By CAREY FREEMAN
© St. Petersburg Times, published December 19, 2000
CRYSTAL RIVER -- The Crystal River wrestling team is the most interesting show in town right now, but even the Pirates outdid themselves Monday against Hernando.
It wasn't the fact that the Pirates (13-2) posted their first regular-season win over the Leopards (not including the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Invitational). No, what really made this win noteworthy was the fashion in which it was won.
Crystal River not only beat the young Leopards (3-7), they crushed them, winning all but three of the 13 matches and winning seven of those by pin in a 52-20 win.
"This is like a blue-collar team," Pirates coach Bill Tovine said. "You're not going to find any studs out here, but they are a hard-working group of guys. And, when push comes to shove, they can put it together, come together as a team and get a win like this."
Of course, those in attendance might argue that point about "no studs," especially considering the way Crystal River dominated.
Hernando won the first match of the night when Chris Malvestri scored a pin over Jerry Cates, but after that it was pretty much all Crystal River. Cale Trenary, A.J. Davis and Brian McErlean all followed with pins, which combined with a forfeit at 130, gave the Pirates a commanding 24-6 lead. Charlie Combs broke up the monotony for the Leopards, but just long enough to prolong the inevitable.
Crystal River regained control when former Leopard Nate Stone, who transferred to Crystal River last season, scored a 13-5 major decision over former practice partner Billy Woods at 145. Stone's brother, Josh, followed with a pin over Richard Frazier at 152, overcoming a 6-4 deficit in the process.
Hernando's Drew Innis would win by technical fall over Drew Lepinskie at 160 and Ryan Braun defeated Mike Kofstakis 12-11 in overtime at 189 for Hernando's only other wins. Crystal River closed out its effort behind pins from Sam Force (171), Chauncey Minor (215) and Matt Hinman (275). "We have only one returning state-qualifier and one regional-qualifier," Hernando coach Matt Smith said. "But, other than that, we're basically brand new. Most of our guys are first- or second-year wrestlers. There's no substitute for mat time. The more we get, the better we'll get."