Gulf wrestling coach Travis DeWalt was not pleased with his team's second-place finish in last weekend's SAC Tournament.
How did his team respond?
By winning their second straight district championship and sending eight to the championship final matches.
"We want to get to the state tournament and put kids on the podium. That has been our philosophy forever," DeWalt said. "It is a short time to celebrate. Chances are people are not going to remember who won districts, but people are going to remember who were state placers."
Among the eight final placers Gulf had sent, three won their championship matches. Among them were Jordan Holding (130), Josh Przybsz (135) and freshman LD Jackson (145).
"He drilled us hard this past week," Jackson said. "It has been a really tough season, but we have been able to get through it as a team."
The match of the night pitted Zephyrhills' Nick Hynes and Gulf's Jean Ayala in the 112 class. Both exchanged several hard takedowns in the third period with Hynes prevailing 14-6. But Ayala continued to battle, pulling off a couple reversals to give himself a chance to pin Hynes, who eventually held on for the title.
Next up for the top four placers from each weight class is the region tournament in Sebring.