Saturday, Dec 20, 2014
Hernando High

Leopards trek to Engelwood's Bidwell Tourney

By TONY CASTRO
Hernando Today correspondent

Published:

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Four Hernando County wrestling programs, including Springstead, Weeki Wachee, Nature Coast Technical and Central, will remain in port prepping for the state series to begin Feb. 1 at the district level.

The only active program this weekend is Hernando.

The Leopards (17-16) will trek Saturday for just over two hours and 131 miles to Englewood for the ninth annual Ryan Bidwell Memorial Wrestling Tournament.

According to tourney director and Lemon Bay assistant coach Darryl Keisling, the tourney was named in honor of a former Manta Ray grappler, who died in an automobile accident.

The Bidwell event is a one-day, double-elimination IBT (individual bracketed tournament) featuring 13 Class 1A schools, 1A-District 6 Hernando, 1A-10 Brandon-Tampa Bay HEAT, 1A-11 St. Petersburg-Admiral Farragut, Sarasota-Booker, Bradenton Christian, St. Petersburg-Northside Christian and Sarasota Military Academy, 1A-12 Largo-Indian Rocks Christian, LaBelle, Fort Myers-Dunbar, Fort Myers-Evangelical Christian, Fort Myers-Southwest Florida Christian Academy and host Englewood-Lemon Bay; and seven 2A schools including 2A-10 Venice and Sarasota, 2A-11 Punta Gorda-Charlotte, 2A-12 Lehigh Acres-East Lee County, Gulf Coast and South Fort Myers, 2A-15 Southwest Ranches-Archbishop McCarthy; and one 3A team, 3A-8 Sarasota-Riverview.

Venice is the defending tourney champion.

On forecasting the event, Keisling believes, "Venice should win it hands down," he said. "Southwest Ranches has some really good kids, but we don't how many will be here.

The host Manta Rays have two returning state qualifiers: Jack Lipp at 113 and Dom Schoefield at 120.

"We had a little lull at Christmas," described Coach Keisling. "We've wrestled in three dual-meet tournaments in a row, so this will be a good test. We had so many young guys on the team, that they needed matches instead of IBTs."

The Leopards completed their dual-meet portion of their schedule two weekends ago at the fifth NCT Duals placing eighth out of 11 teams.

The Purple and Gold were paced at NCT by senior Jesse Gaudin at 220 pounds behind a perfect 10-0 won-lost slate and six pins.

Seniors Bailey Mosher went 8-2 at 120 while Brennen Ertl finished 7-3 at 160.

Junior Austin Webber at 170 was the only other HHS grappler to post an above .500 mark at 6-4 at NCT.

Gaudin leads the Leopard mat at 36-2 with a team-best 22 pins while Mosher and Ertl are tied with 33 victories.

Gaudin is expected to clash with 2013 state placer Tobias Baker of Sarasota.

Gaudin, a 2013 state placer (third), opened with 16 straight wins before losing to Baker at the Diamondback Duals at Belleview.

At a Glance

What - Ninth annual Ryan Bidwell Memorial Wrestling Tournament.

Who - Twenty-one teams in a one-day, double-elimination IBT (individual bracketed tournament) featuring 13 Class 1A schools, 1A-District 6 Hernando, 1A-10 Brandon-Tampa Bay HEAT, 1A-11 St. Petersburg-Admiral Farragut, Sarasota-Booker, Bradenton Christian, St. Petersburg-Northside Christian and Sarasota Military Academy, 1A-12 Largo-Indian Rocks Christian, LaBelle, Fort Myers-Dunbar, Fort Myers-Evangelical Christian, Fort Myers-Southwest Florida Christian Academy and host Englewood-Lemon Bay; and seven 2A schools including 2A-10 Venice and Sarasota, 2A-11 Punta Gorda-Charlotte, 2A-12 Lehigh Acres-East Lee County, Gulf Coast and South Fort Myers, 2A-15 Southwest Ranches-Archbishop McCarthy; and one 3A team, 3A-8 Sarasota-Riverview. Defending tourney champion is Venice.

When - Saturday, beginning at 9:30 a.m. across four mats

Where - Lemon Bay High School, 2201 Placida Road, Englewood.

At Stake - Team trophies for first and second place. Medals awarded for the top three placers in each weight class. Outstanding Wrestler awards for Outstanding Lightweight (106-132), Middleweight (138-170) and Heavyweight (182-285).

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