Krutzky Claims 145-Pound Crown; Braves Take Second Again
Sun. February 17, 2013 at 4:30 a.m. | By Bill Kemp
Lake Gibson's Chase Krutzky ends the Class 2A 145-pound title match by pinning Palm Beach's Steven Vonniederhauser. (Photo by ERNST PETERS | THE LEDGER)
By BILL KEMP | LEDGER MEDIA GROUP
LAKELAND | For Lake Gibson wrestling it was definitely a night of mixed emotions.
The Braves' Chase Krutzky won the Class 2A 145-pound state championship with a second-round pin against Steven Vonniederhauser of Palm Bay, but Lake Gibson lost the team championship by 3 1/2 points to Springstead.
There were 59 seconds remaining in the period when Krutzky got the pin signal from the referee Saturday at the Lakeland Center.
"I feel awesome," said Krutzky, who started wrestling when he was 10 years old. "It's the greatest thing in the world. I've been dreaming of this my whole life."
"I got beat up the first few years I wrestled so I don't think I loved (the sport) at first, but I stayed in it."
This is the third time Krutzky has won a state medal, taking sixth place during his freshman and junior years. But the Braves' senior found a sense of urgency this season.
"I told myself (it's now or never) a 100 times," he said. "I trained harder and ran whenever I could. I just stayed dedicated. Every night when I went to bed I thought about it. I would just run it through my head."
Lake Gibson (94.50) finished second in the state for the third-consecutive year, getting edged out by Springstead (98.00). Olympic Heights (93.00) finished third despite leading in the team standings heading into the championship round.
"We battled that's all I can ask from the kids, we came up short and it hurts really bad right now," Lake Gibson head coach Danny Walker said. "But that's what a Lake Gibson tradition is to pick yourself up after a defeat.
"What hurts the worst is being so close and not being able to get it. I wouldn't trade any of it for anything."
Walker, in his 12th season with Lake Gibson, was forced to grapple with mixed emotions after sending Krutzky out as a state champion and seeing his team finish second.
"He's awesome," Walker said of Krutzky. "If I told him to go wrestle those 220-pounders right now, he'd jump up and put his head gear on. He's just a great kid.
"He's battled tough circumstances his whole wrestling career and to see him come out here is just a very emotional moment. I'm very close to Chase and his family and it just feels so good."
The Braves produced five medal winners on the evening including: Dorian Spradlin (170) second; Caleb Smith (106) third; Alex Destra (152) fifth and Jason Foster (195) fifth.
"People can say we are always the bridesmaid and never the bride," Walker said. "I was just sitting out there thinking (during the finals) we came so close let this be the time. But it wasn't meant to be and everything happens for reason and in a few weeks we will start battling again."
Auburndale senior Antonio Thomas finished third in Class 2A heavyweight division, winning an ultimate tie-breaker sudden-death decision over Malcolm Kirce of Ridgeview with a 1-point escape by breaking free from Kirce's hands to end a marathon match that lasted seven periods.
"My goal was to win the state championship, but I don't care now," Thomas said. "I got a concussion last year at district so I didn't get a chance to make a run. I'm happy getting third."
Thomas picked up a bloody lip in an earlier match but kept his focus to pick up the third-place medal.
"I don't even care," Thomas said. "I got thrown in a headlock by some sorry dude that's not even here now. But my coach said there's a way we could get third and I believed and I came through."
Thomas finished the season with a 51-3 record after opening the season with a 35-match winning streak. He dropped his opening match of the state tournament before rumbling the rest of the way through the wrestlebacks.
"After I lost my first match something changed," Thomas said. "That belief came on that no one else could be beat me now."
Thomas defeated Lake Region's Nick Longstreet 10-5 to reach the consolation finals.
"We know Nick very well. We were very confident that we could snap him down and take the match," Auburndale head coach Vince Parker said.
Longstreet eventually pinned Tomelle One of Bayside to finish fifth in the state.
Winter Haven's Emilio Cruz took fourth place in the Class 2A 152-pound division after winning an impressive 17-9 major decision over Forrest Land of Mosley in the consolation semifinals.
However, Cruz was edged out of third place after a dropping a 9-6 match to Stevenson Henry of Charlotte.
"He performed much better than expected," Winter Haven head coach Shaun Moylan said. "He's also Winter Haven's first regional champion since 1999."
Clayton Farrer of Frostproof finished sixth in Class 1A, 160-pound division, and became the first state medalist in the Bulldogs' seven-year history.
Farrer defeated Jeiko Da Silviera 12-10 in the third-round of wrestlebacks to secure the honor.
"It's just really exciting for our program," seven-year Frostproof coach Brian Schmitt said. "Clayton is the first state-placer for our program. He just did a great job."
Lake Wales' John Kimbrough finished fourth in the Class 1A, 126-pound division.
"He wrestled a good tournament. His last match he took to overtime it's just unfortunate that he didn't win," Lake Wales head coach Jonathan Richards said.
Bartow senior Brian Pennington (38-3) finished fourth in Class 2A in the 132-pound division.
"He's a great leader for the most part, but the kid got the better of him," Bartow head coach Vince Tolley said, after Pennington dropped the third-place match to Nicholas Anthony of Cape Coral.
Lakeland's Chad Kirkman was eliminated in the third round of wrestlebacks in the 160-pound division when he dropped a 4-2 decision to Nathaneil Delevoe of South Broward.