Highlanders crush the com­pe­ti­tion

Orlando Sentinel - - VARSITY - By Brant Par­sons

KIS­SIM­MEE — Lake High­land Prep didn’t want to just win the first-ever FHSAA dual match state wrestling cham­pi­onship. The Highlanders wanted to do so in the most dom­i­nant fashion pos­si­ble. Mission ac­com­plished. Lake High­land blanked Fort Laud­erdale Car­di­nal Gib­bons 72-0 in Satur­day’s Class 1A state fi­nal dual to be­come the first team cham­pion in the in­au­gu­ral state se­ries.

“We wanted to be the first team cham­pion ever,” se­nior Erich Byelick said. “But we also wanted to be the first and only one to ever win the cham­pi­onship match with a shutout.”

To win by a shutout in wrestling is rare. It takes 14 wrestlers to avoid mak­ing mis­takes and win their match — ev­ery match.

The Highlanders had hoped for three shutouts this week­end, but they didn’t put it all to­gether un­til the fi­nal.

“It’s spe­cial to see ev­ery­body wrestle well. It’s hard for ev­ery­one to get a win,” se­nior Ryan Chau­vin said.

Lake High­land wasted no time stak­ing its claim to the ti­tle, win­ning the first four matches by pin to take a 24-0 lead.

Jake Wohlt­man opened it up with a fall just 20 sec­onds into his open­ing match at 106 pounds. Wil­liam Kennedy (113) and Chau­vin (120) both scored first-pe­riod falls and eighth-grader Nic Bouza­kis won via pin at 126.

Vin­cent Menozzi kept the win­ning streak go­ing with a 4-2 de­ci­sion at 132 be­fore Noah Castillo started the pin train back up at 138. Se­nior stand­out Joey Silva wres­tled two classes above his nor­mal weight and won by pin at 145.

“We haven’t been happy with how we’ve been per­form­ing and it meant a lot to get the shutout,” Silva said.

The Highlanders did have three con­sec­u­tive close matches.

Kai Bele ral­lied after trail­ing early to win a 16-10 de­ci­sion at 152 pounds. Erich Byelick scored a 4-3 win in the tight­est match of the night at 160.

After Hunter Brinkman won a close 8-5 de­ci­sion at 170, the shutout came clear into view.

The Highlanders fin­ished with four straight pins by Max Cos­mides (182), Lo­gan An­drew (195), Ben Goldin (220) and Cur­tis Ruff (285).

In the end, it all added up to a per­fect night for Lake High­land.

“I’ve al­ways wanted to go home after a tour­na­ment with­out hav­ing a sin­gle guy who lost,” coach Mike Palazzo said.

PHELAN M. EBENHACK/CORRESPONDENT

Lake High­land’s Vin­cent Menozzi de­feated Car­di­nal Gib­bons’ An­thony Temes in the 132pound weight class to help the Highlanders to a 72-0 vic­tory in the cham­pi­onship match.

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