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Patriots fall short of ambitious goals

CLASS 3A: Pinellas Park settles for eighth, despite an impressive dual-meet season and district title.

By BOB PUTNAM, Times Staff Writer

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 23, 2003

STUART -- After going 25-3 in dual meets and winning its third straight district title, by 50 points, Pinellas Park had the credentials to vie for its first region title since 1997.

The Patriots just didn't have enough wrestlers.

Pinellas Park, ranked seventh in Class 3A by, had 10 wrestlers advance to the 3A-2 tournament, considered one of the toughest in the state.

Those numbers, though, dwindled fast. By the end, the Patriots had no region champions and advanced three to next week's state tournament in Lakeland.

Instead of winning, Pinellas Park had to take consolation in finishing in the top 10. The Patriots scored 73 1/2 points to finish eighth, the highest among county schools.

Venice, ranked fourth in 3A, won the title with 178 points.

Felipe Queiroz, a 103-pounder, took third, the highest finish for the Patriots. Rickey Ferguson (125) and Travis Youngs (275) each finished fourth.

Palm Harbor University's Robert Sprental won the 119-pound class and was the only champion from Pinellas. Sprental and teammate Robert Morris, who was fourth at 145, helped the Hurricanes finish 13th.

St. Petersburg's Mike Albert was the 125-pound runner-up and the only Green Devil to advance to state.

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