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Cougars bruise already-battered Pinellas Park

By BOB PUTNAM
© St. Petersburg Times
published December 20, 2001

PINELLAS PARK -- Countryside and Pinellas Park didn't adhere to the standard formula for Wednesday's dual meet.

Instead of wrestling in order from lowest to highest weight class, the schools used a rule adopted by the Florida High School Activities Association that allows teams to draw from any weight class and start there. Wednesday's meet started at 119 pounds.

But no matter how the lineup was shuffled, the Patriots knew the deck was stacked against them.

Pinellas Park limped into its grudge match with the Cougars and a 48-19 loss was inevitable. The Patriots were without three varsity starters, all out with injuries until the middle of January.

That forced Pinellas Park coach Scott Stern to forfeit three weight classes before the dual meet started.

"There weren't too many surprises tonight," Stern said. "Everything went about the way we expected it."

Countryside didn't feel too sorry for its depleted rival. Besides picking up 24 points in forfeits, the Cougars won six other matches. Dominic DeNunzio (125 pounds) and Garry Dodds (160) scored major decisions. Mike Flood (130), Steve Spicuzza (140) and Sean Murphy (152) won by decision. And Matt Turtzo (145) won on a pin to lead Countryside.

The Cougars, ranked No. 2 in Class 2A by floridakids.net, have one loss in dual meets and are undefeated in the county.

"We knew it would probably be a close chess match tonight," Countryside coach Dave Frayer said of shuffling his lineup. "I thought we wrestled well. These kids have worked their tails off and it's showing. This is a nice way to go into the Christmas break."

The Patriots, ranked 15th in 3A, won four bouts Wednesday. The biggest win, at least by points (six), was a pin by Delvon Stanley at 160.

"I thought we did well for what we put on the mat," Stern said. "I know that the Pinellas Park team we'll have in the middle of January will be much different than the one we had tonight."

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