The Charlotte Tarpons wrestling squad put in a powerful performance at the district duals meet at Venice High on Thursday evening with a clean sweep over Venice, Braden River and Palmetto.
Though the Indians also struggled against the powerful Tarpons lineup, they finished in second place by defeating Palmetto and Braden River.
Charlotte’s dominating performance began with a 72-6 win over Palmetto. The Tarpons then went on to throttle Braden River, 78-6, before ending the night with a 69-9 win over Venice. Meanwhile, the Indians upended the Pirates of Braden River, 46-24, and turned back Palmetto, 48-33.
“So now we go on to the next level and try to fix a few holes we noticed out there tonight, but it was a very solid performance,” said Tarpons coach Evan Robinson. “I saw a few technique things with a few of the guys, but nothing big. We’re ready to move on from here.”
The next step for both Charlotte and Venice is the regional duals at Charlotte next Thursday.
Up and down its lineup, Charlotte showed few weaknesses. Among the stronger performances came from Jose Valdez at 220 pounds. He finished as a runner-up at the state meet last season. The senior is now on a mission to finish his high school career as a state champion.
He won all three of his matches including two pins and a forfeit.
“This is my last year. I’m not going to wrestle in college, so I’m determined to leave it all on the mat this year,” said Valdez. “I wanted to go out today and dominate. I wanted to leave no doubt that I’m the best in the state. But, I still have some work left to do.”
Perhaps the strongest performance from Venice came from freshman Jack Stone. Stone was also 3-0 on the evening, which included a forfeit and two first-period pins. Stone was only on the mat a total of 1:42 – not even the length of a single period. He is now 20-3 on the season.
“I heard the Charlotte kid was really good, so beating him really gives me a shot of confidence,” Stone said.
Stone has recently dropped down a weight class, which should make him even more dangerous. While most of his wins this season have come at 120, he now grapples at 113.
Gage Tippman also went undefeated for Venice with two pins and a 4-2 win over Preston Powell of Charlotte.
“I actually had a couple of young kids in the lineup with a couple of my varsity kids out for various reasons,” said Indians coach Pat Ryan. “I threw them in there and they did very well. Top to bottom, our fight was there and I was very pleased.”
One of the young kids to step up was junior Will Kraut at 132 pounds. When he pinned his Braden River opponent at 5:40, a huge eruption of cheers rose up from the Indians’ team bench.
“Yeah, that was an exciting match. He really stepped up for us,” said Ryan.
In the most dominant team performance, Charlotte earned 11 first-period pins against Braden River. Two Tarpons accomplished the feat in 20 seconds, including Patrick Nolan at 113 pounds and Ted Gjerde at 132 pounds. Three others, Malachi Schaeffer (126), Frank Hoffman (170) and Anthony Andou (195), pinned their opponents in 26 seconds.