BRADENTON -- Caleb Rudisill spent the latter half of the week battling a fever that soared beyond the 100-degree plateau.
He spent Friday and Saturday, however, looking like one of the healthiest wrestlers competing at Manatee's Coach Kelly Memorial Hurricane Team Challenge.
A 106-pound freshman, Rudisill didn't lose a match during the two-day, 13-team tournament to help lead the hosts to a second-place finish.
"I'm still a little sick," said Rudisill, who missed school Wednesday and Thursday while battling the flu. "It's hard wrestling sick. It wears on you mentally because you're all tired and stuff, and your conditioning's not that good."
Rudisill went 8-0, running his record to 25-6, and is 13-0 during Manatee's past two tournaments.
"He's been wrestling for a long time," coach Andy Gugliemini said of Rudisill, who joined the Manatee Kids Wrestling Club when he was 6 and spends his summers at the Jeff Jordan's State Champ Camp in Ohio. "He's worked hard. He's a little undersized, but he's getting there. ... He's one of the next in line to be one of our great ones."
Putting on a Manatee singlet has long been a dream of Rudisill's since he began working with the Kids Club, which has churned out a litany of Hurricanes greats.
"It's been very fun. I've enjoyed it a lot," Rudisill said of his first year of varsity wrestling. "I'm trying more to enjoy it, and I'm doing a pretty good job of just en
"I wasn't really expecting to be super close with all of my teammates, but it's like one big family. And that's probably the major thing."
The Canes (20-6) clinched second place by beating Jupiter 37-36 in their final match of the day. The bout ended in a tie, but Manatee was awarded the win via a tiebreaker based on most matches won during the tournament.
Manatee went 7-1 over the two days, losing only to champion Gateway (34-30). The Canes also scored a close win (36-33) over fourth-place Ruskin Lennard, leaving Gugliemini happy not just with the result, but how his team handled the quality of its opponents.
"We beat quality teams, close matches," Gugliemini said. "We finished third last year, so that's a step in the right direction."
Jesse Fulk, whose major decision won the Jupiter match, went 7-1 while competing at 152 and 160 pounds and is 31-4 on the year.
Dakoda Dossey (160 and 170) went 7-1, as did Timmy Dinsdale (113) and Eric Gutierrez (220). Dossey is 29-7, while Dinsdale improved to 26-7 and Gutierrez to 27-9.
"It's very satisfying," Gugliemini said. "We have some holes in our lineup, but we only have two seniors."
Manatee wrestles at Venice on Wednesday in a dual before heading to Brandon for next weekend's 29th Tony Ippolito Memorial Tournament.
"We liked the way it ended. It added a little excitement," Gugliemini said, referring to Saturday. "Glad we had our home crowd here rooting us on, because that definitely helped."