Lighter matchups carry a lot of weight

Smallest class in the Ippolito Memorial boasts some of the top competitors.

By TERRY JONES Times Correspondent
Published January 18, 2007

BRANDON - The smallest wrestlers could have some of the biggest matches in the 23rd Tony Ippolito Memorial, scheduled for Friday and Saturday at Brandon.

Springstead junior Schuyler Swanton (26-0), Sarasota sophomore Robert Herrera (19-1) and Brandon freshman Terry Dawson (16-1) will compete at 103 pounds, making it one of the most intriguing weight classes of the prestigious annual event.

Swanton is ranked No. 1 by FloridaKids.us for all classifications.

"I feel as confident as Schuyler that he will win his weight class," Springstead coach Erick Swensen said. "He is skilled, confident and very aggressive. Herrera and Dawson are exceptional wrestlers also and it will be a hotly contested weight."

During the Jim Graves "Challenge the Streak" duals at Brandon two weeks ago, Swanton and Dawson were in opposite brackets. Since Springstead lost to Fort Lauderdale Cardinal Gibbons, the two didn't meet and went undefeated.

"The only match Terry lost was against the kid from Easton (Pa.) in the Sunshine (National Coaches Association tournament), and he was never out of that one," Cozart said. "He hates to lose."

Veteran Sarasota coach Ron Jones has another strong team. Except for 1989, when Jones coached the Sailors to a state championship, he has brought his team to Ippolito.

"I know my guy can win this tournament, and I believe he will," Jones said. "When Robert is on the mat he is nonstop, 100-percent adrenaline. He attacks hard, rides tough and never quits."

Herrera's only loss was at 112 pounds, Jones said.

Though only a freshman, Dawson is long on experience. He has several national championships in youth club competition and placed third in the state in Class A last season as an eighth-grader at Temple Heights.

Seeding will determine who makes it to the finals. Swanton will probably be No. 1, meaning the third seed will have to defeat Swanton to get a shot at the title.

Though Brandon is favored to win big in team competition, Springstead, Manatee, Bloomingdale and Jesuit will be pressing hard and battling for second through fifth places.

Fast Facts:

Tony Ippolito Memorial Tournament

Where: Brandon High

When: Friday and Saturday

Admission: $6 per session

Schedule: Friday - Opening rounds, 5 p.m.; Saturday - Wrestlebacks, 10 a.m.; semifinals, noon; consolation finals, 5 p.m.; championship round, 7 p.m.

Teams: Alonso, Armwood, Naples Barron Collier, Bloomingdale, Bradenton Bayshore, Brandon, Cape Coral, East Bay, Freedom, Gaither, Hillsborough, Jesuit, King, Bradenton Manatee, Palatka, Pasco, Plant, Plant City, Riverview, Robinson, Sarasota, Sarasota Riverview, Springstead, St. Cloud, Venice, Wesley Chapel, Wharton