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Preps

Brandon opponents are in double trouble

Identical twins Eddie and Tommy Hutchinson could challenge for state championships.

By TERRY JONES
Published February 19, 2004

TAMPA - It is easy to see why Brandon opponents think they are seeing double in the middle of the Eagles lineup. They are.

Only family and close friends can tell identical twins Eddie and Tommy Hutchinson apart. Many opponents would just as well not have to see either of them.

Tommy (145 pounds) has been a state placer the past three years, and Eddie (140) placed for the first time last year.

Both have been part of state championship teams the past three years and want to make it four in a row.

Since learning to wrestle at age 3, everything has been fun for the twins. Bobby Hendrickson, the Hutchinson's uncle and a former state champion at Brandon, helped coach them.

"Our grandmother used to take us to Brandon matches when we were too young to remember much," Eddie said. "She also took us to practice when Coach (Russ) Cozart and my uncle allowed us to participate. Both uncle Bobby and Coach Cozart used Sesame Street to teach us basics.

"I remember we would get on our backs and the coaches would say "Big Bird.' Then we would turn to our stomaches, hold our arms straight out and wave our fingers. That is how we first learned to get off our backs."

Only region competition Friday and Saturday at Titusville and the state tournament Feb.26-28 in Lakeland remain for the Hutchinsons.

"It has been a great run, and we plan to do everything we can to make this our very best season," Tommy said. "I still remember my first match. I was so nervous. I was just a freshman on a team that eventually won the state tournament that year.

"Wow, was I nervous. All those years waiting to be a Brandon wrestler and then I was one. Fortunately, I won with a technical decision, but it seems like yesterday. Now it is almost over."

Cozart said he would miss the boys next season.

"I could not ask any more from Tommy and Eddie than they have given to Brandon High wrestling for the past four years," Cozart said. "They and their entire family have given all they have."

To improve over last year's state tournament performance, the Eagles would have to place more than nine wrestlers in the finals and win more than six individual championships en route to another team title. But to have a chance, the Eagles have to get through the region tournament first.

REVERSAL: When Durant coach Dennis Kitko left the Riverview gym Saturday night, he was disappointed, but not with his kids. The Cougars had battled gallantly but lost the district championship to the Sharks.

At least it appeared that way Saturday.

The final score indicated Riverview had 212 points and Durant 207.5.

"I knew we had to make some improvements before going to the region tournament this week," Kitko said. "I knew we were going to have to get better in a few days. Then Wednesday we discovered the team points were counted wrong. They found a 10-point mistake in our favor.

"Instead of losing, we beat Riverview 217.5 to 212. Our kids are district champions."

[Last modified February 19, 2004, 02:00:25]


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