defending state champion Sarasota took a first day lead at the Class 4A, Region II wrestling tournament. The Sailors got 57 team points and advanced all 12 wrestlers into the second day of wrestling, set to begin at 10 a.m. today at Winter Haven High School.
"We're about where we expected to be," said Sailors coach Ron Jones. "The kids are peaking. They peaked physically early in the season, but mentally they've been up and down."
Brandon was in second place with 54.4 points, followed by Pinellas County Conference champion Countryside with 52.
The region lost one state hopeful when Bradenton Manatee's John Kelly was disqualified for injuring Largo's Zack Norsworthy with an illegal body slam. Kelly, who was leading 11-1 at the time, entered the tournament with a 27-0 record.
Meanwhile, all of Pinellas County's undefeated wrestlers maintained their spotless records. Henry Middleton went to 25-0 with a 23-6 technical fall of King's James McCleery. Countryside's Keith Davis went to 26-0-1 with a technical fall in the quarters, while teammates Jim Carazola (145) and Kelly Bitsko (140) improved to 25-0 and 27-0 respectively. Largo's Peter McDonough got two pins at 275 to go to 25-0, while teammate Tony Gentilcore (220) won his fourth match of the year after breaking a year-long absence at last week's districts. He will face Northeast's Tony Swain (23-0) in the semis today. Swain sweated out an 11-4 overtime victory over Hillsborough's Jose Martinez
in the last match of the night.
Class 3A, Region III: Osceola, East Lake and St. Petersburg advanced three wrestlers each to the semifinals in the Class 3A, Region III wrestling tournament at East Lake High.
The semifinals and wrestlebacks begin at 10 a.m. today. The consolations start at 6:30 p.m. and the finals begin at 8 tonight. The top four wrestlers from each classification advance to the state tournament in West Palm Beach next weekend.
One of the highlights of this morning will be a rematch between East Lake's Ryan Krause and Osceola's Jason Braun in the 125-pound weight class. Last week Braun trimmed Krause 9-8 in a district title match.
The Warriors also had Mike Otto and Steve Colquitt advance to the
semifinals. Otto will meet top seeded Harris Dix of Fort Myers-Riverdale in the 135-pound division. Dix has only lost once in 26 matches. Colquitt also has a tough match against Andy Hill of Naples-Barron Collier in the 145-pound weight division. Hill enters the regional semifinals with a 26-1 mark.
Along with Krause, East Lake advanced two more wrestlers. Tasso
Politopoulos advanced to the semifinals in the 103-pound weight class.
He will meet undefeated Eliazar Valdez of Immokalee. The other Eagle wrestler to advance was Chris Waite in the 220-pound division. Waite meets unbeaten Leon Garcia of Riverdale. In the other semifinal match of the 220-pound weight class, Gibbs' Don Bates meets Josh Ogden of Naples. Waite has beaten Bates four times this year, twice in overtime.
St. Petersburg also had three wrestlers advance. Leading the way was Isaac Shedrick in the 103-pound division. Shedrick meets undefeated Cory Kness of Naples this morning. Dana Harrington advanced for the Green Devils in the 112-pound class and Steven Chrisman advanced in the 189-pound division. Chrisman meets Sebring's Tyrone Ellis this morning.
Riverdale had seven wrestlers advance to semifinals to take a commanding lead in team totals with 52 points.
- Correspondent Wayne McKnight contributed to this report.