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Gryphons hold their own in wrestling tournament

The team finishes fourth in Gainesville, and looks like it could come on strong in state competition.

By TERRY JONES
© St. Petersburg Times
published January 25, 2002


GAINESVILLE -- In the midst of some impressive competition during the Gainesville Invitational Wrestling Tournament last Saturday, Sickles wrestlers turned in an equally impressive performance. The Gryphons placed fourth with 212 points, just two points behind third-place Green Cove Springs Clay.

Jegan Gabbidon won the individual 130-pound individual championship, and nine other Gryphons placed in the top four.

Brandon won the tournament with 340.5 points and Miami powerhouse Southridge was second with 252 points.

"Going into the tournament, I told everyone it would be a tough one because several of the top teams in the state would be there," Sickles coach Terry Brockland said. "But we went and wrestled our best, hoping to improve at every aspect. They really rose to the occasion. We tied Clay, came close to Southridge and beat two other teams. I'm proud of our young team."

All but one of the 10 Gryphons finishing in the top four are underclassmen. They feel they can challenge for a spot in the top 10 at state this year and with the same guys do even better next year.

Juniors Stan Liberatore (112), Mike Aquino (152) and Steve Brockman (275) placed second in the competition of 10 schools. Steve Queen (119), Alex Penebode (125), Danny Mincey (135), Omar Mubaidin (160), Elliott Acosta (171) and Jason Henika (189) all finished fourth.

Sickles was seeded 10th in the tournament, but surprised several teams in the dual and individual competition.

The 10 teams were divided into two pools of five teams each to wrestle dual meets and the top individuals from each weight and pool met for the individual belts.

In its first dual, Sickles lost to Southridge 43-28, then the Gryphons tied Clay 33-33, and beat Miami Columbia 60-13 and Bradford County 69-12.

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