Gainesville wrestling repeats as district champs

Published: Friday, February 1, 2013 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, February 2, 2013 at 7:07 p.m.

After wading through a challenging regular season, the Gainesville High School wrestling team had no problem staying upright in the District 4-2A tournament Saturday at Eastside.

The Hurricanes repeated as district champions by winning a meet-high eight individual championships and advancing all 11 of their wrestlers involved in the competition to regionals next week.

Though Gainesville also won eight titles last year, Hurricanes coach Ryland Wagner was hesitant to presume his team would duplicate its efforts from a season ago.

“This year, coming in was a little more unexpected,” Wagner said. “Last year, we had a really strong squad that had done very well throughout the year. This year, our schedule was a lot harder, so it was a little bit unknown how we were going to do today.”

Gainesville led the seven-team district tournament with a final score of 198 after capturing more than half of the 14 weight classes. District runner-up Belleview finished with a 138 team score and one individual title to edge Eastside, which settled for third place on 130 points.

The Hurricanes got off to a quick start in the finals when 106-pound Trae-von O'Neal secured a first-period pin against Lake Weir's Sam Agudelo.

“He's come a long way,” Wagner said. “At the beginning of the year, he was up at 113 and he made a decision to move down to 106. He's done really well since then and to come away with a district title and city title this season is a good accomplishment for him.”

Gainesville also saw Jon Gardner (120), Matthew Tamayo (132), Marcellus Boyd (138), Thomas Herlevich (145), Brandon Devins (152), Wade Jones (170) and Vladyslav Dubinin (182) capture first-place finishes.

The third-place Rams, meanwhile, won a pair of individual titles behind Jessie Houston (160) and Michael Linton (220).

Herlevich, who earned his 156th career win with a 17-2 technical fall against Belleview's Josanty Vega, credited lessons learned from his team's tough early meets for the Hurricanes' 8-1 mark in the finals.

“All of our team wrestled the way we know we can, and it's been an issue all year,” Herlevich said. “We just need to wrestle to our ability, not our matches. It was good to see the team come out and do that. Because if we wrestle like that at regionals, we could get a regional title, too.”

Next week, Gainesville will travel to Palm Coast Matanzas for the two-day Class 2A, Region 1 tournament with preliminaries beginning Friday at noon.

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