Chargers arrive at Weeki Wachee Duals VI with title repeat in mind

Foster Hawthorne vs Stephen Kelle of Bradenton-Southeast during the 2017 FHSAA Class 1A State Tournament at Kissimmee’s Silver Spurs Arena. Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

WRESTLING

Two-day, 12-team duals

event includes four

Hernando County mat squads

By TONY CASTRO

HernandoSport.com

Weeki Wachee Hornets

The sixth edition of the Weeki Wachee Duals Tournament will officially kicksoff the 46th season of Hernando County prep wrestling beginning Friday at 2 p.m. across three mats at the Hornets’ Nest gymnasium, 12150 Vespa Way, Weeki Wachee.

Saturday’s action begins at 10 a.m.

Admission cost is $5 per person per day.

The expected 12-team prep field features two pools of six teams.

Pool A includes: Dover-Strawberry Crest, Belleview, Brooksville-Hernando, Hudson, Lecanto and Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical.

Pool B includes: Brooksville-Central, Crystal River, Weeki Wachee, Dade City-Pasco, Ocala-Lake Weir, Land O’ Lakes-Sunlake.

Each team will complete its pool play and then cross bracket.

Each team will wrestle four times on Friday and four times on Saturday for a total of eight guaranteed matches.

The top three teams will earn trophies.

In a departure from the first five WWHS Duals, each of the 12 teams will select their own Outstanding Wrestler Award among its grapplers.

The defending champion is Strawberry Crest.

Dover-Strawberry Crest Chargers

The 3A-6 Hillsborough County-based Chargers blitzed last year’s 16-team field behind an 8-0 run.

Tourney forecast

F.W. Springstead, which is hosting the Bob Levija JV Classic in Spring Hill, participated at Lakeland-Lake Gibson’s Classic last weekend and solved talented Fort Myers and Strawberry Crest.

Weeki Wachee‘s second-year mentor Dan Gigantelli predicts that Strawberry Crest will win it all again.

Dan Gigantelli

“They have good coaching and they were in mid-season form here last year,” noted Gigantelli. “I think second place will be between us and Hernando. I have great respect for Coach Pritz’s program.

“I’m also excited to see what Central has,” added Gigantelli, whose team mowed down Nature Coast Technical and Gulf, each by 72-6 verdicts in the preseason.

Shane Davidson

The US-19 squad returns five grapplers from last year’s event – all seniors – including: Matt Bennett (1-6), Patrick Webb-Melton (1-0), Derrick Martins (4-3, 3 pins), Jason McKnight (2-5) and Shane Davidson (4-3).

HHS: Seven returnees

Unlike WWHS’s 5-3 slate last winter, Hernando High finished 7-1, racking up 75 individual wins across 107 bouts (70 percent).

HHS pummeled Weeki Wachee last winter, 50-24, but was ambushed in the final by Strawberry Crest, 49-21, as six Leopards were pinned.

The Leopards are expected to enter with 15 grapplers including seven returning starters from this event including: Heaven Leigh Jackson, J. Lisk, Josh Hulse, Boston Tafelski, Bronson Tafelski, Qwenton Coney and Fernando Valdez.

Josh Hulse

Hulse began last year with a breakout 8-0 run at WWHS while Valdez posted a 6-2 slate and Boston Tafelski registered a 5-3 run.

Sharks: 4 returnees

Nature Coast Technical finished 4-4 in this field last winter, but returns only four grapplers: Jaxson Morris, James Aponte, Dajour Morgan and Michael “Mike-Mike” Weston.

Though Morgan only competed in four matches, he finished 4-0.

Mike Weston

Weston, at 220 pounds, finished with the Sharks’ second-best mark at 7-1. 2017 state placer Jordan Gibson opened the season with 8-0 run and five pins at WWHS.

Buchholz’s Armando Acosta pinned Weston in 1:05 for his only loss as Weston notched a team-high seven pins.

NCT’s first-year mentor Chance Phillips explained first-meet conditioning isn’t perfect.

“I think our conditioning is pretty good,” he said. “because both of our football players didn’t have the long seasons they had in the past. This is our first meet, we’re still trying to create a (new) culture.”

 

Bears: Eight return

Central finished 2-6 at WWHS in 2017, utilizing 16 different grapplers.

Eight returnees are expected to participate in the two-day event including: Connor Chilson, Justis Rager, Kevin Ragmali, Kaleb Morrison, Foster Hawthorne, Christian Navaraez, Chris Murphy and Zack Carmack.

              Foster Hawthorne

Hawthorne led the way for the Bears last winter with a tremendous 6-1 effort, featuring five pins.

Senior Vinny D’Alessandro, a 2016 Class 2A state qualifier who transferred in from Springstead, is expected to make his Bears’ debut.

Willie Murphy

“This tournament is all about getting the guys some early season mat time,” offered CHS’ third-year mentor Willie Murphy. “Even though we’ve had some intense moments in practice that doesn’t quite simulate what happens during a real match.

“Our goal, particularly for the younger wrestlers, is getting mat time and learning how to win a match,” stressed Murphy. “We’ve got a chance to win some matches. The key is getting some pins and staying off our backs. I really think this is the tone-setter for the season.”

AT A GLANCE

WHAT: Weeki Wachee Duals VI Wrestling Tournament.

Weeki Wachee Hornets

WHO: Expected 12-team prep field includes two pools of six teams. Pool A: Dover-Strawberry Crest, Belleview, Brooksville-Hernando, Hudson, Lecanto and Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical. Pool B: Brooksville-Central, Crystal River, Weeki Wachee, Dade City-Pasco, Ocala-Lake Weir, Land O’ Lakes-Sunlake. Defending champion is Strawberry Crest.

WHERE: Hornets’ Nest gymnasium, 12150 Vespa Way, Weeki Wachee. Admission cost is $5 per person per day.

WHEN: Two-day tournament begins along four mats at 2 p.m. Friday. Saturday’s action is expected to begin at 10a.m.

AT STAKE: The top three teams earn trophies. Additionally, each team will select its own Outstanding Wrestler Award.

2016 Final Weeki Wachee

Duals V Team Results

Dover-Strawberry Crest Chargers
 

PL

 

TEAM

 

CLASS

 

W

 

L

 

.PCT

1.

Dover-Strawberry Crest

3A-6

8

0

1.000

2.

Brooksville-Hernando

1A-6

7

1

.875

3.

Crystal River

1A-5

6

2

.750

4.

Gainesville-Buchholz

3A-1

5

3

.625

4.

Land O’ Lakes

2A-8

5

3

.625

4.

Weeki Wachee

1A-6

5

3

.625

4.

Belleview

2A-5

5

3

.625

8.

Inverness-Citrus

2A-5

4

4

.500

8.

Venice

2A-10

4

4

.500

8.

Wesley Chapel

2A-7

4

4

.500

11.

Brooksville-Nature Coast Technical

1A-6

3

5

.375

11.

The Villages

1A-7

3

5

.375

13.

Lecanto

2A-5

2

6

.250

13.

Brooksville-Central

1A-6

2

6

.250

15.

Gulfport-Boca Ciega

2A-9

1

7

.125

16.

Tampa-Carrollwood Day School

1A-10

0

8

.000

 

TOTALS (16)

 

64

 

64

 

.500

All-Time Weeki Wachee Duals

Team Champions (2012-16)

Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Venice Indians
 

YR.

 

TEAM

 

W-L

2012

Venice

6-0

2013

Gainesville

7-0

2014

Venice

8-0

2015

Belleview

8-0

2016

Dover-Strawberry Crest

8-0

All-Time Weeki Wachee Duals

Outstanding Wrestlers (2012-16)

Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Sean Nguyen
 

YR.

 

OSW

 

NAME

 

TEAM

 

WGT

2012

Lightweight

Sean Nguyen

NCT

120

2012

Heavyweight

Taylor Jackson

The Villages

170

2013

Lightweight

Jon Gardner

Gainesville

126

2014

Lightweight

Brent Smallwood

Venice

113

2014

Heavyweight

Frankie Ritchie

NCT

195

2015

Lightweight

Dan Stone

Venice

138

2015

Heavyweight

Jesse Seidl

LO’L

182

2016

Lightweight

Cullen Telfer

Strawberry Crest

138

2016

Heavyweight

D.J. Tice

Strawberry Crest

285

 

 

 

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