Tracking a Title: Lake Gibson Trails Springstead After First Day for Class 2A Crown
Sat. February 16, 2013 at 2:00 a.m. | By Bill Kemp
LAKE GIBSON'S CALEB SMITH tries to gain an advantage against Tampa Jesuit's Anthony Zucco in a 106-pound match during the 2013 FHSAA Wrestling Finals at The Lakeland Center. Smith won by a 5-4 decision. For more photos, go to www.theledger.com/galleries. (Photo by RICK RUNION | THE LEDGER)
By BILL KEMP & MIKE COBB
LEDGER MEDIA GROUP
LAKELAND | The Lake Gibson wrestling coaching staff entered the Lakeland Center with a magic number in mind Friday, and they got it without a second to spare.
Jason Foster defeated Cypress Lake's Corey Kerkesner 6-1 in a 195-pound match picking up five points right before the overtime buzzer sounded to help advance four Lake Gibson wrestlers into the FHSAA Class 2A state wrestling championship semifinal rounds today.
"We wanted four (with 2-0 records). If we had four that still gives us a shot (at the team state championship). Anything less than that and we would have struggled to have a shot," Lake Gibson head coach Danny Walker said.
Foster picked up a critical tying-point in the closing seconds of the third period to force the match into overtime before recording five points — two for a takedown and three for a near-fall — a split-second before the period ended.
"I just did everything my coach told me to do. I was listening to him but I had God in my head the whole time," Jones said. "I was just thanking Jesus. I got the two under-hooks in him and took him down. That's just what it is."
Chase Krutzky (145), Alex Destra (152), Dorian Spradlin (170) joined Foster as the four Braves producing perfect 2-0 records through the first two rounds of competition.
Spradlin pinned Levi McQuinn of Fort Myers in his first match before a dominating 21-6 technical-fall victory over Max Gallagly of Tampa Jesuit in his second match.
"That was a freakin' awesome match. He's just such a machine and just technically wise," Walker said. "I couldn't have asked for a better guy. I just hope he can finish it out tomorrow and win a state title."
Lake Gibson (45.00) has finished state runners-up the past two seasons. The Braves trail first-place Springstead (53.00) in the Class 2A team standings coming into today's action. Springstead only advanced three wrestlers into the semifinals rounds but has three more wrestlers alive in the consolation rounds. Olympic Heights (36.00) is holding down third place.
"Anything is possible," Walker said. "We have more in the semis than they do."
Krutzky barely broke a sweat winning both of his matches with first-period pins. The senior toppled Nathan Callihan of Palmetto at the 2:43 mark and then quickly disposed of Christian Jurney of Riverdale at the 1:35 of the initial period.
"I felt pretty good about it. I wrestled hard and pinned my two kids," Krutzky said. "I let the matches come to me."
Destra defeated Casey Malloy of Heritage 8-3 and then edged Theo Curtopar of Palmetto Ridge 3-2 in another dramatic finish.
"We had to push the pace the whole time. We knew it was going to come down to the third period in a 1- or 2-point match and now he's moving on to the medal round," Walker said.
Lake Gibson qualified eight wrestlers for the state meet last week and still have five wrestlers active to score points in the team standings today with Caleb Smith (106) advancing into the third-round of wrestlebacks.
Smith defeated Anthony Zucco (Jesuit) 5-4 before dropping a 4-0 decision to Radley Gillis (Archbishop McCarthy). Smith rallied back, edging Colten Thomas (Cypress Lake) 3-2 in the second round of the wrestlebacks.
Three other Polk County wrestlers, Emilio Cruz (152) of Winter Haven, Brian Pennington (132) of Bartow and Nick Longstreet (285) of Lake Region moved through the first-two rounds unscathed and can claim an individual state championship or medal today.
Cruz earned his spot in the semifinals with a pair of close wins, edging Travon Norman of Homestead 5-4 in the first round then coming from back from a 3-0 third-period deficit in the second round to beat Stevenson Henry of Charlotte 5-3 in overtime.
"Down 3-0, we're not too worried about that," Winter Haven coach Shawn Moylan said. "We keep our conditioning top-notch. I know if we can take these guys into the third period and overtime, we'll be able to see that difference."
Pennington opened with a major decision 16-0 over Zach Hudson of Merritt Island, then defeated Matthew Tamayo of Gainesville 6-0 in the second round. Pennington led 1-0 heading into the third but picked up three points on a tilt maneuver to give him breathing room.
Longstreet advanced with a second-round 7-5 decision over Devon Brooks of Orange Park. In the first round, Longstreet pinned Aaron Dolphus of Eau Gallie.