Brandon takes the Challenge the Streak final 48-13 for its 380th consecutive victory.
By BOB PUTNAM
Published January 11, 2004
BRANDON - Since Brandon put its 30-year-old dual meet win streak on the line with the Jim Graves Challenge the Streak Tournament last season, Countryside coach Dave Frayer has been consumed with the notion of beating his fiercest rival.
Last season, the Cougars lost to the Eagles in the final but gained some satisfaction by giving them their toughest test. That gave Countryside hope of putting an end to the streak this year.
With a team more balanced and better equipped for dual meets, Countryside rolled through the rest of the field and met Brandon in the final again.
The result, though, was familiar. The Eagles extended their national record to 380 consecutive victories, winning 11 of the 14 weight classes to beat the Cougars 48-13.
"They're tough. You certainly can't take that away from them," Frayer said. "I wish we wrestled a little better in some spots. We have plenty of room for improvement."
Countryside entered the weekend with three tournament titles and had moved up to No. 2 behind Brandon in the state rankings among all classifications by Floridakids.us. But even though the teams stood side by side, the gap was far.
Brandon is ranked third in the nation by USA Wrestling magazine and has six returning champions from last year's team that won a record 14th state title.
Frayer didn't have the star power to keep up, especially after graduating three state champions from last year's team.
"I kind of figured beating them was more of a wish," Frayer said.
Instead, Countryside settled for personal victories. Frayer hoped to win as many as five bouts, but the Cougars lost decisions at 112, 130, 145 and 189 pounds.
The most disheartening loss was at 145. Countryside's A. Jay Hixon, a state runnerup last season, led Tommy Hutchinson 2-1 with 12 seconds left but gave up an escape to tie the bout. In overtime, Hutchinson recorded a takedown for a 4-2 victory.
Kent Costel (103), Dominic DeNunzio (140) and Wes Walker (152) recorded the Cougars' only victories.
"We always have high hopes, but it was going to be tough facing the No. 3 team in the nation," DeNunzio said. "I thought we gave them a decent little run. There were a few matches that could have gone the other way that would have made the score more respectable."