LAKEWOOD RANCH -- Dylan Cameron knew he needed a flawless performance Saturday to reach the pinnacle of Lakewood Ranch wrestling at the Mustang Duals.
He entered the dual-meet tournament four wins away from tying Evan Dipsiner's career record of 159. With a 5-0 performance at Lakewood Ranch High School, Cameron could take his place as the most prolific wrestler in Ranch history with 160 victories.
His day started with a 10-point win and it was his worst effort of the tournament. Three of his next four wins came by pin. The other was by forfeit. Even after the Mustangs' 54-22 loss to Tampa Jesuit in the championship match, Cameron's pin let Ranch celebrate second place and an historic individual accomplishment.
"That's always been one of the goals starting off, just to get my name on the wall in as many places as I can," Cameron said. "That was one that I knew that I would be able to do."
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Cameron, who has wrestled exclusively at 132 pounds this season, improved his individual record to 35-3. The Mustangs claimed second place at their tournament with lopsided wins against Sarasota Booker, Fort Myers Evangelical Christian and Braden River in pool play and a 55-21 victory against Sebring in the semifinals.
The Pirates, Manatee County's only other representative at the Mustang Duals, finished last after an 0-5 performance. The Blue Streaks finished third after their semifinal loss to Ranch, and Booker, Evangelical Christian, Gulfport Boca Ciega and Rockledge finished tied for fourth at 2-3.
Part of Cameron's quest for individual glory Saturday was destined to go through Jesuit. The host was pitted in the opposite pool as the Tigers with a likely chance to meet the Class 2A power in the tournament final. Cameron missed his first chance at a serious challenge Saturday when Braden River's Chance Sharbono bumped up to 138 pounds for the meet, so Cameron's finale against Jesuit became his most anticipated match of the day.
"It's a lot of energy going into that match," Cameron said. "I just went out and wrestled my match."
Quickly, he pinned his opponent to give Lakewood Ranch its second pin of the meet. He and senior Luis Tremblay-Vidal, who pinned his opponent at 170 pounds, scored 12 of Ranch's 22 points during championship meet.
Six more points came from 120-pounder Hunter Reed, who had his fourth opponent of the day forfeit during the championship round. Reed, a junior who could set the wins record next year, went 5-0.
"We would've loved to have beaten Jesuit; they're a very solid team," Mustangs head coach Pat Ancil said. "But we held our own I thought."
And with the gymnasium crowded but thinning, Cameron made history at home. Each of his past two seasons ended with fourth-place finishes at the 2A state meet. With Ranch in its first season in Class 3A, Cameron will not have to contend with traditional forces such as the Tigers or Brandon.
The 2015-16 season has brought different challenges to Lakewood Ranch and after Saturday it also brought history.
"Freshman year I didn't get out of districts, so I went from not getting out of districts to placing the next two years," Cameron said. "I did pretty good."