CLASS 2A: First-place performance keeps alive his dream of first state championship.
By FRANK PASTOR
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2003
BUNNELL -- Chris Bowen is not very effective at pinning opponents, so the Land O'Lakes senior devotes most of his practice time to working on shots and takedowns.
"Rarely do you see pins in the state finals," Bowen said. "I figure, if I work on my takedowns, that could win me a state title."
Bowen moved another step closer to his first state championship with a first-place finish in the Region 2 meet Saturday at Flagler Palm Coast.
Bowen, who placed sixth at state last season, defeated Sickles' Omar Mubaidin 24-9 in the 171-pound final to win his second region crown.
He was among two Land O'Lakes wrestlers (Scott Mays was second at 189) and 11 from the North Suncoast who advanced to the state event, Thursday-March 1 in Lakeland, by placing among the top four in their weight class.
"I was just hoping to go out there and hit all my shots," Bowen said. "I wasn't worried about pinning him. I'm not a very good pinner."
Brandon advanced 11 members to the finals and won nine to take the championship with 292 points, 181 more than runner-up Sickles. Ridgewood (83) was sixth, Land O'Lakes (77.5) seventh and Springstead (52) 13th.
Central's Sergio Matos had two goals entering the season: go undefeated and win state.
The list was whittled to one after Brandon's David Craig defeated him 7-2 in the 145-pound final.
"This is only going to make me more hungry for it," said Matos, now 45-1.
Springstead's Fabien Lewars felt the same way after Brandon's Ryan Joyce pinned him 3 minutes, 47 seconds into the 130-pound championship, ending Lewars' unbeaten streak at 40.
"I can't get discouraged now," Lewars said. "I'm going to get him next week."
Central's Bucky Solomon (112) lost 5-3 in overtime to Lakeland's Jerry Jackson in the 112-pound final. Solomon escaped in the last seconds to force overtime, but Jackson was awarded the winning takedown 30 seconds into the extra period.
"I didn't change the whole time," said Solomon, who disagreed with the final call. "I was actually in better position when he called the two (-point takedown)."
Runner-up Anthony Jackson (119) of Ridgewood, third-place William Bullwinkel (125) and Matt Bullwinkel (130) of Ridgewood and Jesse Downs (215) of Springstead and fourth-place Cory Daly (103) of Springstead and Keith Coghlan (140) of Ridgewood advanced.