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Eagles defeat Miami power in Gainesville

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 22, 2002

Since 1979, when Russ Cozart became coach at Brandon, he and Miami Southridge coach Jim Husk have faced off around the state with great teams.

Cozart has the winningest program in the country and Husk the second-winningest in Florida.

Cozart has coached 11 of Brandon's 12 state-title teams, and Husk has coached all seven of Southridge's state-title teams.

The Eagles won the only dual meet, but in state and other tournaments, sometimes Husk wins, sometimes Cozart wins. Saturday at the Gainesville Invitational Tournament, the tilt went the Eagles' way. But the Trojans were in it all the way.

Brandon won the tournament with 3401/2 points to Southridge's 252, which was good for second. Green Cove Springs Clay scored 214 for third, and Sickles was fourth with 212.

"All of our guys wrestled very well in Gainesville," Cozart said. "Most of our guys are young in high school wrestling, but I see a lot of positive things happening.

"They work real hard in practice, and that is where matches are won. All 14 of our guys placed in the top six. I think we are on schedule for the state run." If anyone was calculating how a dual match would have turned out -- and everyone from both schools was -- Brandon and Southridge split their head-to-head matches for first through sixth place.

Southridge won three of five matches in the finals. Brandon won both matches for third, and the Trojans took the only match for fifth.

In all, Brandon won seven individual titles to three for Southridge.

The teams will be in different classifications for the state tournament.

Cesar Grajales (103), Khalid Andwele (112), Ryan Joyce (125), Rocky Cozart (140), Matt Juncal (171), Rashad Goff (215) and Keith Simmons (275) won titles for Brandon. Alejandro Figueroa (119), Tommy Hutchinson (135) and Brian Howsare (189) placed second. Brian Barsoumian (130) and Jared Thompson (145) placed third.

Jegan Gabbidon (130) won a title for Sickles.

Stan Liberatore (112), Mike Aquino (152) and Steve Brockman (275) placed second for the Gryphons.

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