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Bulls pose threat to Eagles' streak

Bloomingdale and Brandon meet tonight in a battle of the county's only unbeaten teams.

For 26 years, one team after another has tried to end Brandon's win streak, and some have come close. However, the number of consecutive Brandon wrestling victories has grown to 333, a national record for dual competitions in any sport.

At 7 p.m. tonight in the Bloomingdale gym, the Eagles could receive their most serious challenge to date.

"Brandon sets the standard for high school wrestling in the whole state of Florida," Bulls coach Scot Tipton said. "We have a pretty good but young team this year, and they have been wrestling well all season.

"I think it is only fitting and very good for our sport that the two undefeated teams in the county wrestle in the final dual meet of the season."

The Eagles are very young, too, with four seniors, several sophomores and juniors plus a pair of freshmen. The Bulls have three seniors.

Each team faced Durant, a team with strong lightweights and decent middleweight. Both the Bulls and Eagles were beaten in three of the first five individual bouts. But both dominated the Cougars in the middle.

Brandon continued to dominate in the upperweights, where Bloomingdale gave up two pins.

With defending state champion David Mason leading the Bulls lightweights at 119 and state tournament hopeful Robert Hagin at 103, Bloomingdale should take at least two, and perhaps even four, of the first five matches. If the Bulls take four, the streak will have to be saved by the Eagles' middleweights beating the Bulls' strength.

Brandon has state contender Aaron Weiss at 112 to stop or slow down a quick start by Bloomingdale.

The middleweights also are the Eagles' primary power source. They are led by state contenders David Emch (130-140) and Brian Burgman (135-140), both juniors.

A senior trio of Curtis Bristol (145), Mike Doles (152) and Jonathan Toomer (160) could be the Eagles' last hope to stop the Bulls middleweights, and they must win or possibly be part of the team that lost the streak.

Burgman, Emch or Bristol will have to face Bloomingdale's second-best wrestler, senior Travis Cochran. He has only one loss and is a strong state contender.

Cochran normally weights in at 140 but could go as low as 130 or as high as 152.

The Bulls counter in the middle with Dan Butieries, Gabe Bartolomei, Chris Curry and Justin Diaz.

"At the beginning of this season, it looked like any number of teams could have been undefeated at the end," Brandon coach Russ Cozart said. "Bloomingdale has done exceptionally well and has a very good team. This should be the toughest match for us in awhile, and we hope to make it tough for them also."

In the upperweights, Bloomingdale's best wrestler is junior Joe Dinzeo, who wrestles between 189 and 215.

Brandon's upperweights are solid but young. Included are juniors Mike Manza, Nick Ferrario, Jonathan Wiley and Joe Papp plus freshman Matt Juncal. All are tough, but Ferrario (171-189) is a tough state contender.