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Countryside qualifies eight wrestlers for the state tournament.
By Doug Kates, Times Correspondent
Published February 10, 2008
TARPON SPRINGS - Last year, Countryside had a successful state wrestling tournament with six representatives. This year might be even better - the Cougars are sending eight.
"Ultimately, it's all about next week," Countryside coach Mark Prince said. "The eight kids who are going worked out every day in the offseason. Of those eight kids, five are new ones."
Among those going as region champions are Dalton Dennis (103), Kyle Grueninger (112), Tyler Parry (130) and Eric Deupree (135).
Countryside leads Pinellas County in state representatives despite finishing second to East Lake last weekend for the district title. The Eagles qualified 13 for regions, but only heavyweight Alex Dinielli advanced.
"It's not about East Lake," Prince said. "It's about wrestling the best you can, qualifying for state and coming home with hardware. It's about doing our job. Even last week, I thought we did our job, but (East Lake) just did a better job."
Dinielli kept his record perfect for the Eagles. He went 4-0 with three pins and now has 41 pins in 44 matches. At the tournament, there were 28 heavyweight matches, 25 of which ended in pins.
Jordan Frease (119), Dillon Dennis (125), Layton Ayers (140) and Dustin Incorvia (152) will join their Countryside teammates in Lakeland. Nick Andries (103) and Phil Forsythe (160) qualified from Pinellas Park, and Demetrius Madry (119) advanced from St. Petersburg.
Dalton Dennis, along with his brother Dillon, are originally from Oklahoma. They will be experiencing Lakeland for the first time.
"I heard it was a lot of fun," Dalton said. "Big arena. A lot of good wrestling."
His opponent in the championship, Andries of Pinellas Park, is also going for the first time.
"It hasn't really sunken in yet," Andries said. "I don't think I'll really realize what I did until I get there and see all the people. I'm excited."
Overall, Kissimmee Osceola won the team title with 185.5 points and four individual champs. Countryside finished 25 points behind.