Four Teams Hold Lead at Duals
Fri. December 16, 2011 at 9:00 p.m. | By B.J. Pitzen
LAKELAND | The Polk County Duals, hosted in the George Jenkins Gymnasium and Cafeteria Friday, featured 16 wrestling squads battling on six separate mats. Only four teams remain undefeated after preliminary rounds heading into today’s event comprised of six rounds and finals matches. Lake Gibson, George Jenkins, Lakeland and Lake Wales each proved to be tougher than their opponents by pinning a 3-0 record up on the Friday night scoreboard.
Lake Gibson, who boasts two-time state champion Brandon Jorge, handily put away Ridge Community 62-15, Frostproof 64-15 and Haines City 57-21. Jorge, who wrestled his first time of the 2011-’12 season on Friday because of an injury, pinned Haines City’s Whalen Casey 48 seconds into his 138-pound contest.
“The guys see everyone get pins and you’ll want to do the same thing,” Jorge, the senior who plans to wrestle for NC State next winter, said. “They’ll (my teammates will) follow my lead.”
Despite sitting out the beginning of the season, Jorge wants nothing less than another individual state title and perfection during the regular season.
“I’ve got to get to 100%,” Jorge said. “I expect to go undefeated and win another state championship.”
Braves’ standout Chase Krutzky went 3-0 Friday in the 145-pound division with three quick pins.
“I was settin’ stuff up and movin’ people around,” Krutzky said. “I think I should do well (the rest of the tournament).”
Heavyweight Devonte Terrell also swept his opponents with three pins for Lake Gibson.
“During the week I just work hard,” Terrell said. “I just came back from football and I try to pace myself and do better than the rest,” Terrell said.
Lake Gibson coach Danny Walker has a young team and strategically utilized his inexperienced grapplers Friday and plans to put in the seasoned guys today.
“We only have three to four seniors,” Walker said. “It’s important to get the younger guys some matches in the earlier rounds.”
Lakeland , coached by Brian Abdon, beat McKeel 54-25 and proceeded to take down Auburndale 55-21 and Mulberry 49-24. The Dreadnaughts were led by Mariano Santiago in the 106-pound weight class with three pins. Alec Nutting had three pins overall with two coming in the 285-pound weight class and one in the 220-pound division while Kevin Miller had two pins and one technical fall in the 132-pound weight class for Lakeland. Eric Wortman pinned two opponents and had one major decision in the 145-pound division to help the Dreadnaughts go undefeated Friday.
Lake Wales finished off Tenoroc 54-21, Ridge 45-36 and Bartow 72-21. Host team George Jenkins ousted Kathleen 54-18, Winter Haven 52-27 and Avon Park 48-30 in a tournament that is intended to shake the rust off and get the wrestlers back into the competitive mode.
McKeel Academy, who is among two other teams (Haines City and Auburndale) to go 2-1 Friday night, was boosted by a timely 10-8 decision in which Luke Creekmore outlasted Winter Haven's Emilio Cruz in the 160 pound weight-class. Creekmore held on for dear life and gave the Wildcats a six point lead heading into the final matchup, which resulted in a pin for McKeel and a 42-30 victory.
"We just run a lot and do a lot of conditioning," Creekmore, who attriubuted his stamina throughout his match with Cruz that lasted three periods to hard work, said.
McKeel coach Brian Morgan was happy with Creekmore's clutch performance..
"That was big, especially knowing we were only up by three points," Morgan, who conditions his grapplers for situations like Creekmore's, said. "It's huge. We stress that. We know our legs have to be prepared for that."
All teams will compete in four out of six rounds Saturday, December 17 beginning at 8:30 a.m. with weigh-ins at 7:30 a.m. Thereafter, each team will be placed according to its performance in the consolation finals beginning at 5:30 p.m. or the finals starting at 7 p.m. at George Jenkins.