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Fifty years ago, they were screwed-up kids sent to the Florida School for Boys to be straightened out. But now they are screwed-up men, scarred by the whippings they endured. Read the story and see a video and portrait gallery.
By DOUG KATES, Times Correspondent
Published January 31, 2008
ST. PETERSBURG - Countryside surprised no one by crowning the most district champions Wednesday night, but in the end it was East Lake that staged the biggest celebration.
The Eagles qualified 13 out of 14 wrestlers for regionals and edged the Cougars by two points to win the team championship.
"I am somewhat surprised," East Lake coach Joe Bedits said. "I would have been okay with second, but there's nothing like first. They stepped it up and I'm real proud of them."
The Eagles led the team standings 166-151.5 going into the medal round, but went 0-5 through the 145-pound championship and consolation finals. Countryside wrestlers Dalton Dennis (103), Kyle Grueninger (112), Tyler Parry (130), Eric Deupree (135) and Dustin Incorvia (152) won titles, which helped the Cougars move into the lead.
With one match remaining - heavyweight - Countryside maintained a 187-183 edge, but East Lake sent Alex Dinielli to the mat and the 40-0 senior pinned Thomas Doman of Mitchell to clinch the team championship.
"Team-wise it was disappointing to lose," said Countryside coach Mark Prince, who pointed out his Cougars defeated the Eagles in two duals this season and twice at tournaments. "East Lake has a good team. We didn't have all the weight classes filled. They did."
East Lake will be led into regionals by its three district champions, Dinielli, Nick Sholley (145) and Hugh Do (140), who was competing with an injured knee ligament and almost dropped out of his title match.
St. Petersburg qualified six for regionals; Palm Harbor University and Pinellas Park qualified five. Each school had one champion: Deontae Jones (189) of St. Petersburg, Phil Forsythe (160) of Pinellas Park and Grayson Savage (215) of Palm Harbor University.
Team standings: East Lake 189, Countryside 187, Palm Harbor U. 90, Pinellas Park 81, St. Petersburg 77.5, Largo 60.5
Championships (top four qualify for regionals): 103: Da.Dennis (CS) md. Monteforte (Sara) 11-3; 112: Grueninger (CS) md. Nguyen (Rvr) 10-2; 119: Herrera (Sara) d. Frease (CS) 5-3 OT; 125: Brown (Sara) p. Frazier (EL) 2:34; 130: Parry (CS) p. Warren (Sara) 2:39; 135: Deupree (CS) tf. Dasilva (Lar) 17-2; 140: Do (EL) d. Ayers (CS) 7-5; 145: Sholley (EL) p. Santangelo (PHU) :37; 152: Incorvia (CS) d. Belcher (EL) d. Belcher (EL) by DQ; 160: Forsythe (PP) p. Hall (Lar) 5:35; 189: Jones (STP) d. Ducey (EL) 19-14; 215: Savage (PHU) p. Cassidy (Mit) 1:23; 285: Dinielli (EL) p. Doman (Mit) 1:41
Consolations: 103: Andries (PP) d. Parrino (STP) 10-5; 112: Monteforte (Sara) p. Uy (EL) 2:29; 119: Madry (STP) tf. Dougherty (EL) 20-5; 125: DiDennis (CS) d. Goslin (STP) 8-6; 130: Myers (PHU) d. Fierro (EL) 6-0; 135: Stewart (PHU) md. Davis (EL) 11-0; 145: Cuthbert (PP) p. Snyder (Lar) 3:29; 152: Pantages (PHU) p. Bauer (PP) 4:44; 160: Rainwater (EL) d. Kennedy (STP) 9-3; 171: Gardner (EL) p. Bryant (STP) 3:56; 189: Murphy (PP) md. Brown (CS) 16-2; 215: Blanchard (CS) p. Morris (EL) :45; 285: Lukachyk (Sara) p. Marlowe (Lar) :54