SPRING HILL, Fla. –The doors opened early Saturday morning, the bleachers unfolded and those seats filled up quickly with wrestlers and family members waiting to honor the fallen wrestler, the fifth annual Corey Hill Invite Wrestling Tournament with three mats rolled out, waiting for wrestling action.
Host Springstead High School, along with 18 other high schools which accepted the invite had a long day of some interesting matches.
Starting the day’s event Saturday morning Dec. 21, the top spot of the Invite, was shared by Weeki Wachee High School and North Port High School. They finished Friday’s competition with 59 points. Followed closely by Golden Gate High School, the Titans finished in third place with 58 points and Springstead High School in fourth place with 53.5 points.
After the semifinals were completed, and the final matches for the championship round were completed.
The wrestling action included the three mats, with no waiting for the wrestlers as there was plenty of action for getting into position for a third place medal.
Action between Weeki Wachee High School and Springstead High School was intense but Tampa Preparatory High School made a strong statement along with North Port High School, that they were not ready to go home. Golden Gate High School and Lemon Bay High School also wanted to have something to say about the distribution of the medals.
The surprise team of the tournament were the wrestlers from Saint Cloud High School, including the best female wrestler of the tournament Sophie Anderson. She was defeated in the medal round by River Ridge High School Austin Revell in the 106 pound division and finished in fourth place.
Anderson was quick laterally and she twice had Revell in trouble and he was close to getting pinned by Anderson, but he was able to escape by rolling out of bounds and getting a restart.
Revell won the match 13-8, he had plenty of respect for Anderson as he spoke to her and shook her hand at the end of the match. Anderson visibly upset at the result of the match but she did lift a lot of eyes of the other wrestling coaches. They all were in agreement that she will be making an appearance at the State championships.
The winner of the 106 pound division, Dominic Nardini from Springstead High School, defeated Keith Germain from Weeki Wachee High School 14-2, Nardini finished the Corey Hill Invite undefeated with a record of 12-0, but he did not win the Most Valuable Wrestler in the Lower Weight Class Division.
Nardini attacked quickly Germain shooting for right leg and taking him hard into the mat. He was able to to get a hook on the shoulder but Germain was able to get flat on the mat and avoid the pin by rolling out of bounds.
The score didn’t indicate just how close the match at the 170 pounds division was, but Springstead High School Dillon Housel was defeated by Lance Schyck of Lemon Bay High School by a 6-2, decision.
Housel solved the quickness that Schyck displayed in the first period and in the second period, Housel had Schyck scrambling to swim toward the boundary to get some help by getting out of bounds.
Schyck was able to get one more take down than Housel and that was just enough of a margin for victory. After the match, Schyck smiled toward his coach, looked down toward his shoes, shook his head back and forth and said to his coach- that was a tough match.
The match of the night happened to be the last pairing of the evening in the 285 pound weight class. The match between John Mangarillo from Weeki Wachee High School and Brandon Garcia from Saint Cloud High School.
Weeki Wachee High School needed the win for the team championship!
As the first period unfolded, the match included a lot of grabbing and positioning by both wrestlers as they both looked to gain an advantage but at the end of the period there was no score.
In the second period, Garcia scored two points on a take down of Mangarillo but with just four seconds left in the period, Mangarillo earned a point for an escape and he also seemed to have seized some of the momentum away from Garcia for the third period.
Mangarillo went to work in the third period and scored five points, he escaped from a predicament and then he took down Garcia and then crowd got loud with the excitement of the match, as the team championship for Weeki Wachee High School was in the firm grip of Mangarillo.
The horn was barely loud enough to hear, the red lights burning bright with the score of the match said it all for the Hornets, a 6-2 decision for Mangarillo. He lifted his arms into the air bringing smiles from his teammates, tears from his coach’s eyes freely fell and then a swarm of Hornets wrestling fans rushed toward Mangarillo and congratulated him for his victory.
With the trophies handed out, there was some time for taking one more team picture of the champions of the Corey Hill Memorial Invite Wrestling Tournament: Weeki Wachee High School and in the middle of the celebration the 285 pound hero of the night Mangarillo.
That made the whole day and the Corey Hill Invite Wrestling Tournament-a success!