Hard to think of a wrestler better than Joe Tuttolomondo.
Even the name strikes fear in the heart of opponents. How would you like to spend six minutes in an adversarial relationship with someone named Tuttolomondo?
Chances are, you wouldn't have to. You'd probably be pinned before then, maybe in 57 seconds, maybe in 15 _ two of the pin times the Daytona Beach Seabreeze High senior posted in the Class 5A, Region II North tournament.
In fact, Tuttolomondo's 15-second pin in the 145-pound semifinal improved his record to 30-0 for the year. All that was left was the final, against an opponent whose credentials matched even his: Springstead junior Corey Hill, who also entered the final with a 30-0 record.
It wasn't even close. The rangy 6-foot-2 Hill dominated Tuttolomondo for a 13-4 decision, improving his record to 31-0 and 57-1 over the past two seasons.
Hill placed third at state last year as a sophomore in the 135 class, and fourth as a freshman in the 125 class. Today at the Bayfront Center in St. Petersburg, he'll begin his quest for the Class 5A state title.
The event runs today and Saturday and also includes the Class 4A and Class 6A tournaments. First-round wrestling begins at noon today, and semifinals start at 10 a.m. Saturday. Championship finals begin at 7:30 p.m.
Springstead coach Bob Levija said Hill has shown immense improvement over previous seasons and has likened him to a "wrecking crew."
Said Hill: "I'm in a lot better shape than last year. My goal is to win it all."
In the region meet, Hill opened with a pin in 2:58 of Sanford Seminole's Stephen Sperry, followed with a pin in 1:58 of Lake Gibson's Colin Lopez and reached the final by defeating Jonathan Fertic of St. Cloud 12-2.
Springstead's state title hopes apply to others than Hill, however.
Also winning a region title was Springstead senior Juan Rodriguez, who improved to 30-2 with a 5-2 decision over Lakeland Jenkins' Robert Tysver in the 135 final. Rodriguez reached the final with a 14-8 decision, a 7-3 decision and a pin in 4:25.
Though Gilbert Burgos was not a region titlist, he placed fourth at state last year and finished second in the 112 class at the region meet. Burgos, a junior, fell to 32-3 with 13-4 loss to New Smyrna Beach junior Billy Ahrens, who remained unbeaten at 24-0.
Adam Keister reached the 125 region final, where he fell 5-1 to Kissimmee Gateway's Nick Reed, who improved to 29-1. Keister, a state qualifier last year, fell to 27-6.
Also qualifying for Springstead was Aaron Boldt (senior, 26-9), who placed third at 103, and Adam Hennebery (junior, 30-5), who placed third at 152.