Pinellas Park will be without key wrestlers for a tough tournament.
By BOB PUTNAM
© St. Petersburg Times, published December 8, 2000
Pinellas Park coach Scott Stern has a depleted lineup. Four wrestlers are out with injuries and standout Billy Henderson, a 171-pounder, is on a recruiting trip for football this weekend.
That's not good news for the Patriots, who are hosting the Jerry Mita Invitational, a 16-team tournament that is one of the toughest in the state.
How tough? Consider that Northeast and Bradenton Manatee, which won the Mustang Invitational and the East Lake Invitational, respectively, will be participating in the Mita. So too will state contender Bloomingdale and always strong Miami Palmetto.
"Well, we'll be there and we're hosting," Stern said. "We just have to try to get through the weekend."
The tournament starts today and ends Saturday.
UP AND DOWN: Boca Ciega's Nate Naumann and Northeast's Jesse Floyd have each had success in the 103-pound weight class. Naumann took third last season at state while Floyd was the runner-up two seasons ago.
But the two place-winners seemed out of place wrestling in the 119-pound class at the Mustang Invitational last week.
Naumann, a junior who was ranked No. 1 in the preseason, lost in the semifinals. Floyd, a senior who transferred from St. Petersburg, lost in the finals of the same weight class.
Both lost to Temple Heights' Rocky Cozart, an eighth-grader.
So where do Naumann and Floyd go from here? Right now, it seems in opposite directions. Not in terms of performance but in weight class.
Naumann will eventually move down to 112 pounds. But he might remain at 119 for the Mita.
Floyd will move up to 125.
Floyd's coach, Bill Dudley, said he is using the first couple of weeks of the season to get a gauge on where his star will be best suited.
WRESTLER OF THE WEEK: Tim Dresser has been impressive the past two weeks.
The junior from East Lake, who was a conference runner-up and district champion last season, beat Pinellas Park's Delvon Stanley in a preseason bout and last week he won the 160-pound weight class at the East Lake Invitational by beating Palm Harbor University's Rob Goetz. Goetz did not wrestle for the Hurricanes last season, but won the Sunshine Open.
The award was for Dresser's performance the past two weeks. It's worth noting because Dresser was pinned by Osceola's Tony Cianciolo in a dual meet Wednesday.