Area athletes show that they can excel nationally
By TERRY JONES
Published July 13, 2007
It was a great week to be a Brandon wrestler or a Seffner Track Club member.
For the second straight season, four members of the Seffner Track Club have won a national title.
And six Brandon Wrestling Club members took national titles at matches in Wisconsin last week.
Marc McCoy, Chris Chatfield, Deiondre Porter and Dontae McGee made up the sub-youth national championship team at the Amateur Athletic Union National Club Championship Track and Field Meet in Orlando.
During the July 4 competition, Seffner club athletes in other age groups combined to place 11th among 74 teams from around the country.
Head coach Mike Zelazo was delighted by the results, but more so by the athletes' effort and their parents' support.
"It's obviously an honor any time a club brings home a national title, especially this year since it was the most competitive meet in the history of the event," Zelazo said.
"Our four (athletes) performed admirably, even under duress at times."
As a team, the club finished just five points shy of the top 10.
Four Seffner athletes captured individual national championships.
Justin Osking, 14, won the discus title. Carly Patton, 13, won the javelin throw. Allison Higbee claimed the pole vault and Tyra Hepburn, 10, took the shot put toss.
Osking and Hepburn won the same events last year and took medals in the 2006 AAU Junior Olympics.
Scoring some medals
Before the USA Wrestling Kids Nationals in Green Bay, Wis., Brandon Wrestling Club coach Russ Cozart sized up the competition.
"We are real excited about being up here with this group of young kids," Cozart said.
"This is a great tournament and a great challenge for these young guys. The club has been a force on the national scene in recent years, and we hope to walk away with some medals."
They did just that.
Six of the club's 10 members won individual national championships. All but one placed in the top eight.
Ty Lucas (65-pound class) and Mike Ettore (165 pounds) set the pace by winning Greco-Roman and freestyle championships.
Kevin Norstrem, 13, won folkstyle and Greco-Roman titles, and finished second in freestyle.
"It was actually back-to-back tournaments, and both were hard," Norstrem said. "After the first (tournament), I knew I had to do it all over again. Our team wrestled with determination, and I am proud of their effort."
At the end of the Green Bay tournament, Norstrem's national record was 28-3.
Dylan Lucas (70 pounds) and James Flint (75 pounds) won national championships in the Greco-Roman competition. Flint placed second in freestyle, and Lucas was third in freestyle.
Joe Marcano (112 pounds) won a freestyle title and was runner-up in Greco-Roman.
Other competitors included Frankie Bruno, 9, second in freestyle and third in Greco-Roman; Brice Jones, 12, eighth in freestyle and Greco-Roman; and Geoff Doback, 8, third in Greco-Roman and freestyle.