Varsity Coed Wrestling · ‘Solid’ Effort Leads Jenkins to District Wrestling Title

LAKELAND — George Jenkins wrestling coach Jason Heath said his team wrestled “solid” Saturday in the Class 3A, District 6 duals wrestling tournament at Jenkins High School.

It was solid enough for the Eagles to win a district championship with a 48-32 win over Lakeland in the finals.

“They wrestled solid,” Heath said. “The first tournament back from Christmas break, I think they wrestled pretty good. Nobody was visibly tired on the mat, everyone (but one) made weight.”

Jenkins and Lakeland will move on to the 3A regional Thursday at Kissimmee Osceola. Jenkins will wrestle District 5 runner-up St. Cloud and Lakeland will tangle with District 5 champion Osceola, beginning at 6 p.m.

The winning teams will wrestle afterwards for a berth in the state tournament scheduled Jan. 19-20 at Osceola.

Lakeland posted wins over Kathleen and top-seeded Newsome to advance to the final while Jenkins defeated Bartow.

The state duals series is a new concept in Florida this year for high school wrestling. The series will crown a team champion in each Class though dual match competition. In February, the individual state playoffs will begin.

“I’ve been in Texas, I’ve been in Georgia. They have the same thing, the state dual series,” Heath said. “I’ve been wondering why Florida hasn’t had it, but now they’ve got it. I like it.”

In the finals Jenkins got pins from Parker Baum (106), Lorenzo Brown (120), Tracy Allen (132) and Trent Bridges (195) to go with four forfeit wins.

Lakeland, which had two forfeit wins, got pins by Gabriel Leach (113) and Joseph Barron (138) to go with decisions by Clay Carey (170) and Tanner Howe (220).

The key for Lakeland was getting wins over Kathleen and Newsome, Dreadnaught coach Michael Farley said.

“We lost to Kathleen in the (Polk) County Duals,” Farley said. “We moved some guys around and had a full team effort. We moved them around against Kathleen then moved them around again against Newsome.

“We got some momentum and we had four pins in a row (to beat Newsome),” Farley said.

At one point against Newsome, the Dreadnaughts trailed 29-6 before getting pins by Brendon Moris (195), James Halman (220), Howe, who wrestled up at 285, Leach (106) and Zac Lazenby (126).

The match stated with the 138-pound class, so Leach’s and Lazenby’s pins helped the Dreadnaughts put the match out of reach.

Howe and Halman also recorded pins against Kathleen.

In Jenkins’ win 62-12 over Bartow, Ethan Giddens (152), William Smith (160), Baum (106) and Tyrique Jackson (113) recorded pins and Dez Flowers scored a 19-3 major decision despite suffering a cut over his eye during the match that led to a 15-minute delay during the match.

“Dez he wrestled pretty tough,” Heath said. “He’s probably going to need stitches.”