Inconsistent 'Canes back in winning groove
By DEREK LARIVIERE
Published January 26, 2007
The Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of Citrus County wrestling again showed why it is a force to be reckoned with in the area after last weekend's results in the first annual Winter Park Duals.
Citrus went 6-0 en route to a first-place victory. Major wins over programs from Lakeland, Astronaut and Eau Gallie showed why the Hurricanes are ranked 13th in Class A, according to the FloridaKids.us state poll released Tuesday.
This was quite a turnaround for the Hurricanes. The team did not gain a dual victory against a tough field the previous week in the third annual Dodge Duals in Palmetto. The field was far tougher in Palmetto, however.
The victory at Winter Park puts Citrus on a high heading into districts next weekend. At districts, the Hurricanes will see county rivals Lecanto and Crystal River along with tough programs from Hernando, Nature Coast and the Villages. The other programs attending are Ocala-West Port, Ocala Trinity Catholic, Dunnellon and North Marion.
NEW POLLS: With a full, healthy lineup, Citrus is one of the toughest programs to face from top to bottom in its class.
The Hurricane lightweights are steadily making a name for themselves. Craig Barker (112 pounds), now ranked eighth in his weight class, is only two spots behind Crystal River's Brandon Jones after starting the season on no one's radar at the state level. Bryant Fisher (119), whose reputation as a state-level wrestler preceded him this season, is ranked fourth at his weight.
At the middle weights, Brock Gibson (130) is ranked ninth in Class A after slowly climbing the ladder this season. James Freeman is 10th at 145 pounds, one spot behind Crystal River's Dustin Panacione. Cody Neptune (152) also is ranked for Citrus, cracking the polls at ninth.
Overall, Citrus went from having only one state-ranked grappler two weeks ago in Fisher, to having five going into the Class A, District 5 meet it is hosting. Citrus County programs have gone from having three total ranked competitors to a total of 10 with Crystal River's five.
The Pirates have added three to the polls in the past two weeks. Joining Jones and Cory Neal (130), who is ranked sixth, is Panacione, Kevin Drawdy (152) and John Koney (119). Drawdy, who has been dealing with injuries over the past month, is eighth in Class A.
Koney, who had a subpar season in 2005-06, struggled to regain his reputation as a state-level wrestler. The recognition has finally come after solid showings all season. He has had some good battles with Springstead's Skylar Huff, ranked fourth in Class 2A, but has not seen as many top level Class A 119-pounders as needed.
[Last modified January 25, 2007, 22:59:18]
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