By MATMEN, Sunday, 6:35 p.m. UPDATED MONDAY 6:10 p.m.
LAKELAND — Titles vs depth.
Florida High showed it very nearly had more than enough depth to go toe-to-toe with 1A southwest power Lemon Bay Saturday at McKeel Academy’s Massung Scramble.
The Seminoles had no champions and just two second-place finishers, but had seven additional wrestlers place third or fourth en route to a 391-point afternoon. But the Manta Rays had five champions and an additional three runners-up, and that was enough for Lemon Bay to outpoint Florida High, 404-391, for the team title.
Two additional area teams were in the field, as Seminole was 10th in the 18-team field, with 131 points, while Windermere was 13th with 97.5.
Host McKeel (373 points) and Hernando (334) were third and fourth, respectively, while East Bay & Lake Region tied for fifth with 318.
Sterling Hollinsworth (126), Troy Carroll (132) and Xander Hawkes all were second in their respective weight classes on Saturday.
Hollinsworth won Pool C at 126, with a pin, major and decision to qualify for the championship crossover flight. There, after edging teammate Hunter Stanley and Pool B champ, 6-5, in the semis, Hollinsworth ran into 1A’s third-ranked Brycen Warren of Lemon Bay, who took a 9-0 major.
In the 132 group, the result wound up being an all-area final, with Windermere’s Lucas Drone taking two pins for a Pool A first-place spot, while Carroll won Pool C with three pins in 1:49 of mat time. Both wrestlers then had bonus-point wins in the championship crossover semis, with Drone taking a 20-8 major over Lake Region and Carroll winning by fall over Hernando. In the final, though, it was Drone who would win by pin, with a fall in 3:45.
At 182, Hawkes (1A-5th) won Pool B with three falls in 62 seconds to get to the championship crossover round; there, he won his first match by tech fall over the hosts’ Ben Lietz (1A-7th), 17-2 in 5:43, to get to the championship match against Lemon Bay’s Chase Alden (1A-3rd). There, it was Alden who set the offensive pace, exploding for 11 points in the second period behind three 3-point turns before taking the fall over Hawkes in 4:52.
Drone was the only Windermere wrestler to place in the top four; no Seminole wrestlers would reach the top four, but Florida High would take thirds by DJ Richardson (113), Reis Suskey (120), Nicholas Roeder (152), Dean Wright (160), Jordan Haigler (170) and Collin Bishop (220), with Stanley finishing fourth at 126.
Complete results for the tournament can be found HERE.