The Gulf and the Fivay High wrestling teams took part in the Chaselife IBT tournament in Palmetto Ridge last weekend.
Both teams are under the directions of new coaches this season, with Mike Calafiore taking over coaching duties for the Buccaneers and Matt Bullwinkel now in charge of the Falcons.
The Chaselife tourney may have been one of the toughest in the state this season. Thirty-two schools took part, including state powers Miami South Dade, Riverdale and St. Thomas Aquinas. There were more than 40 state-ranked wrestlers taking part in the tournament.
Gulf was without the services of several wrestlers for various reasons, and only Robert Napolitano was able to bring home a medal for the Buccaneers. Napolitano, who was a state qualifier last season, finished fourth at the 145-pound weight class.
Jarred Kruse, who is the Scout.com preseason No. 1-ranked wrestler at 182 pounds, wrestled at 195, though did not place. Kruse weighed only 170 pounds, but wanted the harder competition at the tournament, which is why he moved up two weight classes.
Fivay fared better than at the tourney, with Cole Manion (120 pounds) and Nicco Lightfoot (182 pounds) both finishing fourth in their respective weight classes. Manion was in a stacked weight class that included 2013 state champion Radley Gillis of Archbishop McCarthy and Yadiel Perez of South Dade.
Lightfoot, who will wrestle at 170 pounds later this season, lost a close match to David Prindiville of Jenkins. However, Lightfoot defeated Prindiville twice last season.
Andrew Scherer brought home a first-place medal in the 160-pound weight class and was impressive all weekend racking up four pins and then defeating Theo Curto by a major decision in the final.
Thanksgiving weekend is quiet on the schedule for area teams, but the action picks up next weekend. The 32nd annual Brooksville Kiwanis Invitational is set for will be Dec. 6-7 at Hernando High and among the 28 teams in attendance will be Gulf, Land O’ Lakes, Pasco and Wesley Chapel.
Additionally, Anclote, Fivay, Ridgewood, River Ridge and Sunlake will be at the East Lake Invitational.
Correspondent Steve Campbell can be reached at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @SCPascoTrib.