This week, we are starting out close to home by visiting Dunedin High School where the Annual Falcon Duals tourney was happening.
It was good to see Coach GUG and his Canes back up in Pinellas County . The real Canes were impressive as they romped over all five foes by a combined score of 281-88.
Their victims including the new Canes in Palm Harbor as well as South Fort Myers, Countryside, Suffern , N.Y. , and the host Falcons
Next, we didn't even have to leave the confines of Pinellas County as drove down US 19 and passed the sign outside Bright House Field in Clearwater and growled as we read, "2008 World Champions." For those not familiar with baseball, The Phillies play their Spring Training games in Clearwater.
Anyway, we took a left on 54th Avenue North and went east to the Gym at Northeast High in St Petersburg which was hosting the St Petersburg City Championships. Competing in the event were all nine teams, public and private, located in the City who have wrestling programs.
Other than Lakeland and Gainesville , I'm not sure how many other cities in Florida have a City Championship tourney. A tip of the hat to Bill Dudley, who coached at Northeast for 32 years and now sits on the City Commission, for starting this event more than 10 years ago.
Coach Ed Bryant's Dixie Hollins won the team title by a close margin over second place Northeast. The Dennis brothers, Dryden (103), Dalton (125) and Dillon (140) wrestling for Northside Christian, captured three individual titles. Tristan Corder, Northeast's 152-pounder was named the Outstanding Wrestler as he pinned Spencer Van Buskirk of St Pete Catholic in the third period.
Did we forget to mention that the St Pete Times, attempting to atone for not running a single high school sports article in last Sunday's paper, had articles on both tourneys in its Pinellas County editions.
We decided to continue south across the Sunshine Skyway Bridge and catch the Coach Bryan Wilkes Tiger Duals, expanded this year to 12 teams at Palmetto High.
We only got partial results that Bloomingdale took first place followed by Citrus and Tampa Riverview.
We jumped right back on I-275, went east until it ended and took I-75 north and stopped off at the USA Wrestling tourney at Brandon to say hello to Coach Russ Cozart whose Eagles were taking the week off before they hosted their annual Toiny Ippolito tourney next weekend.
After a quick hello to brandonfan and berrfan, two of our favorite posters, we drove up Lakewood Road to MLK and then cut over to I-4 and drove east to Lakeland to catch two events in the city that hosts the state finals.
First off was the McKeel Duals where Bartow went 5-0 to capture first place with host McKeel taking second place.
On the east side of the city, North Port beat host Justin Troller's Lakeland to capture the Lakeland Duals. The Dreadnaught's John Nichols won Middle Weight OW and Brenton Clayton won Heavy Weights OW.
We then turned north and cut across I-75 and west into in Pasco County so that we could attend Coach Matt McDermott's SeaHawk Duals at Sunlake High.
Imagine what I found when I arrived, reporters from both of Tampa Bay 's major daily newspapers. Nothing like having the Bucs go 0-4 in December and not qualify for the Playoffs leaving lots of space on the sports pages for high school wrestling coverage to report that the host Sunalke squad went unbeaten to win their own event against Hernando, Wiregrass Ranch and two others.
Next we had to take a road trip almost all the way west out on the panhandle and get off I-10 for you guessed it, the Panhandle Championships hosted by Coach Jeff Fowler.
There, after a long day ending just before curfew at 9:55 pm CST, Coach G's Niceville squad had ten wrestlers in the finals to win going away with 273 points. Mosley with four champs took second place. And one of favorite teams, Wewa took fifth.
A special thanks to Coach Fowler for posting the complete results. Read it about it at http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=376&f=1462&t=3797863
Now we had to turn completely around and go east on I-10 several hundred miles and get off at Live Oak to see who won the Coach David Laxton's annual Billy Jack Saylor Memorial at Suwannee High.
We only got partial results but we did learn that Durant took first place, followed by Wakulla and then Tallahassee Lincoln.
We also found out from determined1 that Kody Ross of Lake City took third at 103 and beatyjr03, one of Durant's best fans, reported most of the results. I did see that Durant's Alex Hamm won at 112 and Nick Hadick won at 285. You can read the rest of the news and results at
Now we had to go all the way over to the Atlantic Coast to one of the year's biggest and most important tourneys, the Flagler Rotary. A special thanks to Coach Bobby Bossardet for having granby30 posting up the round-by-round results that showed Springstead winning the team title followed by Osceola and then Clay.
There were a number of big matches here as Gainesville 's Jacob Harmer again had it out with Osceola's Levi Clemons and Winter Springs Matt Neriem won the second of three against the Kowboy's Joe Locksmith.
Kudos to Springstead's young Cody Ross besting Sarasota 's veteran Robert Herrera in the 119 finals followed by Nick Soto beating the Sailor's Austin Brown.
Heading south on I-95 and then west a short distance to Hagerty High in Oviedo , we found that the Vipers of Space Coast won all seven of their duals to run their unbeaten streak this season to 26-0. Their lone hurdle and a major one at that is whether they can beat formidable Palm Bay High in the Cape Coast tourney at the end of the month.
Getting to the next event at Poinciana High in Kissimmee was easy enough, especially if you had a Sun Pass and could afford to take the "Less Stressway" marked as route 417. Just get off at exit 17/92 and after crossing US 192 keep going for another 5-6 miles and turn left at the sign for Poinciana.
We found Gulf's Coach Travis DeWalt and his Buccaneers had a perfect two-days as they won all nine of their duals. Coach Danny Moskowitz's Jenkins team was second followed by my hometown East Lake Eagles in third.
We did our best to get by Coach Eric Wells which are linked at this address
We needed to keep going south and east as we cut over on 195 to I-95 and continued south to Stuart and caught a little bit of the news of the annual Destito Duals at Martin County High from Coach Don Knauf. We'll post that info shortly. A special note of concern was the injury suffered by Bayside's Cody Barton. We hope he is recovering from his injury.
You can post a get well message to Cody at this address
Next we had to go to the annual county tourneys of four of the state's biggest counties – Palm Beach , Broward, Miami-Dade and Collier.
First stop was Palm Beach where Palm Beach Gardens took first place followed by Olympic Heights and Jupiter.
Although most of the finals bouts were blowouts, one of the most stunning results was that Jupiter's heavyweight John Stanborough pinned Garden's John Lopez in the first period of the finals. Coach Raz also had three other champs - Josh Smith (112), Bobby Radli (125) and his son, Hans Rasmusson (130).
Jupiter Christian's Tucker Raich , champion at 145, was named the tourney's Outstanding Wrestler after winning his 186th career bout, a Palm Beach County record!
We had to scoot out of there and check out the latest battle between Cardinal Gibbons and St Thomas , Douglas and the rest of Broward County . The jawing is still going on on two other topics if you want to add your say to the annual fracas.
The result was no surprise as the big general's troops took their eight title in the last nine years according to this article in the Ft Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel.
But if you read the Miami Herald's article, it was Gibbons 11th title in 12 years with 250.5 points. Western was second (229) and St. Thomas Aquinas (227.5) third.
Hey just shoot the messenger why don't you.
Anyway, congratulations to Coach Frank Pettineo Sr on the team championship and to Frank Jr on his third individual title and also to Gibbon's Domingo Simmons who also won his third title.
And I don't want to forget to send Congratulations to the latest six inductees into the Broward County Wrestling Hall of Fame: Three wrestlers—Barry Klein ( Plantation 1987), Eric Albarracin ( Coral Springs 1991) and Steve Williams (Nova 1988); two contributors—Chris O'Bryne and Dave Ironman; and one referee—Ken Varonee.
Finally a tip of the hat to LBTSwrestling for posting up the results from Day 1 of the BCAA
The next stop and probably the toughest tourney this year and possibly every year is the Greater Miami Athletic Conference (GMAC) Championships.
First off, a great big thank you to CoachKW for posting up the more than 1,000 bout results. We checked out every one of those results for our Class 3A Rankings Ladder.
Here is the link to the final days action.
The big news was that Coach Victor Balmeceda's South Dade Bucs won the team title finishing ahead of American and Columbus.
Another piece of big news was that Braddock's Eric Chandler became the second wrestler in tourney history to win his 4th GMAC title. The only other was the Buc's legendary Tico Baez.
Opps, we almost forgot to mention that Archbishop McCarthy won the Patriot Championships. For some reason they and a couple of other teams in Broward do not participate in the BCAAs.
Finally, we had to jump on Alligator Alley to cross back over to the Gulf Coast to find out that Coach Mark Rosenbalm's Palmetto Ridge squad won the CCAC title for the 4th year in a row.
And last but not least, heading back north, we had to take in the Gary Freis Duals at Ft Myers High which were won by Coach Evan Robinson's Charlotte Tarpons.
A thank you to Matt Markowski, the Green Wave's coach, for posting up the results of the Freis Duals.
After two weekends of all this traveling, I'm exhausted. Five more weeks to go.