Noles, Mustangs host duals this weekend

Local wrestlers come homejlembo@bradenton.comJanuary 3, 2014 

Brothers Kane and Gage Takacs practice drills during their wrestling practice at the Southeast gymnasium Wednesday afternoon. The two also compete in the school's weighlifting program. TIFFANY TOMPKINS-CONDIE/Bradenton Herald

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BRADENTON -- Lakewood Ranch's wrestling team has spent the last three weekends on tour.

First came a trip to Naples for a tournament at Palmetto Ridge, which was followed by another trip south to Fort Myers.

Last week's trek wasn't too bad - a quick jump over the Sunshine Skyway to compete at a tournament at Largo Pinellas Park.

Saturday, however, the Mustangs will happy to be home when they host their Fourth Annual Kiwanis Classic Mustang Duals at The Ranch.

A few miles away, Southeast will be sharing a similar sentiment Friday when the school's two-day CF Athletic Southeast Duals begins.

The two local tournaments are triggering a month-long trend - Manatee and Palmetto host dual meets next weekend and the county championships are scheduled for Thursday, Jan. 23, at Braden River.

"When you host a tournament, a lot of work goes into it, work for the coaches, parents and athletic directors that the wrestlers have no idea about," said Southeast coach Daniel Bradshaw. "But it's nice the way this one sets up because it comes at the end of the two-week break, it sets up good for the postseason, and for our seniors, it's the last time wrestling in our big gym."

The Southeast Duals features 15 teams that includes a mix of locals (Bayshore and Palmetto join the host Seminoles) as well as a strong out-of-area contingent led Brandon, a tradition-rich powerhouse and Florida's all-time wrestling leader in state (24) and individual (101) championships.

Ranked No.1 in the state in Class 2A by Scout.com, the Eagles won 459 consecutive duals from 1973 to 2008.

At Southeast, teams will be split into three pools of five. Wrestling gets under 10:30 a.m. Friday and Saturday, with the finals tentatively scheduled to begin 2 p.m. Saturday.

"It definitely raises the profile of the tournament," Bradshaw said of Brandon's inclusion. "From a national perspective, there are people who want to know, 'Who did Brandon wrestle?, "Hopefully, they want to come back and the field of teams keeps getting stronger."

Tampa Jesuit (fourth) and Venice (18th) are also ranked in Class 2A by Scout, which ranks the Seminoles No. 9 in Class 1A. Dunedin (11th) and Englewood Lemon Bay (24th) are also top-25 1A teams, while Lakeland George Jenkins is ranked 24th in Class 3A, according to Scout.

Eight teams will be competing over in Lakewood Ranch, including the host Mustangs and their archrival, Braden River.

Two pools of four begin wrestling 9:15 Saturday. Pool play will last three rounds, and Lakewood Ranch coach Pat Ancil said he expects the tournament to wrap no later than 5 p.m.

"We went back-to-back-to-back wrestling two-day tournaments the last three weeks," said Ancil, whose Mustangs defeated Sarasota at home in a dual Dec. 17. "That takes its toll. It's great mat time and experience for the kids, but being home is always fun."

Tampa Prep (seventh), Rockledge and Cape Coral Mariner (tied for 21st) are ranked in Class 1A by Scout.com. Mitchell, Gulf Port Boca Ciega and South Fort Myers round out the tournament field.

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