BRADENTON -- Palmetto's wrestling team left the Southeast Duals on Saturday with a trophy and a half dozen medals.
But according to coach Bryan Wilkes, the two losses his team suffered during the two-day tournament will benefit his Tigers when the postseason begins in less than a month.
Palmetto went 7-2 to finish third in the 10-team meet, with the Tigers' defeats coming to champion Tampa Jesuit (53-12) and runner-up Venice (36-27).
"We were glad to see Venice and Jesuit. They're going to make our team better," Wilkes said. "We have to thank them for making us better. ... They are two state-caliber teams. No one
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can dispute that."
The Tigers didn't have any individual champions, but Anthony Viscomi (126 pounds), Chase Washington (132), Nathan Callihan (145), Tyler Williford (152), Daniel Hauser (182) and Robert McLachlan (195) were runners-up in their weight class and made the all-tournament second team.
"As a team, we molded," Wilkes said. "Everyone stepped up when someone else failed. ... We get to see a lot more mistakes with nine matches than you do with one or three or five."
Palmetto's record is 20-3, putting the team well within reach of the program's single-season wins record (25). The Tigers return to Southeast on Thursday for a bout before hosting the Tiger Duals on Saturday.
The host Seminoles went 4-5 to finish fifth and are 8-13 overall.
"We're doing kind of as expected right now," Southeast coach Daniel Bradshaw said. "We've got a couple that are doing well, and then we've got a couple of new guys that are struggling but getting good experience."
Ricky Almodovar (160), who sat out Palmetto's holiday tournament last month with an injury, won seven matches to make the second team.
Michael Quintero (heavyweight) and Logan Beagle (152) didn't make the first or second team, but went 7-2 for the Noles.
"We wrestled some really tough competition, some (Class) 2A teams here," said Bradshaw, whose Seminoles are in Class 1A. "Hopefully, that will prepare us and we'll be battle tested come district time."
Led by four individual champions, Jesuit went 9-0. Venice, which lost to Tampa Jesuit on Friday, was 8-1 and crowned three champs.