TARPON SPRINGS — Palm Harbor University, with six individual champions, cruised to a win this weekend at the 27th annual East Lake Invitational. The Hurricanes outdistanced George Jenkins by 45 points.
Tim Sakow (106 pounds), Anthony Mina (113), Jared Prince (126), Connor Prince (132), Anthony Agazarm (138) and Aaron Hartman(145) all finished first in their respective weight classes, and Palm Harbor coach Brad Sakevich liked the competitiveness that team encountered in the 32-team tournament. “This tournament was a big challenge.” Sakevich said. “There were a lot of tough teams and some very tough kids from all over the state. We’re not where we need to be yet, but we’ll get there.”
Other local teams that had good showings were Dunedin and Fivay, who finished sixth and eighth, respectively.
Dunedin got a first-place finish from 170-pounder Anthony Dampier, who defeated Venice’s Nick Vischulis 8-3.
Fivay had three champions on the weekend. At 120 pounds Cole Manion defeated Palm Harbor’s Joey Capone 4-1 in the final. Andrew Scherer, at 160 pounds, improved his record to 14-0 as he waltzed through his weight class with five pins. He pinned Bradenton Southeast’s Ricky Almodovar in the second period in the final. Scherer has 13 pins in his 14 wins this season.
Fivay’s Nicco Lightfoot avenged an early season loss to Jenkins’ David Prindiville by defeating him 3-1 in the 182-pound final. Lightfoot lost to Prindiville three weeks ago in a tournament at Palmetto Ridge. Lightfoot and Prindiville have met four times in the past three seasons. Lightfoot’s win Saturday evened the series at 2-2.
Springstead wins in Brooksville again
BROOKSVILLE — Wrestler from Pasco and Hillsborough returned home Saturday night with hardware following the largest Brooksville-Kiwanis Invitational at Hernando High.
The 30-team, 32nd annual meet was won for the 18th time by three-time defending Class 2A state champion Spring Hill-Springstead with 189.0 points.
Three-time 2A runner-up Lakeland Lake Gibson was second with 135.5 points, edging Pasco (131.5).
Springstead had four individual champions.
Wesley Chapel’s Jon Galvan, who placed third at state last season at 126 pounds, went 4-0 with three pins to win the event’s Outstanding Wrestling Award.
Galvan defeated 2013 state qualifier Se’darian Perry of Lake Gibson in the final, 10-8.
“I wrestled Perry before and I pinned him in the first period. Man has he improved,” pointed out the 17-year-old Galvan, whose team placed tenth overall with 93 points. “It was a big match, but I made way too many mistakes.”
Wildcat assistant coach Carlos Perez lauded Galyan’s OSW efforts, “I wish coach (head coach Jeff Beson was not at HHS) could have seen Jon. He’s worked with him for a long time. He’s had some matches, where things didn’t line up exactly, but he found ways to win.
“…He made a few little mistakes tonight, but they’re all correctable. He’s by far, the leader in our room.”
Pasco High was paced by top-of-the-podium efforts by Skylar White at 138 pounds and Andrew Ivie at 285.
White pinned Crystal River’s Joel Pelton (3:00), Wiregrass Ranch’s JJ Parker-Lee (3:05), Indian Rocks Christian’s Michael Gingras (2:21) and The Villages’ Daniel Soto (4:48) en route to his gold medal.
Ivie earned a plaque for the Most Pins in the Least Amount of Time (five in 5:04) by flattening The Villages’ Kelton Wilemon ((1:41), Trinity Christian’s Keyvin Pickney (1:08), Lake Gibson’s Chris Davis (0:49), Auburndale’s Scott Pendleton (0:30) and Lennard’s Rowdy Driggers (0:48).
Lennard’s Evan Ratliff earned the Longhorns’ lone gold medal in perhaps the toughest bracket in the tournament at 132, defeating Nick Ruiz of Lake Gibson.In the semifinals, Ratliff solved topped Zac German of Harmony (8-6) before toppling second-seeded Jesus Nieves of Weeki Wachee (8-4).
“This tournament was tough,” stressed the 17-year-old Ratliff, who improved to 17-2 on the season. “There were a lot of good kids here. It was certainly no walk in the park.
“I’ve got to dedicate this win to my coach (Ron Buffano). He pushes me every day in practice,” said Ratliff. “I have to thank him.”
“Evan started coming on last year,” detailed the fifth-year Longhorn skipper Coach Buffano. “He deserves this. He’s a great leader in our room. He’s been around our program since sixth-grade when his brother wrestled for us.
“..His greatest strength is his feet and he’s got one of the biggest hearts on this team.”