Lakewood Ranch and Manatee were separated by just one point heading into the finals of the Class 3A State Wrestling Championships Saturday at Silver Spurs Arena with the Mustangs holding a slim 26-25 edge over the Hurricanes.
That lead disappeared when Brandon Dossey defeated Miami South Dade’s Corey Harvey in the 182-pound final. While neither team cracked the top 10, Manatee totaled 31 points and Lakewood Ranch had 26.
Both teams had a finalist with Lakewood Ranch’s Chase Sharp coming up short in the 195 final.
Asked if it meant anything to finish ahead of Lakewood Ranch, Manatee coach Andrew Gugliemini responded with a grin, “Sure, but we’ve got a state champion.”
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Dossey, a junior, got the matchup he wanted and pinned Harvey in three minutes, 37 seconds. Harvey eliminated Dossey in last year’s state tourney, preventing the Manatee wrestler from cracking the top six by dislocating his shoulder in the early rounds.
“It was scary at first; I thought (Harvey) almost had me,” said Dossey, a three-time state qualifier who improved to 62-1 this season. “I pushed through. It was amazing.”
Admittedly, Dossey eagerly anticipated a finals matchup against Harvey. So too did Gugliemini.
“Redemption,” said Dossey, who also won district and county titles this season. “That was my revenge. I wanted to see him in the finals.”
Added Gugliemini, “We really didn’t say much because we knew that was the guy he wrestled when he got hurt. It was a little redemption, but it wasn’t about last year. It was about this year and winning a state title.”
As for Sharp, a senior, he lost 6-2 to Clearwater Countryside’s Anthony Burburija. Sharp ended his final season with a stellar 51-4 record.
Manatee County actually congratulated two state champions Saturday with Braden River’s Brendan Bengtsson claiming the heavyweight crown in Class 2A. The senior and two-time state qualifier improved to 48-4 with an 8-0 major decision against Harmony’s Carter Harris.
“It’s supporting my school and representing it as best as I can,” said Bengtsson, a state runner-up last season. “It’s phenomenal. It’s one of the best things. Obviously, it can only happen once.”