One of the oldest sports in the Olympics, wrestling, is a winter sport at the high school level in Florida.
But the Sunshine State doesn’t possess a litany of college programs.
Manatee High alum Tim Dinsdale, though, is part of the first scholarship-based college wrestling program in the state.
And this season, the Hometown Hero is excelling on the mat for Southeastern University in Lakeland.
Dinsdale, a sophomore, is ranked No. 5 in the 165-pound weight class, the highest individual ranking for any Southeastern wrestler in the latest NAIA wrestling poll.
The Fire are No. 20 in the latest NAIA Wrestling Coaches’ Top 20 Poll. Dinsdale collected his seventh victory, and third via pin, of the season last Saturday. Dinsdale pinned Allen (S.C.) wrestler Josh Allen just 49 seconds into their match.
Manatee High alum Caleb Rudisill is also a Southeastern wrestler, and he won via pin in the 141-pound weight class.
Meanwhile, two former Lakewood Ranch High soccer stars picked up several honors for their collegiate performances this past season.
Alex Latham was named to the All-Southland Conference first team after earning the conference’s goalkeeper of the week four times for Northwestern State University in Louisiana. She led the league with seven clean sheets, while notching 115 saves in 18 regular season starts.
Latham also excelled in the classroom with a 3.89 grade point average to snag a spot on the Southland Conference All-Academic first team.
Former Mustangs teammate Juliana Guida, who plays soccer at Florida Southern in Lakeland, picked up academic honors, too. She was named to the College of Sports Information Directors of America Academic All-District team following a 4.00 GPA. Latham also was awarded a spot on the CoSIDA Academic All-District team.
Those four aren’t the only Hometown Heroes this week. Here’s a look at the rest:
Ferris State: Four Manatee High alums saw their college football season end in the national semifinals of the Division II playoffs. Jajuan Pollock, Marquel Hines, Willie Smith and Marquis Dawsey wrapped up the 2016 season with a 35-20 loss to Northwest Missouri State.
Pollock caught one pass for 26 yards and returned two punts, while Hines tallied three receptions for 25 yards. Smith finished with five tackles, while Dawsey added two quarterback hurries for the Bulldogs’ defense.
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie: The Lakewood Ranch High alum got overshadowed slightly by Janoris Jenkins’ performance for the New York Giants secondary Sunday night in a 10-7 victory over the Dallas Cowboys in front of a nationally televised audience.
However, Rodgers-Cromartie was involved in some timely plays, too. He broke up a pass and helped New York thwart the Cowboys for a second time this season. Both of Dallas’ defeats have come at the hands of the G-Men.
DRC saw his role diminish in the defense lately as a backup in the secondary, but he’s continued excelling for New York. On Sunday, he racked up five tackles and broke up two passes.
Brian Poole: A Southeast High and University of Florida alum, Poole tallied three tackles for Atlanta’s defense in the Falcons’ 42-14 blowout of the Los Angeles Rams.