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Warriors advance as a team

By JOHN C. COTEY, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published February 9, 2002

SEMINOLE -- Osceola's Tommy Ryan has a prematch ritual -- same music, same stalking back and forth, same talking to himself.

So what exactly does he say?

"He just tells himself, "I'm calm and I'm in control,' " coach Ron Spataro said. "He sure doesn't look calm, though. But he's definitely in control."

The same could be said for his team. Ryan and the Warriors dominated the competition Friday night to win the meet.

Osceola scored 213 points and advanced 14 wrestlers to regionals.

The Warriors, flexing their strength in the upper weights, had five champions: Michael Thompson (130 pounds), Daniel Smalley (152), Jeremy Helms (171), Dustin Lestoric (215) and Ryan (275).

Smalley, Lestoric and Ryan won all three of their matches with pins. Ryan pinned his three opponents in a blazing 1 minute, 18 seconds, 18 seconds, and 1:24 (against Admiral Farragut's Julio Viana in the final).

For Ryan, who was third at the state tournament last year, the victory was his 22nd in a row since a season-opening loss.

Spataro seemed especially impressed with Smalley's effort.

A junior, Smalley improved to 26-5 after winning the 152-pound final.

"As a freshman, he was great and as a sophomore he was great. He was right there," said Spataro, holding his fingers an inch apart. "But this year he's really improved."

Northside Christian had two champions: freshman Kyle Bartlett at 112 and sophomore Matt Johnson at 135. Admiral Farragut's Charles Deguara won at 160.

Clearwater Central Catholic sent nine wrestlers to regionals but went 0-for-6 in final matches. Wayne Tyson, a 171-pounder, was the lone Marauder to avoid a pin or majority decision in a final, losing an 11-7 decision. St. Petersburg Catholic had a rough time in the semifinals, getting wiped out in all seven matches but still took third with 94 points and sent eight wrestlers to regionals.

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