LAKELAND -- Like the rest of field at the state wrestling tournament, Southeast’s Larry Cannon came to The Lakeland Center to win a championship.
When it became clear that wasn’t going to happen, the last thing he wanted to do wade through the consolation round.
Then he thought about all of his relatives visiting from Maryland and about the possibility of ending his season on a high note. So after dropping his Class 1A semifinal Saturday morning, Cannon won his final two bouts of the season and wound up taking third place at 138 pounds.
It wasn’t the result he wanted. But it was a nice consolation prize.
“It’s hard to take third. It really is,” Cannon said after he scored an 11-6 decision over Fort Myers Dunbar’s Shaquon Young in the consolation finals. “You’re mentally broken and you’re physically tired, but I did it. And there’s always next year.”
Cannon was the lone area wrestler to place Saturday. Manatee’s Brett Barber (Class 3A, 145), Lakewood Ranch’s Blake Riley-Hawkins (Class 2A, 132) and Southeast’s Nick Kemick (Class 1A, 126) all fell a win shy of reaching the medal round.
Cannon (42-3) fell in the championship semifinals to Jupiter Christian’s David Kestner 15-7, preventing Cannon from wrestling for a state title.
“I know I had a chance with that kid. I went out there being a little defensive, thought I’d feel him out,” Cannon said. “By doing that, he was the offensive wrestler.”
Cannon trailed the whole match but nearly scored a pin early in the third period before Kestner rolled out and scored a late takedown to clinch the win.
“It took me until the third period for me to realize that I could take him down and ride him,” Cannon said. “I had him on his back.”
Cannon rebounded by pinning Bradford’s Jarraid Forsyth in 4 minutes, 17 seconds, in the consolation semifinals before erasing a 4-0 deficit to beat Young. Cannon defeated Young in the district and region finals, and the two shared a hug following Saturday afternoon’s match.
“Really nice guy,” Cannon said of Young. “Definitely a great wrestler and he beat some great kids. I’ve got to give him props -- he did good.”
Cannon did, too, although he wants to do better next year.
“I can say next year I will be a state champion,” he said. “I’m going to work my absolute hardest, harder than I did this last summer. ... Just keep working.”
Cannon’s season isn’t entirely over. He’ll compete today in the first Florida All-Class Wrestling Championships. The event, which is not affiliated with the Florida High School Athletic Association, pits the top three finishers in each class in Class 1A, 2A and 3A in the same tournament.
“What I really want to do is wrestler other kids who are placing,” Cannon said, “and wrestling well.”
@z-BR Agatehed:State tournament results
@z-BR Agate Bold Centered:At The Lakeland Center
138--Larry Cannon (Southeast) dec. Shaquon Young (Fort Myers Dunbar), 11-6.
@z-BR Agate Bold Centered:Consolation semifinals
138--Larry Cannon (Southeast) pinned Jarraid Forsyth (Bradford), 4:17.
@z-BR Agate Bold Centered:Semifinals
126--David Kestner (Jupiter Christian) maj. dec. Larry Cannon (Southeast), 15-7.
@z-BR Agate Bold Centered:CLASS 3A
Third round consolation
145 pounds--Sean Dulom (Sarasota) dec. Brett Barber (Manatee), 5-3.
@z-BR Agate Bold Centered:CLASS 2A
132--Christian Dominguez (Tampa Jesuit) pinned Blake Riley-Hawkins (Lakewood Ranch), 3:42.
@z-BR Agate Bold Centered:CLASS 1A
126--Danny Garcia (Miami Monsignor Pace) dec. Nick Kemick (Southeast), 10-3.