Durant Wrestlers Not Left Empty Handed During Invitational
By Tamas Modovics
sports1The 14th annual Cougars wrestling tournament, held earlier this month at Durant High School, may not have resulted in the outcome expected for its host squad. However, the now relatively young Cougar team did not leave the competition empty handed.Considered by many as one of the toughest wrestling events in the state, the tourney hosted a total of 30 teams, six of which won championships in the past, including last season’s Class 1A state champion (Fort Myers Riverdale) and Class 3A state champion (Kissimmee Osceola). While day one started out as any other, the Cougars squad spent most of day two without its Head Coach Dennis Kitko, who was ejected for unsportsmanlike conduct.The Durant team continued to wrestle with Assistant Coach Derek Beaty at the helm, focusing on the performances of team favorite Alex Hamm and finishing in 10th with 102.5 points. Springstead won the tourney after gaining 212.5 points, being put ahead of  Kissimmee Osceola (211 points).“We are a young team, as we have lost a number of big names,” Beaty said. “Our focus, this year, is to get back into the competition.” Tampa Prep’s Wes Jarrell finished ahead of Hamm as the two became the county’s only wrestlers to reach the individual title finals.Although in the lead at first, Hamm couldn’t hang on and suffered a 3-2 loss to Kissimmee Osceola’s Tim Locksmith in the 125-lb. title match.Durant’s Titus Horner (171) placed third, while teammate Alex Cook (heavy) finished sixth as a medal winner.“I mainly focused on conserving my strength for the title match without injury,” Horner said.The Cougars squad entered the event following an impressive showing a week prior during the Ocala Forest Invitational, where Durant finished second, while Hamm and Horner each won individual titles. For more information about the Durant wrestling program, please visit the school Website at www.sdhc.k12.fl.us.

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