By Times Staff Writers
Published February 22, 2004
PUNTA GORDA - There were 33 teams at the Class 2A region meet at Charlotte.
The competition, though, was reduced to two.
Countryside and Venice, ranked second and third in 2A by Floridakids.us, went in as favorites and made the ride to next week's state tournament in Lakeland seem like a two-team car pool.
The two teams participated in the Challenge the Streak tournament last month but were on opposite sides of the bracket. That gave Internet junkies some fodder this week as they logged onto wrestling chatrooms to speculate who would win this region.
The suspense lasted through most of the finals. Ahead by seven going into the championship bouts, the Cougars made their lead stand as they oudistanced the Indians 241.50-245.5.
This was Countryside's third consecutive region title and the last for coach Dave Frayer, who is retiring at the end of the season.
"I expected it to be close," Frayer said. "It's one of the toughest regions that I've been around, and I know we got some extra points here or there that helped us out."
The Cougars had the edge in the finals with eight wrestlers, to seven for Venice. Both teams won five bouts, and the Indians won three of four head-to-head. The difference came in how the matches were won.
Countryside recorded major decisions by Casey Schreiber (135-pounds) and Wes Walker (152) and decisions by Dominic DeNunzio (140), A. Jay Hixon (145) and Sean Murphy (160).
To catch up, Venice needed pins. The Indians got one from Keith Koziel at 112, but the other four winners were by decision.
Dixie Hollins (ninth) and Dunedin (10th) were the only other county teams in the top 10. The top four in each class advanced to state.
- BOB PUTNAM
3A: Three Pats advance
TARPON SPRINGS - The Patriots had the most star power, but Durant (146) had the most points Saturday at the 3A-2 tournament. Pinellas Park (138.5) had a tournament-high three champions, but could not overcome the Cougars or Gulf Coast (140).
The usual suspects scored for the Patriots. Michael Falgoust (130), Greg Anderson (215), and Travis Youngs (275) have six losses combined this season and all won their weight classes.
"It's getting towards the end of the year," Falgoust said. "You've just got to be intense."
Falgoust (36-2) pinned Gulf Coast's Joe Adams in less than a minute, won 11-0 over McCorry Noelus (Palm Beach Gardens) and won the final 18-3 over Durant's Hamilton Jordan.
Greg Anderson won a 9-0 major decision over Jeremiah Brown (Plant City) in his final. Anderson (39-1) pinned his way to the final, including one over Melbourne's Jeff Rock in 29 seconds.
Youngs (35-3) pinned East Lake's Elliot Lewis (32-7) 1:05 into the final. None of Youngs' matches went past the first round.
East Lake (82) and St. Petersburg (64.5) also finished in the top 10. East Lake senior Mike Peluso (189) won his weight class.
"This is the last time I will ever wrestle in this gym, so I wanted to go out and get another win," Peluso said.