Palm Beach Gardens wins county wrestling championships
Saturday, January 17, 2009
by Joseph Kairalla
The story of Saturday's Palm Beach County wrestling championships was that Jupiter won the heavyweight battle, but Palm Beach Gardens won the war.
The Gators placed seven wrestlers in the finals, with three of them victorious, on their way to winning the team title with 210.5 points. Olympic Heights was second with 178.5 points and Jupiter third at 172.5.
Palm Beach Gardens coach William George used a different strategy than he has used this season by bringing 11 wrestlers to the tournament, when he usually brings around seven. George also switched wrestlers into different weight classes than they normally wrestle to get better matchups, which led to better results.
"The reason we won is because all of the fringe guys did their jobs and got us points," George said. "This past week, we changed a lot of diets to give us the advantage in certain divisions.
"This was a county championship we didn't want to see get away."
The three Gators to win titles were Darius Fleurimond at 140 pounds, Jean Augustin at 171 and 189-pounder Jeremiah Brady, who suffered a bloody nose that led to two stoppages in his championship match.
One match that did get away from Palm Beach Gardens was at heavyweight, where John Lopez - who entered the match the heavy favorite at 22-0 - was stunned by Jupiter's Karl Stanborough, who pinned Lopez in just 31 seconds.
"You couldn't have paid me enough money to believe what just happened," Jupiter coach Doug Rasmusson said after the match. "I figured it would have gone the other way, but Karl did a great job and we're all proud of him."
Ricky Arco led Park Vista to a fifth-place finish by defeating Roman Manuel of Seminole Ridge 9-5 to win his second county championship at 103 pounds.
Josh Smith of Jupiter won at 112 by pinning Richard Smith of Park Vista in 1:12.
"No one in the county can hang with Josh at 112," Rasmusson said.
Smith and Stanborough were joined by teammates Bobby Radli, who won at 125, and Hans Rasmusson, who won at 130, in the winner's circle. The Warriors' four individual champions were the most of any team in the tournament.
"Palm Beach Gardens used the right strategy to win," Doug Rasmusson said. "I won't concede that they're the best team, but they did the best job in this tournament."
Kyle Salone gave Palm Beach Central its only individual title at 119 pounds by pinning Dwyer's Brandon Smith in 54 seconds.
Olympic Heights had two champions in 135-pounder Matt Wagy and Josh Ott at 160 pounds.
Jupiter Christian also had two individual winners in Byron Dames, who won at 189 pounds, and Tucker Raich, who won his third county championship at 145 pounds.
"I started out kind of sloppy but kept getting better as the day went on," Raich said. "This is a big accomplishment, but now I can focus all of my attention on state, where I think I can win, too."
Zach Pincus gave Wellington its lone individual champion by winning at 152.
Dwyer finished fourth in the team standings with 162.5 points; host Seminole Ridge finished sixth and Palm Beach Central, Jupiter Christian, Wellington and Boca Raton rounded out the top 10.