The Cougars claim their second regional title behind the efforts of five individual champions.
By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 17, 2002
PUNTA GORDA -- Countryside wrestled the finals under a dome light that shined on the center of the mat, a setup similar to the one the Cougars have in their own gymnasium.
But that wasn't the only reason Countryside felt at home at Charlotte High: It also was the same gymnasium where the Cougars won their first regional title in 1998.
Countryside's return brought the same results. The Cougars scored 179 points to win their second regional title.
Advancing all 14 wrestlers from last week's district tournament, Countryside had few setbacks this weekend. In fact, the Cougars were so dominant they had the title all but wrapped up before consolations.
"This is about what we expected," Countryside coach Dave Frayer said.
"We would like to have had one or two more guys make it, but we'll take it. The kids who have been consistent all year stayed consistent."
The Cougars advanced seven wrestlers to next week's state tournament at the Lakeland Civic Center. Five wrestlers -- A.J. Hixon (112 pounds), Mike Flood (125), Dominic DeNunzio (130), Steve Spicuzza (135) and Matt Turtzo (135) -- were regional champions.
"This is the best we've wrestled against this caliber of competition all season," Frayer said. "The guys that won in the finals all had to work for it."
East Lake was the only other county team to place in the top five, scored 99.5 points to take fifth. The Eagles had three in the finals and had one winner, Dallas Hafner at 152 pounds.
Hafner was the only county wrestler not from Countryside to win.