Ex-Leopard Maniates on the move to Jacksonville, Illinois’ MacMurray College Highlanders

Codey Maniates
2017 HHS graduate Codey Maniates is flanked by his parents, father Mark, and mother Trisha, as he inks a letter of intent to wrestle next year for D-III MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Illinois. Photo provided

Two-time state

wrestling qualifier

joins D-III mat team



The heart ’n soul of the best Hernando High wrestling team in 12 winters, 2017 graduate Codey Michael Maniates, has already relocated 15 hours and over 1,050 miles to begin the next phase of his life.

Codey Maniates
Codey Maniates

Maniates, 18, was one of the senior captains on the 24-4 HHS mat program in 2016-17.

Maniates along with fellow seniors Devon Dennis, Dakota Ellerbee, Demarcus Munford, Keegan O’ Rourke, Yovanny Rodriguez, Dezmond Westbrook, Harry Williams comprised the inner circle of fifth-year skipper David Pritz’s squad.

Of the eight seniors, including seven starters, this crew enabled the Leopards to pocket just its fourth-ever district title in 45 winters in the Class 1A, District 6 Tournament at the Michael A. Imhoff Gymnasium.

MacMurray College Highlanders
MacMurray College Highlanders

It marked the first HHS district title since 2003-05’s string of three district crowns under Matt Smith and Bill Combs Sr.

HHS also toted home the Class 1A, Region II runner-up trophy from Eastern State College in Titusville. That effort tied the school’s best regional finish from nine years ago.

The Purple and Gold’s 24 dual meet mat wins ranks second all-time to 2015-16 squad’s 25, also under Pritz.

At the epicenter of the resurgence was two-time state qualifier Maniates, who recently signed a letter of intent to compete for the Division III MacMurray College Highlanders in Jacksonville, Illinois.

Codey Maniates vs Vinnie Blasucci SOMR.Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
Codey Maniates vs Vinnie Blasucci of Somerset Academy.                     Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Maniates 101

Codey was born in nearby Chicago Heights, Ill., as the second oldest of five children to Mark and Trisha Maniates.

Though the parents are separated Codey resided in Brooksville with his mother – he’s now residing with his father in Lansing, Ill.

Maniates traced his athletic roots to Dade City Little League. Beginning at eight years old, he alternated between pitcher and catcher for the next five seasons.

He also played baseball in Lansing in eighth-grade before relocating back with mother in Brooksville prior to high school.

He recalls playing JV football and baseball as a freshman, but gravitated toward the mats as a freshman.

He spent four varsity seasons under Pritz.

He broke in 2013-14 sporting a 12-22 slate.

As a sophomore, the current 5-foot-11, 155-pounder improved to 28-13.

During his junior campaign, Maniates began to make a name for himself winning 43-of-58 matches, while notching 27 pins. 2015-16 was punctuated with a brief stay at states going 0-2.

He enjoyed a terrific senior year in 2016-17.

Maniates collected a personal best 48 wins across 57 bouts (84 percent). He led all Hernando County grapplers in victories.

His seasonal highlights included his initial district championship in Brooksville in 1A-6.

A week later, he finished 3-1 in regionals to earn a silver medal in Brevard County.

David Pritz
David Pritz

In his second Class 1A FHSAA State Finals, Maniates finished 2-2.

Codey graduated with a stout 131-59 (69 percent) career record, highlighted by 70 pins.

His 190 matches tied the school record set originally by Brandyn Kuhn (2003-07).

His 131 career wins ties him for sixth place all-time with Michael Combs, Jesse Graham and Zach Pritz.

After Maniates was voted All-Hernando County for the first time, Pritz described him, “Codey was a dominant wrestler … He didn’t have things go his way at states … Never skipped a work out and was a leader on the team … There aren’t many guys who start as freshman, but Codey did … He’s one of the toughest kids I’ve ever coached.”

Codey Maniates Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
Codey Maniates                                                                                              Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

On Maniates’ mat passion

“My favorite sport has become wrestling,” explained the blonde-tressed and hazel-eyed Maniates. “Wrestling is all about yourself. I really enjoy being physical.”

Maniates never flinched on his biggest improvement.

“As I’ve gotten older, I gotten much better on my feet,” said Maniates. “I’ve gotten stronger and I’ve gotten better balance.”

After looking at the mirror, “I’m more of a defensive guy. That strategy worked good until I got into those really close one-point matches and had to make something happen,” offered Codey.

Daniel Pritz
Daniel Pritz

Maniates credited state champion (assistant coach) Daniel Pritz and state runner-up David Pritz for perfecting his craft.

“Both of those guys shot on me hundreds of times,” recalled Maniates. “My biggest difficult was when I’m down a point or tied and I had to get a takedown to win; it wasn’t my style.”

Maniates never hesitated on what he’s most proud of achieving at the Bell Avenue campus.

“I’m most proud of making it to states twice,” he beamed. “I look back when I was a freshman, and I didn’t see me doing this.”

The turning point arrived just after his sophomore year when Coach David Pritz insisted, “You’re better than where you’re wrestling at.”

Rewinding his initial trip to “The Show” in Osceola County, “The first time was more difficult,” summed up Maniates. “I really was OK just making it that far. I wasn’t ready for the type of style I was about to face.”

Upon his return to states, “I was much more comfortable when I walked in this year,” revealed Maniates. “I knew I could win it.”

Looking back, “I wrestled alright. I was more offensive, before this year I was relying on my defense too much,” said Maniates.

“When you’re competing at states. It’s not like you’re in a high school gym. It’s like everyone’s watching you,” noted Maniates.

The Leopards’ lackluster 30th place tie, out of 85 1A teams, caught Maniates off guard.

“A lot of us just folded,” admitted Maniates, without naming names. “I think the pressure got to everyone. I’d still give the team an “A” for their efforts leading up to states. We all did what we needed to do.”

Cody Maniates Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO
Cody Maniates                                                                                                  Photo by JOE DiCRISTOFALO

Choosing the Highlanders

Maniates prepared for life off the mats by maintaining 3.5 unweighted grade point average in the classroom.

His favorite courses featured U.S. History and Algebra I.

He aspires to study sports medicine and eventually becoming a physical therapist.

“Being an athlete will help me help others who get hurt. I feel I can help them get back on track,” admitted Maniates.

MacMurray College Highlanders
MacMurray College Highlanders

In selecting the next rung of his career path, Maniates entertained offers from Southeastern University in Lakeland, Appalachian State in Boone, North Carolina, Bacone College in Muskogee, Oklahoma (where Williams signed) and MacMurray College.

In the end, Maniates visited one campus, MacMurray, and stuck with it.

“What sold me was how the coach treated me when I got there. All the coaches and all the guys treated me like I was family,” pointed out Maniates. “They have really great facilities and I kinda decided I want to go up state.

“…I’ll have to get use to those cold winters again.”

Maniates has until Aug. 25 before reporting.

He secured a part-time job at a True Value Hardware store and runs 2-3 miles after work every day. He and a buddy visit a gym just to stay in shape.

Maniates realizes to be successful at the next level, he must improve on his offense.

In the interim, his misses his Brooksville buddies with fondness.

“I miss a lot. I miss my boys. The guys at Hernando all pushed each other,” detailed Maniates. “Since graduation, we’ve all gone our separate ways.”

Maniates believes he helped create a legacy.

“It’s great to be in top 10 in wins,” smiled Maniates. “The only five guys in front of me were either Combs or Pritz’s. I’d really like to be remembered as a good person. Someone who worked hard and put in a lot of effort.”

By the Numbers:

Hernando High’s Codey Maniates (2013-17)

– Compiled by TONY CASTRO

Codey Maniates
Codey Maniates














































* Denotes state qualifier.

# Denotes county leader.

^ Denotes All-Hernando County selection.


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