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Green Devils outdistance city rivals for crown

St. Petersburg captures bragging rights with seven first-place finishes.

© St. Petersburg Times
published January 12, 2003

ST. PETERSBURG -- Coming in first sure comes in handy.

St. Petersburg St. Petersburg City Championship got seven first-place finishes en route to 189 points and the City Championship title, far outdistancing surprise runner-up St. Petersburg Catholic (154.50).

Perennial contender Dixie Hollins came in third with 129 points while tournament host Northeast followed in forth with 119 points. Northeast's Ken Luu, who has won 15 matches without a loss this season was voted outstanding wrestler.

Going into the final round, St. Petersburg had only a 2.5 point advantage over the Barons, but with six wins out of a possible seven in the finals, the Green Devils punished all their opponents.

Shawn Brownell won a special award for most pinsin the least amount of time. He had three pins, one in each of his matches. He pinned his opponent Gibbs' Jose Najarian in 21 seconds in the final.

Brownell, who was also city champion last year at 119 pounds, outlined his formula for success.

"If I can get their head down, I go for a three-quarter Nelson, then try to force them into a stack," he said. "From there, I can usually pin them."

St. Petersburg coach Sam Pruitt wasn't really surprised by the tournament's outcome.

"We anticipated victory today. Not to be cocky, don't misunderstand me, but I'm really proud of my guys, my champions."

Northeast coach Bill Dudley, who instituted the City Championship eight years ago, was very pleased with the outcome of this year's event.

"This was the most competitive tournament by far," he said. "It ended up being only a two-man fight, but we were there and so was Dixie, right up to the final round.

"It's a city rivalry. You can't ask for anything more than that."

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