Steinbrenner's Fulford gains extra strength
RIVERVIEW - Frankly, there was no other way for the 140-pound final between Steinbrenner wrestler Josh Fulford and Brandon's Brice Jones to end. During their match in the Hillsborough County Championships at Riverview High, Fulford trailed 4-2 with 12 seconds left. Fulford was able to leverage himself and catch Jones in a head and arm, putting him on his back. Fulford got the pin with just 3 seconds remaining in the match. Friday, Fulford was given the news his great grandfather, James Saunders, 89, died that morning at Mease Countryside Hospital. "Him passing away just gave me extra strength and courage to wrestle," Fulford said. "Because I know he'd want me to do my best and wrestle hard for him and I felt like he was on my shoulder the entire time helping me wrestle."Overall Saturday, Brandon had all 14 wrestlers in the finals, 12 of whom won titles, giving the Eagles their 39th county championship. Brandon amassed 439.5 points, followed by Durant (218), East Bay (152), Lennard (131) and Armwood (130). According to Brandon coach Russ Cozart, his squad has won the championship each year since 1973. "The boys were trying to get 14 champs, but we messed up on a couple of them," Cozart said. "But we have to look ahead now. Now is the important time of the season where you want kids to kind of be turning the corner and point toward the end of the season. You can still correct things, you can still tinker with things. It was a really good tournament; 27 teams, put 14 in the finals. I'm proud of that." Fulford and Strawberry Crest's Abe Fernandez (103 pounds) were the lone champions not from Brandon. Brandon's champions: James Flint (112), Victor Fugate (119), Kevin Norstrem (125), Rossi Bruno (130), Tyler Liberatore (135), Travis Berridge (145), Clark Glass (152), Wally Figaro (160), Kyle Koziel (171), Mike Ettore (189), Lorenzo Martinez (215) and Joe Dudley (285). Hillsborough County Championships 103 - Fernandez (STR) maj. dec. Berrian (BRA) 17-8; 112 - Flint (BRA) maj. dec. Joyce (PCY) 14-6; 119 - Fugate dec. Patisaul (STR) 11-4; 125 - Norstrem tech. fall Duchesne (ARM) 17-1; 130 - Bruno (BRA) maj. dec. Phillips 20-6; 135 - Liberatore (BRA) p. Reagor (BLO) 3:42; 140 - Fulford (STE) p. Jones (BRA) 5:57; 145 - Berridge (BRA) dec. Phillips (LEN) 6-3; 152 - Glass (BRA) tech. fall Mederos (PLA) 19-3; 160 - Figaro (BRA) tech. fall Watford (DUR) 24-9; 171 - Koziel (BRA) maj. dec. Stokes (DUR) 13-2; 189 - Ettore (BRA) inj. default Hewlett (DUR); 215 - Martinez (BRA) dec. Richards (HIL) 6-4; 285 - Dudley (BRA) dec. Galloway (PLA) 3-2. Team Scores 1. Brandon 439.5; 2. Durant 218.0; 3. East Bay 152.0; 4. Lennard 131.0; 5. Armwood 130.5; 6. Chamberlain 129.0; 7. Strawberry Crest 127.0; 8. Bloomingdale 123.5; 9. Steinbrenner 122.5; 10. Robinson 122.0; 11. Plant City 121.5; 12. Riverview 108.5; 13. Wharton 97.0; 14. Plant 86.0; 15. Freedom 79.0; 16. Newsome 75.5; 17. Alonso 69.0; 18. Gaither 63.5; 19. Jefferson 63.5; 20. Spoto 60.0; 21. King 50.0; 22. Hillsborough 49.0; 23. Middleton 39.0; 24. Blake 27.0; 25. Leto 25.0; 26. Sickles 23.0; 27. Tampa Bay Tech 16.0.
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