Prep wrestling | Manatee Hurricanes win first Coach Kelly title since 2010

jlembo@bradenton.comJanuary 12, 2014 

BRADENTON -- The last time Manatee won its own dual-meet tournament, guys like Caleb Rudisill and Jesse Fulk were years away from cracking the Hurricanes' starting lineup.

On Saturday, however, they were two big reasons why head coach Andy Gugliemini now has to find room for the engraved wooden plaque given to the tournament's champion.

The Hurricanes defeated Harmony 48-24 in the final match of the championship Skelton Pool to finish the Coach Kelly Memorial Hurricane Team Challenge with a record of 9-0 and win it for the first time since 2010.

"We've had some down years, according to some people. Some teams would love to have our down years," Gugliemini said. "But it's nice to finish the way we did. (Friday) we obviously ran through everybody and we kept it going (Saturday)."

The Hurricanes defeated Jupiter (57-10), Dunedin (49-20), Lakeland (64-9) and runner-up Kissimmee Gateway (54-22) before knocking off Harmony.

Gateway went 4-1 on Saturday to take second. Harmony finished third.

Rudisill (113 pounds and 120) and Fulk (160 and 170) each went 9-0 and were named the tournament's most outstanding lightweight and heavyweight wrestler, respectively.

This has been a breakthrough year for Rudisill, a sophomore ranked No. 1 in the state at 113 pounds in Class 3A by scout.com. He recorded nine pins during the Hurricane Challenge, all during the first period.

"He's grown up a little bit; still not working as hard as he could, and we talk about it all the time," Gugliemini said. "He's still trying to figure out how to work harder and what he's doing ... he's wrestling great, he's doing everything we need. He just needs to turn it up here if he wants to get on that podium or finish first (at the state tournament)."

Rudisill agreed.

"Oh, yes, for sure," he said. "I have miles and miles to improve."

Fulk, a junior ranked second in Class 3A at 160, defeated four state-ranked wrestlers this weekend.

"Now, he's the one that's going out and getting the tough guy," Gugliemini said. "Every time we had a tougher match (this weekend), we put Jesse against the tough guy, and he produced. Every match was a major (decision, decided by eight points or more) or greater, and he never once tried to get the easy way out. He always wanted the tougher match, and that mindset alone is going to get you far."

Tim Dinsdale (132), Alex Ginn (145), and Dakoda Dossey (170) all went 9-0 for Manatee, which is now 30-6 and coupled with last weekend's first-place finish at Lakeland Kathleen, has won back-to-back tournament titles.

Tyrek Hoyte (126) and Emilio Gonzalez (220) each went 8-1.

"It's a big deal," Rudisill said of winning the event. "We didn't win it last year, we hadn't won it in a few years. Our goal since I've been on the team is to win it, and now we finally did it, and it feels good.

"This is the toughest team we've had in a while. ... Everyone's working hard and putting in the work. Everyone's down to their state weights, we're doing good, and everyone's wrestling tough."

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