Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wrestling Is Losing a Top Coach

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Wrestling Is Losing a Top Coach

Article excerpt

Byline: Brent Beaird, Times-Union correspondent

I am sorry to learn that Clay County lost one of its longtime wrestling coaches this week. Citing health reasons, Tom Petrucci has decided to retire from coaching the Middleburg High wrestling team.

Petrucci, who coached at Middleburg for five years, said he enjoyed watching his wrestlers develop over the course of their careers. He was determined to stay until he saw several wrestlers, including state qualifiers Paul Markham, David McCurdy and Kyle Riley, finish their careers. Markham finished fifth in the Class 2A state tournament and Riley was sixth.

Petrucci picked a good time to retire after his team had one of its most successful years with a No. 15 finish at state.

Not only is he a very good wrestling coach, he is also a class act. I appreciated his professionalism and concern for his wrestlers. He provided stability for the Bronco program and made them into one of the most competitive teams in a county known for wrestling excellence.

Middleburg athletic director Alan Powers complimented Petrucci on a job well done.

"I am sorry to see him step down," Powers said. "He had taken a lot of kids through districts and regionals into state competition. We have always had our share of kids representing us in state with him as coach."

Petrucci also had respect of his rival coaches such as James Reape from Clay High. Reape said he got to know Petrucci when he was an assistant coach at Clay before going to Middleburg. He credited Petrucci with leaving an impact on the Clay program.

"When coach Petrucci was here, he helped grow me up as a coach," Reape said. "He took over a lot of our summer program and he helped me mature as a coach. We still do a number of drills that he brought here. He left a deep foundation here. …

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