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For their own good
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 February 10, 2008
TARPON SPRINGS - Finally, as a senior, Yamil Crespo is going to the state wrestling tournament in Lakeland.
"I wanted it pretty freaking bad," said the Durant 145-pounder, who went 4-0 to win a region championship Saturday. "I just came out and did what I always do, but I think I had more confidence, and the extra year of experience helped a lot."
Crespo was one of two Durant athletes to win region titles and is one of four to qualify for state. Also excited was another senior, Christian Reed, who won the 125-pound championship and is going to Lakeland to improve on a 1-2 record last year.
"I can't finish my senior year without doing something," he said. "This gives me all the drive in the world. Right now, I want to win a state championship."
Overall, Durant finished fourth behind Kissimmee Osceola, Palm Bay and Countryside. Bloomingdale was sixth, followed by Alonso (10), Riverview (11), Gaither (16), Plant City (21) and Sickles (28).
Alonso will be sending three to state - the most in the school's seven-year wrestling history.
Nobody won region titles for Alonso, but Kurt Ivy (152) and Kendall Ivy (189) will both be No. 3 seeds at states, and Tony Milanes (103) will be a No. 4 seed.
"We brought eight," Alonso coach John Moore said. "I thought we could get four or five (to state), but this is a tough region."
Bloomingdale's Chris Figari won a region title for the second straight year. He pinned Gabriel Bird of Osceola in 5:59 at 140 pounds. Figari, who was third at state last year, predicts he will meet Bird again in Lakeland.
"That was one of the toughest kids in my weight class," he said. "At least if we meet in the finals, I know I have a shot."