Prep wrestling | Manatee County sends 20 to state meet in Lakeland

Large group from Manatee County invading The Lakeland Center

jlembo@bradenton.comFebruary 14, 2014 

Palmetto's Chase Washington, top, battles Venice's CJ Trammell during the 145-pound weight division final at the Class 2A-District 10 tournament at Braden River. Trammell won the match. TIMOTHY R. WOLFRUM/Bradenton Herald

BRADENTON -- It has been two years since a member of Manatee's wrestling team left The Lakeland Center with a state medal dangling around his neck.

For a program that boasted at least one state medalist for 14 consecutive years, two fruitless winters feels more like 20.

But according to Manatee coach Andy Gugliemini, the two-year cold spell is about to expire.

"We're going to snap that streak. We're going to destroy that streak," he said. "And we want to get multiple guys on that podium and put some more names on that board so we can have more stories to tell."

The top six finishers in each weight class receive a medal at the state tournament, which gets underway at 10 a.m. Friday and runs through Saturday.

Manatee has strength in numbers: After qualifying three wrestlers total in 2012 and '13, the Canes will have five representatives in the Class 3A tournament, including Region 2 champions Caleb Rudisill (113 pounds) and Dakoda Dossey (152).

Tyrek Hoyte (126), Alex Ginn (145) and Jesse Fulk (160) round out Manatee's contingent.

"More importantly, we want to do things right," Gugliemini said. "Yeah, you want to win. But we want to do things right. We've got a lot of kids that are buying in, and it's going to be a lot of fun."

Dossey is the group's only senior. He and Fulk, a junior, each have 56 wins, tied for most in Manatee single-season history with Brett Barber (2011-12 season).

Manatee County will have 20 representatives in Lakeland, including five Lakewood Ranch Mustangs, the most in program history, said coach Pat Ancil.

"What's exciting is we're working with a great group of kids that are not only good in the wrestling room, but are terrific in the classroom," Ancil said. "That's makes it very easy to teach the sport of wrestling because they pick up things quickly."

Ancil also credited Kraig Reed, the team's new assistant coach whose son, Hunter, a freshman, is a qualifier at 106 pounds in Class 2A.

"He's brought it to a different level," Ancil said of Coach Reed. "What's really fun is I'm going to be 63 and Kraig is in his late 30s, so I have my methods and he has his methods, but we end up finding a common ground. It's a good working relationship, and we always figure out what's best for the kids."

Dylan Cameron (120), Tim Dwyer (132), Jared Dipsiner (138) and Ty McLeod (170) also qualified for the Mustangs. McLeod, who suffered a knee injury early in the season and didn't return to action until January's county meet, is the group's lone senior.

"Obviously, we're thrilled and excited for this year," Ancil said. "But the future looks extremely bright."

Joining Lakewood Ranch in the Class 2A meet is Palmetto, which tied a program record by advancing four wrestlers out of last weekend's Region 3 tournament. Anthony Viscomi (126) and Robert McLachlan (195) are the first wrestlers in school history to make multiple trips to the state tournament.

Consequently, coach Bryan Wilkes likes Palmetto's chances of claiming its first state medal.

"It's state, so anything can happen," Wilkes said. "But we feel confident."

Palmetto's preparation has been a little different this year, as well, Wilkes said.

"We're working more on strategy," he said. "In the past, we just kind of wrestled and had fun. We're talking some strategy for the first time, looking at the brackets and saying 'OK, you have to beat this guy here and that guy there ...' just trying to blueprint a number of different scenarios to get someone on that podium."

Chase Washington (145) and James Banks (220) also qualified for the Tigers.

The only other local region champion to come out of Manatee County hails from Southeast: senior heavyweight Kane Takacs, who lost most of last wrestling season to an injury.

The Seminoles, who compete in Class 1A, also qualified Joey Fazio (132) and Rickly Almodovar (160).

Bayhore also has three guys in the Class 1A bracket: Anthony Slack (113), Nick Norton (160) and Petro Marin (182).

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