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Bet on the Bucs

With a healthy, talented lineup, Gulf appears to be the team to beat in this weekend's tourney.

Published January 26, 2007


NEW PORT RICHEY - Gulf coach Travis Dewalt played it cool when asked about favorites for Saturday's Sunshine Athletic Conference tournament at Zephyrhills.

Dewalt listed Hudson, Land O'Lakes, last year's runnerup River Ridge and even defending champion Pasco, whose depleted lineup is down to nine due to injuries and wrestlers quitting.

"Hudson potentially is going to put about four or five in the finals," Dewalt said. "That's a lot of points."

Dewalt's not fooling anyone, said Zephyrhills coach Matt McDermott.

"Gulf's going to win it," McDermott said. "Gulf has the only full lineup in the conference right now and (Dewalt's) got the most experience."

Dewalt acknowledged he has favorites to win the 125-pound and 130 class in Jordan Holding and Mike Calafiore, respectively. But he declined to mention John Palasky (heavyweight) and Tim Longnecker (171), whom other coaches named, as individual frontrunners.

Here is a look at the top contenders:

103 Anthony Biondo, River Ridge; Vidal Jimenez, Pasco; Justin Bailey, Ridgewood. Biondo is the consensus.

112 Dean Stupar, Ridgewood; Eddie Ortiz, Wesley Chapel; Nick Hynes, Zephyrhills. Barring an upset, Ortiz and Hynes should battle for second.

119 Tyler Fleming, River Ridge; John Middleton, Wesley Chapel; John Reubens, Zephyrhills. This looks like Fleming's crown.

125 Jordan Holding, Gulf. Any questions?

130 Mike Calafiore, Gulf; Javier Benetiz, Pasco, Eric Madden, Zephyrhills. Calafiore's to lose.

135 Josh Kweller, Land O'Lakes; Bobbie Kunkle, Zephyrhills. Kunkle would get a break if Kweller moves up to 145.

140 Brian Rushing, Land O'Lakes; Westley Thornton, Zephyrhills. This could get interesting.

145 Chance Finley, Pasco. If Kweller's here, watch out.

152 Tony Germano, Hudson; Matt Oliver, Gulf. Oliver also could compete at 160. Either way, Germano is the favorite.

160 Oliver; Jarrod Carmody, Pasco. This could be Oliver's for the taking.

171 Devin Brown, Hudson; Tim Longnecker, Gulf; Jessy Lorentsen, Mitchell. Brown should at least be a finalist.

189 William Bentley, Hudson. Unbeaten and should remain that way.

215 Eric Stroud, Pasco. No one else even mentioned.

Heavyweight: John Palasky, Gulf; Travis Tindell, Hudson; William Hand, Zephyrhills; David Sowers, River Ridge. Arguably the most competitive class.

Check it out

SAC Tournament

Saturday's meet begins with weigh-ins at 8 a.m. and the first round begins at 10 a.m. Finals should start around 3 or 4 p.m. Admission is $5.

[Last modified January 25, 2007, 23:51:05]

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