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Four Gators win championships and two others place second in the 2A-3 regional tournament.
By ALEX LYNCH
© St. Petersburg Times, published February 18, 2001
COUNTYSIDE -- Land O'Lakes crowned four champions and two runners-up en route to winning the Class 2A, Region 3 meet Saturday with 168 points.
Paul Yarborough placed second in the 130-pound weight class when he lost 12-3 to Lewis Robinson of Charlotte.
Derek Schiffer also placed second in the 135-pound class, losing to Chris Ramos of Sarasota 8-1.
But the best was yet to come for Land O'Lakes in the higher weights.
At 140 pounds, Ron Crotty came back with 12 seconds left to beat David Spaulding 7-4. Losing 4-3 in the last seconds of the match, Crotty pulled an excellent turnaround to take the lead 5-4. Crotty added two more points with a takedown at the end to advance to the state tournament in Lakeland on Thursday.
In the 189-pound class, James Tuttle overpowered Eric Zul of Hudson. After a scoreless first period, Tuttle scored five points in the second. In the third, Tuttle pinned Zul.
At 275 pounds, Jason Carpenter outlasted Rudolfo Arce of Ridgewood. After another scoreless first period, Carpenter scored to two late third-period points that proved to be the difference in a 2-1 victory.
"We are very happy about winning the regions this year," Land O'Lakes coach Edward Goodpaster said. "It is something we worked for for four years. Last year we had some injuries right around the time regions came. This year we were hit with the flu and some of our guys didn't perform as well as they could have, but overall we are happy to take the win."
IMMOKALEE -- For Osceola, district titles are commonplace.
Regional titles are not.
The Warriors have won district titles in four of the past six seasons but were seeking their first regional championship at the Class A, Region 3 meet.
Osceola came close, but placed third with 139.5 points, the highest finish among area schools.
Although the Warriors missed out on their elusive title, they did set a school record by having six wrestlers advance to next week's state tournament in Lakeland. They are Josh Langdon (145 pounds), Tony Cianciolo (152), Jeremy Helms (160), T.J. Baxter (171), Brian Burton (189) and Tom Ryan (215). Ryan was the lone regional champion for Osceola.
Dixie Hollins finished sixth and is sending four wrestlers to state -- Martin Otano (103), Shawn Fleetwood (112), Charlie Thompson (119) and Curtis Chance (275).
Temple Heights relied on its youth to finish eighth. The Eagles had a pair of middle-schoolers -- David Craig, a seventh-grader, and Rocky Cozart, an eighth-grader -- win regional titles.
Another middle-schooler, eighth-grader Cesar Grajales of Northside Christian, won his weight class at 103.
Jesuit finished ninth and Tarpon Springs 10th.