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Three county teams reach semis

In some very intense competition, Brandon, Chamberlain, Durant and Ft. Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons all won two matches in the first day of the Jim Graves "Beat The Streak" dual tournament. Chamberlain faces Brandon today at noon in the semifinals.

Durant came from behind to defeat Venice 29-20 and faces Cardinal Gibbons in the second semifinal.

In their first two matches the Eagles shutout Wharton 75-0, then knocked off Ft. Lauderdale Douglas 62-12.

Brandon sophomore Sean Joyce, a two-time state champion, scored a technical fall in his Wharton opponent and practiced his takedowns for a while before pinning his Douglas foe. He lulled his opponent with three fast takedowns followed by quick releases. Then he scored a fourth takedown and immediately rolled his surprised opponent over for a pin.

"I needed some work on my takedowns and got in some good practice," Sean said. "It wasn't really a plan for the pin; I need some hard work before the state tournament this year. We should have some very hard matches tomorrow."

Brandon coach Russ Cozart was pleased overall.

"I think the tournament is going well," Cozart said. "We got through the first day with no incidents and (today) promises some very exciting wrestling."

Chamberlain's first opponent, Clearwater, pulled out of the tournament at the last minute, giving the Chiefs a bye. Chiefs coach Jeff Duncan was not pleased with the lull.

"Missing a first round left our kids cold and we went into a match cold, against a very tough team," Duncan said. "St. Thomas Aquinas has a class program and places high each year at the state tournament. We had to come from behind to win, but I am pleased with our effort."

The Chiefs trailed St. Thomas 33-24 going into the final three bouts. In those matches Alberto Santiago (125) and Ricardo Topham (135) scored pins and Ian Garland (130) recorded a major decision for a total of 15 team points, giving Chamberlain a 40-33 victory.

Durant defeated Sickles 57-9 and struggled to beat Venice 29-20.

Individual matches all started at 140 pounds, which matched the Cougars with the toughest part of the Venice lineup early. Venice jumped to an 18-3 lead and Durant came back to win seven of the final eight.

"We didn't match up well with them up top, but I knew, if we could keep it close, we could come back in the lower weights," Durant coach Dennis Kitko said. "The good news is the kids didn't panic when they got down."

Round two of consolations starts at 10 a.m. today. Semifinals are scheduled to begin at noon. Losers bracket matches will be at 2 and 4, consolations for third through sixth will start at 6 and the finals are set for 7.