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Pinellas Park runs away with crown

CLASS 3A, DISTRICT 5: The Patriots grab their third straight wrestling championship.

By ANTHONY GAGLIANO

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 16, 2003


TAMPA -- Pinellas Park isn't about to give up its stranglehold on the title just yet. The Patriots took home their third straight championship in convincing fashion, beating second-place St. Petersburg by 50 points and third-place Chamberlain by 71.

Even with that kind of success, Pinellas Park is aware its accomplishments at Chamberlain were a small part of a larger picture.

"(Coach Scott Stern) is just trying to motivate us, keep us on track because this is such a small picture," said Carlton Gammons, one of five champions for the Patriots. "We're trying to win the region this year."

The Patriots' dominance started early when Felipe Quiroz claimed the title at 105 pounds with a 14-4 decision over Chamberlain's Brian Banjay.

Gammons' bout at 135 was the signature piece for the Patriots' superiority. Gammons easily won the match, taking a 14-0 lead on Chamberlain's Ricardo Topham before Topham claimed his first point late in the third period. Gammons won the match by technical fall 16-1 to win his third straight district title, matching his team's feat, and 33rd match of the year.

"I was kind of hoping for the pin, but it didn't come along so I just went for the tech," Gammons said. "I pinned him earlier in the year when I wrestled him."

Gammons is now 33-2 this season with 97 career victories.

Pinellas Park slammed the door shut on the competition with wins in the final three weight classes (190, 215 and heavyweight). Jeremiah Johnson started the string with a pin 1 minute, 3 seconds into the second period against Gaither's Austin Blitch. Greg Anderson took the 215-pound crown with an 8-5 win over Chamberlain's John Thomas.

Thomas appeared to break the 5-all tie, but Anderson was awarded an injury timeout and scored three points in the last 40 seconds.

Travis Youngs closed out the meet with a pin in 50 seconds of Palm Harbor's Austin Degonzague in the heavyweight final.

Chamberlain claimed third place in large part thanks to Rudy Mayoz, the lone Hillsborough County winner. Competing at 160, Mayoz pinned Palm Harbor's Andy Rattner 18 seconds into the second period.

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