Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Flenard Perfect to Lead Bobcats March to Podium

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Flenard Perfect to Lead Bobcats March to Podium

Article excerpt

STATE WRESTLING: North Port advances four wrestlers to semifinals

KISSIMMEE -- With his 50th consecutive win, Dacoda Flenard secured a spot on the medal podium for the first time in his career.

Satisfied?

No chance. Not yet.

North Port High's 160-pound junior continued his special season Friday by cruising to a pair of victories during the first day of the Class 3A state wrestling tournament at Silver Spurs Arena.

Now 50-0 and already assured of a top-six finish and the medal that comes with it, Flenard pinned Miami Killian's Joseph Merieles in the second period before scoring a 7-3 win over Jupiter's Joseph Eavarone in the quarterfinals.

That puts him two wins shy of his goal of winning a state title. He'll face Miami South Dade's Isiah Crosby, ranked No. 1 at 160, during this morning's semifinals.

"It feels good, but it's not what I want -- I'm trying to win it," said Flenard, ranked third. "Placing is all right."

Flenard will have plenty of company when the semifinals kick off at 9:30 a.m., as four of the five Bobcats who made state went 2-0 Friday.

Anthony Tripke (113), John Cruz (145) and Roman Morales (182) are all a win away from reaching the finals, which get underway 5:30 tonight.

David Towers, who dropped his second-round match at 195, bounced back and won two consolation matches, giving North Port a chance to place five at state and set a program record.

North Port is sixth in the team standings with 40 points.

"Great first day," said North Port coach Mark Kemble. "We've beat a few returning state-place winners already and the kids are wrestling real well."

While reaching and winning the final is the ultimate goal, Kemble thinks clinching medals will have a calming effect on his semifinalists.

"I think of some my guys didn't wrestle wide open. They were wrestling to make sure that they won and weren't getting after it as much as they could have," he said. "But they've got themselves all state medals, and now it's time to get yourself into the finals."

Manatee has two wrestlers in contention for Class 3A state titles -- Caleb Rudisill (126) and Jesse Fulk (182) -- and is tied for 10th with 27 points.

A year after not placing, Rudisill scored a pair of pins Friday, including one that came 48 seconds into his second-round bout with Palm Beach Central's Ivan Pena. …

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