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Brandon club shines at California tourney

At the USA Freestyle and Greco-Roman National Championships July 5-8 in Fresno, Calif., four members of the Brandon Wrestling Club won national championships and seven earned All-American status by finishing in the top six.

Eric Grajales, 11, Khalid Andwele, 13, David Craig, 13, and Anthony Jorge, 12, won individual titles. Grajales, Andwele and Craig won in both the freestyle and Greco-Roman divisions while Jorge won in Greco-Roman and placed third in freestyle.

In all, Cesar Grajales, coach and state director of Florida Wrestling, took 21 wrestlers from Florida to the meet, and combined, they won 10 freestyle titles and four Greco-Roman titles.

For Eric Grajales, the two national titles brought his total to 10 in the past four years.

"The matches were tough all the way through especially with David Taylor from Wyoming," Grajales said.

"I faced him in both finals. He had good technique, was fast and very smooth."

With his two national titles, Andwele brought his total to four. He will be one of five national champions and seven All-Americans in the Brandon High starting lineup for the upcoming season.

Because of Andwele's dominance at 105 pounds, the coach of the 110-pound champion, Jake Swinson of Utah, asked for an exhibition match with Andwele. Swinson has won three national titles this year, but Andwele won 13-8.

"He was pretty quick and had a lot of skill, but (he is) beatable," Andwele said. "I love wrestling and look forward to high school competition next year with the Eagles.

"The competition in California was not all that tough. But that is probably because we work so hard every day at practice against each other. I still have so much to learn, but I am in a good place to do that."

Craig placed third in the state meet last year at 112 pounds as a seventh-grader. He has won eight national championships.

For Jorge, the championship was his first, but he was an All-American last year.

Nick and Aris Rogers, 9 and 11, respectively, and Brent Jorge, 11, also earned All-American status.

Aris Rogers finished fourth in Greco-Roman and sixth in freestyle.

Nick Rogers was second in freestyle and third in Greco-Roman, and Jorge was sixth in freestyle.

Eagles coach inducted

into another hall of fame

While his wrestlers were winning national titles, Brandon High coach Russ Cozart was doing the same. Earlier in the summer, he won the national masters championship for 143 pounds at a meet in Reno, Nev.

He also was inducted into his second hall of fame.

Last fall, he was inducted into the Florida High School Wrestling Hall of Fame for his success as a coach and masters wrestler. He has won five masters world championships.

At the meet in Fresno, he was inducted into the California High School Hall of Fame.

Cozart was a high school All-American in the state.

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