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Countryside gets surprise

The district title the Cougars are favored to win is captured by the 25th-ranked Gators.

By JAMAL THALJI

© St. Petersburg Times, published February 11, 2001


LAND O'LAKES -- Being the favorite is overrated. Just ask Countryside.

FloridaKids.net had predicted the Cougars, ranked 19th in its poll of the state's top 25 teams, would win Saturday night's Class 2A, District 9 tournament at Land O'Lakes.

But it was the home team, the No. 25 Gators, who pulled off an upset of sorts.

Land O'Lakes scored 204.5 points to edge Countryside's 161.5.

East Lake finished third with 118 points, topping fourth-place Hudson's 110 and fifth-place Ridgewood's 109.5.

Pinellas County will send 18 wrestlers to next week's Region 2 tourney at Countryside, setting up a re-match between the district's top two finishers.

"You always want to win it in the end," Cougars coach Dave Frayer said. "(Land O'Lakes) wrestled very well, and there's nothing we could do about it."

One of Countryside's disappointing moments occurred in the finals of the 130-pound weight class.

Matt Turtzo suffered a left ankle sprain in the opening seconds of his match against Land O'Lakes' Paul Yarbrough, a foe Turtzo had beaten twice before. Turtzo wrestled through the pain, but his effectiveness was limited, as he lost the match by injury default with 35 seconds left and Yarbrough holding a 9-3 lead.

The Cougars' Vincent Scholl won a title in the 103-pound class, Dominic Denunzio won at 112 and Mike Flood 119. John Rowe took second at 125, as did Turtzo (130), Steve Spicuzza (135), Arthur Sears (145) and Joe Krajacic (171). Mike Crews (275) was third, and Adrian Adams (152) finished fourth.

East Lake's Josh Lutz won at 125 and Patrick Hafner at 152. Josh Prior (119) took second. Placing third was Jon Alvarez (103) and Hunter West (215). Andrew Edwards (140), Randy Mills (145), Jim Myers (160) and Amaro Serra (189) earned fourth.

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