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VALRICO -- Early in the season after winning a 42-36 match with Armwood in the Hawks' gym, Bloomingdale first-year coach Don Peek took his team back to the Bulls' gym to work out. The hour was late, but Peek was not happy with his team.
He wanted more of an effort from his wrestlers and wanted to help them improve, while they had a fresh win to build on.
A young team and a new coach have not weakened the proud tradition of the Bloomingdale program. The Bulls have become even more intense and have one of their strongest teams this season.
Peek replaced Scot Tipton this year as coach after Tipton moved into administration at East Bay.
"When I first arrived, I called together my senior captains and told them what I expected and asked what they expected of themselves and their teammates," Peek said.
Peek says the meeting went well and the team is responding in practice and in competition. The Bulls are 12-4, their only losses coming to teams ranked in the top 10 in the state (Brandon, Manatee and two losses to Lakeland).
Team captains Derek Saibi (275), David Young (160) and Nick Miles (135) are Class 3A state qualifier contenders.
Saibi may have the best shot for an individual belt. He is 21-1 and a top contender for the heavyweight title.
Miles is 20-3 and should place in the final four, but he is in one of the toughest weight classes. Young could also place, but he may do better by moving up to 171, where his quickness and skill could give him an advantage over bigger opponents.
The Bulls have two seniors and three underclassmen in their five lower weights.
Sophomore Jordan Rendina sets the table for the Bulls' matches at 103, and seniors Tyrone Creal (125) and Nick Perione (130) provide strong leadership in practice. Sophomores Tyrone Creal (119) and Ryan Nye (112) are learning.
Rendina scored the only pin over a Brandon wrestler in a dual meet last week.
Junior Matt Vidosh (145), sophomore Jacob Gardner (140) and ninth-grader Greg Molkenthin join Miles and Young in the middle weights. If Young moves up to 171, junior Nick Diaz will drop down to 160.
Joing Saibi in the upper weights are senior Maurice James (189) and sophomore Taylor Starling (215).
Bloomingdale will face three teams ranked in the top 25 in the state by FloridaKids.net in its district tournament: Bradenton Manatee, Venice and Sarasota Riverview. Also in the Bulls' district are Plant City, Riverview and Sarasota.
BERKELEY WINS TOURNAMENT: Jamie Keogh (152 pounds) and Nick Dorsch (162) won individual championships last weekend in Miami to lead Berkeley Prep to the team title in the Florida Christian Invitational Tournament.
The Bucs scored 150.5 points, followed by Tampa Prep 147, Archbishop Curley 140, American Heritage 132 and Dade Christian 112 in the 16-team tournament. Temple Heights placed 10th with 64.5 and Tampa Catholic 11th with 45 in the all-Class A tournament.
Sean Joyce won the 103-pound championship for Temple Heights. Shane Serafin placed second for the Bucs at 217 pounds.